The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation's largest evangelical umbrella group, is urging a Florida church to call off a planned Quran burning scheduled for September 11. Here's the NAE's statement:
NAE Urges Cancellation of Planned Qu’ran Burning
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) encourages increased understanding and reconciliation between those of different faiths and backgrounds, and it laments efforts that work against a just and peaceful society. The plans recently announced by a Florida group to burn copies of the Qu’ran on September 11 show disrespect for our Muslim neighbors and would exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims throughout the world. The NAE urges the cancellation of the burning.
NAE President Leith Anderson said, “It sounds like the proposed Qu’ran burning is rooted in revenge. Yet the Bible says that Christians should ‘make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else’ (1 Thessalonians 5:15).”
In 1996 the NAE addressed religious persecution saying that “If people are to fulfill the obligations of conscience, history teaches the urgent need to foster respect and protection for the right of all persons to practice their faith.” [i] In the same resolution, the NAE pledged to “address religious persecution carried out by our Christian brothers and sisters whenever this occurs around the world.”
The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbors of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect. The proposed burning of Qu’rans would be profoundly offensive to Muslims worldwide, just as Christians would be insulted by the burning of Bibles. Such an act would escalate tensions between members of the two faiths in the United States and around the world.
“We have to recognize that fighting fire with fire only builds a bigger fire,” said Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Orlando, Fla., and member of the NAE Board of Directors. “Love is the water that will eventually quench the destruction.”
Anderson said, “The most powerful statement by the organizers of the planned September 11th bonfire would be to call it off in the name and love of Jesus Christ.”