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August 20th, 2010
05:10 PM ET

Religious leaders speak out against International Burn a Quran Day

Religious leaders in Gainesville, Florida, have planned a Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope, in response to a local church's International Burn a Quran Day.

"We feel compelled to raise our voices to proclaim that the action the Dove World Outreach Center is proposing is absolutely wrong and counter to the life and teaching of the Jesus whom we love, follow and call savior and Lord," Senior Minister Dan Johnson of Trinity United Methodist Church said, in a note posted on his church's website Wednesday.

As part of the Gainesville Interfaith Forum - made up of Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus - Trinity Church will host the event September 10, the notice said, the night before the planned Quran burning.

"Our goal is to foster understanding, mutual respect and peace, while recognizing and appreciating our own particular faith understandings," Johnson said.

The nondenominational Outreach Center said it will host the Quran-burning event on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The group said it will remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, the city of Gainesville denied a burn permit to the center, said Bob Woods, City of Gainesville spokesman.

"It was a question of public safety," said Woods. "The Gainesville Fire Department has notified the center through a letter," he said.

But that isn't stopping the church. The Gainesville Sun reported that, in an e-mail newsletter sent out Wednesday, the church announced: "City of Gainesville denies burn permit - BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS."

Gene Prince, the interim chief of Gainesville Fire Rescue, told the Sun on Wednesday that under the city's fire prevention ordinance, an open burning of books is not allowed. He said if the church goes ahead with its plan, it will be fined.

And the church's intentions aren't the issue. "It wouldn't matter what the book is they're burning," Deputy Chief Tim Hayes told the Sun.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Dove World Outreach Center Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez last month.

Jones wrote a book titled "Islam is of the Devil," and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.

On the church's website, a section details "Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran."

The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Muslims and others to host "Share the Quran" dinners to educate the public during the month-long fast of Ramadan beginning in August. In a news release, the group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Quran to local, state and national leaders.

"American Muslims and other people of conscience should support positive educational efforts to prevent the spread of Islamophobia," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in the release.

The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation's largest umbrella evangelical group, issued a statement urging the church to cancel the event, warning it could cause worldwide tension between the two religions.

"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," it said in the statement.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Christianity • Church • Florida • Islam • Quran • United States

soundoff (1,223 Responses)
  1. Roger

    Among the many points made, there is a lot of concern about the Christian God ordering and preforming mass killings.
    The truth about that as recorded in most Christian Bibles goes something like this...

    The facts recorded about Gods motives for how God acted before God came to earth as the man called The
    Lord Jesus, and about Gods motives for how God acted after that, are explained by the disciples of Jesus in their writings.
    I have read the writings of one disciple called Paul, and the reasons he set forth were quite acceptable to me
    in light of the first fact I first mentioned, resulting in the final fact that God does what God does for Gods final will to be accomplished.
    God never did anything thinking about it like one of God's human creations think, but with supernatural reasoning and motive.
    When God was in Jesus and teaching the world, He taught that everything He had done or ever would do
    was in the best interest of His sons and daughters, and that satan's sons and daughters would always hate
    Him and His children. Jesus and His disciples taught that Gods killing of satan's children over and over as He did before coming to earth as The Lord Jesus Christ, never brought a lasting peace, and only happened so God could later point back to that and teach Gods children that they should never rely on the law and killing your enemy as a way to true peace. Ever since the first child of satan killed a child of God, they never stopped trying to kill them. Only the children of God were taught correctly by Jesus to stop killing anyone, even if they believed it was satan's children. Only to love your enemy even if it meant letting satan's children hate you and kill you. This is what the true believers of Jesus sermons lived out from that day to this. Since Jesus to now, over 100 million believers allowed satan's children to kill them, just for disagreeing with their different religions.

    ISAIAH 55:8
    For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    ISAIAH 55:9
    For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    HEBREWS 8:7
    For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
    HEBREWS 8:8
    For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
    HEBREWS 8:9
    Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
    HEBREWS 8:10
    For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

    MATTHEW 13:38
    The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];

    JOHN 8:44
    Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

    ACTS 13:8
    But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation ) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
    ACTS 13:9
    Then Saul, (who also [is called] Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
    ACTS 13:10
    And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, [thou] child of the devil, [thou] enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

    I JOHN 3:
    10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

    One last thought...
    Since God can do what God wants to with God's own creation, and nobody has more power than God to stop God, nobody
    will ever succeed in making God look stupid when finally standing before God at the time of God's final judgement of that person.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:59 am |
    • peace2all

      @Roger

      What the F ??

      August 21, 2010 at 3:45 am |
  2. John Kelly

    I'll bet that 90% of the Muslim-haters posting here have never actually met a Muslim. Get out from under those rocks, folks.

