In “What Would Jesus Do with a Qur’an? Actually, He Might Burn It,” September 10, Tim Furnish details some of the crazy and violent reactions to the prospect of Qur’an-burning, and concludes:
These over-the-top screeds of victimization are making Reverend Jones appear more and more sympathetic. Burning a Qur’an is “tantamount to war?!” Doing so would “humiliate” 1.5 billion people? Jones is a “criminal” and “liar?” At this point, one could argue that Jones should go through with the burning of some Qur’ans just to demonstrate that 1) an American has First Amendment rights independent of threats and rent-a-mobs in the Middle East and South Asia; and 2) a Christian does not have to abide by the politically correct shibboleth that the Qur’an is a holy book. Most media analysts do not give this second point the justice it deserves, bending over backwards as they do (almost as far as the Obama Administration) to present the Islamic perspective in a positive light.
As a Christian, I do not accept that Muhammad received revelation from God, for many reasons (most of which would require a separate, and much longer, column), most saliently that he and his “revelation” deny (in Sura 4:157) the key doctrine of my, and 2.3 billion other Christians’, faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to atone for the entire human race’s sins. That does not mean Christians should run out to buy a Qur’an and toss it into the fireplace–but neither does it mean that we have to pay Muslim-mandated obeisance to its alleged “holiness,” either.
And contra the alleged “hate-mongering” of conservative radio, I have heard a number of AM talk show hosts, and their callers, the past few days disparaging Reverend Jones for his “un-Christ-like” attitude–stating for certain that “Jesus would never burn a Qur’an.” Actually, since it denies the key element of His role in the universe–His crucifixion and resurrection–I think He might very well approve of burning at least THAT part of the Qur’an; I also doubt that Jesus would have any problem with consigning to the flames the ayahs in Islamic scriptures that mandate attacking non-Muslims (Surah 9:5ff), beheading them (Surah 47:3 and 8:12) and beating one’s wives (Surah 4:34)–just to name a few of the more egregious passages. Furthermore, Jesus cursed and killed a fig tree that was not bearing fruit (Matthew 21:18ff; Mark 11:12ff) and ran money-lenders out of the Temple with a whip (John 2:15)–so, as G.K. Chesterton ably points out in The Everlasting Man (pp. 190-91), the “meek and mild Jesus” of popular imagination is NOT the only facet of His personality. Reverend Terry Jones is certainly not Jesus, but even a fundamentalist Pentecostal clock is right twice a day.