On Holy Saturday, in front of the largest mosque in America, in Dearborn, Michigan, Qur’an burning pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Florida, intoned to his 20 supporters that America is in danger of being overrun by Muslims who will impose Sharia law on us.
That would be quite a feat, given that 243 million of us are Christians, 50 million of us don’t belong to any religion, 5.3 million of us are Jews, and only 1.9 million Americans are Muslims, about 50,000 of whom are African-Americans who belong to the Nation of Islam. That’s 0.6% of Americans are practitioners of Islam. Really big threat, aren’t they? Just for comparison of threat level, there are 11 million illegal immigrants, and 6.7 million Americans in prison, on parole or on probation.
Jones believes that “Islam has one goal: That is world domination.” The same can be said for evangelical Christians, who believe it is their duty to convert the world to Christ. Jones went on to tell his faithful supporters that “It’s time to stand up. Muslims, no matter they go around the world….they push their agenda on the society. We must take back America.” From whom?
The mosque was put on lock-down for Jones’ “rally” out of fears by the city that he would draw in people with violent intentions who would threaten, intimidate, harass or attack the mosques’ members. Thirty police cars cordoned off the mosque, which is in a high traffic area. A Michigan judge last year threw Jones in jail and barred him from demonstrating in front of the mosque for three years. That was overruled. The City then tried to get him to sign a legal agreement before this rally, but that was blocked by a Detroit Federal Judge.
As Jones was holding his “rally,” an electronic sign in front of the Mosque was displaying the message, “Happy Easter.” No real surprise there. Muslims believe that Christ was a major prophet. During the “rally” Jones’ supporters made derogatory remarks and jokes about Muslims and when Jones mentioned the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, one supporter called out “Throw ‘em in the pit with the Muslims!” Nice crowd.
Real Catholic TV
, which is based in Ferndale, Michigan, and is owned by a member of Opus Dei, sent its host Michael Voris to cover the “rally.” Voris said he agrees with some of Jones’ positions. Jones believes that Europe is already succumbing to Sharia, and Voris agreed, saying that “There are whole sections of London ruled by sharia law. It think there’s the potential to happen in the U.S. what has happened – and is happening – in Europe.”
Really? In every case in Europe and North America where a Muslim has committed an act he considers valid under Sharia that violates the civil laws of the country, the civil laws have prevailed. Most of Sharia deals with the same daily rules of life that Talmudic law deals with for Jews, rules dictating diet, attire, public behavior. There has been more conflict lately between Orthodox Jews and civil authorities in Western countries, even in Israel, than there has been with Muslims.
Terry Jones was an unknown pastor of an unknown church until he announced he was going to burn Qur’ans. Even the pleas of the Pentagon and the State Department only served to delay him. When he did burn them, nine United Nations workers in Afghanistan died. He was to blame for those deaths. He had been warned that there were parts of the Muslim world where the people were still back in the tenth century and would react very aggressively to the burning of a Qur’an. But Jones was on a mission – to make himself famous.
Jones’ next stop is Sanford, Florida, where he will rally for George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin. Emotions in Sanford are very high right now on both sides of the debate. The last damned thing Sanford needs is a provocateur, and that his what Jones is. Jones is no more spreading the Gospel of Christ than the people of Westboro Baptist do. They are just hate-filled exhibitionists who want their time in front of the cameras.
Christ taught that all people, no matter what faith they follow, are capable of goodness. That was the lesson of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37. Jews and Samaritans hated each other. The Samaritans claimed direct descent from the original Israelites and considered those Jews who returned to Israel from exile in Babylon to be deviants of the faith. In some ways, the division between Muslims, Jews and Christians is similar. All are religions drawn from the Old Testament. Islam and Christianity are drawn from the New Testament as well. They have more in common than they have differences. But men like Jones can’t see that. They have chosen to take the acts of extremist terrorists and say that is Islam. They cannot and will not believe that religion is means of recruiting fools to serve political aims. And as long as there are men like Jones making headlines by preaching to the ignorant, there will be terrorist recruiting using their words to convince equally ignorant Muslims that Christianity is out to destroy their religion.
We are in far less danger from the 1.9 million Muslims in America, most of whom are American-born and many of whom are African-Americans, than we are from the consequences of giving publicity to Terry Jones and the rest of the hate mongers. It is the hate being spewed by Westerners in their own countries that is radicalizing Western Muslims, who are increasingly feeling threatened in their communities and homes.
Today is Easter Sunday. On this day we should remember the true lessons of Jesus Christ, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Christ didn’t say, only love other followers of mine. He didn’t say only love some people. He said “love thy neighbor…” without qualification. Amazing how many self-identifying Christians don’t remember Matthew 22:36-40.