    Strange as it may seem not a single one of the Muslims I know has ever tried to convert me, make me live under sharia law, called me an infidel, or any of that other crap those fear-mongering preachers like to spew. Pretty nice people, really, and I've never known them to burn books. I'd rather live with them than with book-burning fundamentalists.

    I don't care what your religion is, if you can't live and let live just stay away from me.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:53 am |
  3. freewoman

    peace...
    there is no peace in the god wars... never has been or never will be.
    it is not about peace and love... it is about power of the myth makers.
    You see them all rally together when one is a target. that is because the have a common cause to keep the faith going... if you bash one they they are sure they will be next.

    It is not about one myth over the other.. but the power of one over the people.
    Those fools who were tricked to kill them selves on 911 were brainwashed by the myth leaders to do their dirty work. Brainwashed to believe that there is a super afterlife waiting for them to commit a horrible crime they would denounce it it was done to them or their own.
    You never see a mythic leader kill himself for his god.. he always convinces others to do it for him. he is not the fool, the believers are.
    This mythic trick has been part of the dirty secrete of myth making for a long long time. The myth is used to charge up the troops to battle. Roman's use to kill one of their own soldiers as a sacrifice to the enemies god before the battle to make sure that they would not anger him.

    The use of myth as a tool to control people is known yet people still get sucked into it because it is the only way people know how to think. they are taught to believe in the supernatural from birth and they are so afraid of the gods they will do as they are commanded as trained dogs.

    They are told that if they do not believe they will suffer an eternal hell of the worst kind. they will be shunned or killed by their own families. The power of the myth has choked humanity since the first shaman brought the mythic god to life around the cave camp fire. The first gods were animals, then the earth goddess, then the pantheon of males and females, to the monotheist god of the desert.
    Read Joseph Campbells the Masks of the gods. The Golden Bough by James Frazer, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, and The web site The domain of Man and then.. Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill and his soon to be presented video and book The Single Strand.
    There are so many resources that counter the mythic tale. That show you the evolution of the myth and it impact on the human mind and culture. Those that do not look beyond their myth are a prison of it.
    the worst kind of prisoner... of the mind.
    We do not need the myth to be humans, we do not need to kill each other for the gods of dogmas.
    Peace come from equality and understanding of ourselves not the
    prisons of mythic madness of the long dead primitive people. We so not need to worship gods or anything. the concept is pointless and useless.
    If gods were necessary for life on this planet then why don't whales have gods, birds, zebras, fish, bacteria, my 2 cats, your pet dog?
    The world was not created for humans...or jellyfish.. as Ishmael the gorilla in Ismael by Daniel Quinn states. WE have wasted so much time, human thinking and resources on myths... it has held up back from being true humans and not storage places of nonsense myths.
    There are no gods..... only god sellers..... we need to stop buying into the myth... and be free.. and stop killing ourselves, other species to extinction and our planet.
    WE need to leave the age of mythic stupidity behind and put value in us and not the gods of our imaginations and long dead ignorant people. As long as we let the myths rule us we will never be free to evolve into our full potential of being human.. We will be puppets and parrots of barbaric ignorance for the prophets of the myth makers. Let the gods die and save the people and our planet.
    that will be real peace.. it does not require a priest, a prayer, a dogma, a obscene rule of gender based predigest or a racial specific doctrine.

    being myth free is nothing to fear.. it is freedom to think for yourself. What good is our outstanding brain if we are not allowed to use it as we wish and not have it programed with endless mindless useless mythic garbage. How can you say you are alive when you do not have complete control of your own thinking?

    The age of stupidity will end when we kill the gods and life for ourselves.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:53 am |
    • The Peach Fedora

      @freewoman

      It would not put an end to stupidity, but it would be a very good start. Very good brains can be damaged. Put lead into the city water and see how smart your brainz can be then. Keeping the common crowd stupid and ignorant seems to be on the agenda of more than one government.
      The easily led will not go away that easily.

      August 21, 2010 at 4:01 am |
    • Kate

      @freewoman

      "it is freedom to think for yourself. What good is our outstanding brain if we are not allowed to use it as we wish and not have it programed with endless mindless useless mythic garbage. How can you say you are alive when you do not have complete control of your own thinking?"

      What good is freedom to think for yourself if someone comes along and tells you that they disagree with the decision you make and the beliefs you form as a result of it? How can you say anyone is alive when you want to exercise control over the results of their own thinking?

      You remind me of the whole European Constitution issue. The EU said that member states could hold referendums on whether or not to adopt it. The Republic of Ireland held one, and rejected it. The EU's reply was "We don't like that, go hold it again and keep holding it until you agree to adopt the constitution".

      That's not really free thinking.

      August 21, 2010 at 4:16 am |
  4. therealbluenote

    I keep saying it, you keep on ignoring it: Religion is a fictional, stupid waste of time that cause infinitely more problems than it solves. If all religious people worldwide would discard the Dogma that keeps them separate from other religions, and everyone just believed in a more Spiritual path to God, NONE OF THESE THINGS WOULD BE HAPPENING. But, instead, we have Christian Nut Jobs burning Quarans, and Fundamentalist Muslim Nut Jobs watching closely.You know, part of me hopes this goes peacefully, and part of me doesn't. Clearly no religious people will open their minds to anything that conflicts with their beliefs, and I don't believe that we will get anywhere discussing this stuff peacefully, since nobody ever listens. But they wake up when there's violence. Christians, Muslims: If there is blood shed at this event, I blame you BOTH for being closed-minded and stubborn. Neither of you are right, it's ALL FICTION. Get over it and move on.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:51 am |
  5. epicureous

    I am all for burning the bible if that helps.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:49 am |
  6. Paul

    Christianity is the belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    There will NEVER be peace in the world until God and Allah go the same way as Apollo and Zeus – nothing more than interesting beliefs of ignorant people.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:49 am |
    • James from Dallas

      To Paul:

      Religion is not just about a potential reverence to a higher being, it is about civilization, power, traditionalism, language, history, morals, values, ethics, law, control and guidence of and for the masses, and a very limited explanation of science too if you will. Holy books provide a history guide to life. Unfortunately, the holy books between different religions can culturally collide; and many do not practice what the books preach. You might well ponder if civilizations, governments and people's laws facilitated these holy books or whether these holy books facilitated our civilizations, governments, and people's laws. To strip the 10 commandments from walls and schools and court houses is strange because the origin of the commandments, with the exception of one maybe, were likely founded by civilizations and governments before these holy books even existed and before Moses went to the mountain top. Whether Moses spoke with God or just meditated is irrelevant to the good nature of these commandments. Since religion has been removed from schools, there has been no substitute for teaching responsibility, morals, values and ethics. Our society has been in decay. Criminal Penal Codes only tell you punishments for breaking the law, if you are caught, tried and convicted. They do not teach responsibility, what is right and wrong, and many other values society wants our young people to learn. The closest thing may be Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. I ask you, "What do suggest as an answer for a society which is no perceived as being in decay by many?"

      August 21, 2010 at 3:22 am |
  7. momo

    To burn the Quran is an act of hatred not an act of freedom. To burn the US flag is the same thing, it shows disrespect and dishonour. This is simply another act of hatred by a bunch of racist ignorant rednecks.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:48 am |
  8. James from Dallas

    The more I know about the Muslim religion, the more I know was founded on war, hatred, power, formed as a counter to ethnic or racial divides with Jews and Christians. The premise by Muslims of infidels being Christians and westerners, as I understand, originated first from the Christian Crusades and Chistian Crusaders against Muslims in the Middle East; so it is nothing original and nothing but a counter accusation. Mohammed created his religion and position of power out of jealosy and hatred of Jews and Christians facilitated by heresy against Christian and Jewish beliefs, and blasphemy or irreverence toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, and beliefs of established Christian and Jewish religions. It is quite obvious that his spiritual journey from the Jewish temple mount where a Mosque is now built was a lie designed to instigate hostility and contempt toward the Jews. We are now faced with a similar event near the 9-11 site where a new Mosque is being planned. Mohammed convinced one just one Jewish Rabbi, as I understand history, to proclaim Mohammed a prophet with his power of persuasion. Who knows why this Rabbi did this; but my understand is all other Rabbis refused to proclaim Mohammed a Rabbi. Likely, if Mohammed had not first married an older woman of a higher cast with money, his life would likely have faded away without much notice. Mohammed has created a religious nation which trancends beyond international borders venturing out from the Middle East and the original holy land of their religion. I remember the movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." The premise that Earth had reached a point where it could become part of a community of planets and peoples, but the actions of Earthlings put into questions whether the international planetary community should let Earth and its peoples survive, live in peace, or be destroyed. I look at Muslims and its community in the same way. If they do not join the international community in peace and continue their terrorism, the international community will rise up and one day go to war and destroy them. But for the fact that Muslims are religious peoples, this nation of people would be ruled a terrorist organization, and its organization considered a cult or false phophet religion like some consider of Preacher-Televangelist Robert Tilton. I am sure many wonder what the Middle East would be like today had no oil existed there or been discovered. The story might be totally different. And Iran, a non-Arab Muslim country might soon have an atomic or nuclear bomb in about one year. Are we on a religious and military collision course that is right around the corner? Even the Pope acknowledged that the Muslim religion is a religion which lives and has lived by the sword; the Pope later retracted this truth to avoid riots and hostility by Muslims, a religion of little temperment, against Christians. Newton once said, "For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction." If Muslims do not change their violent actions, another Count Dracula will appear on the political stage and decide to lead the charge against Muslims in war. The outcome will not be pretty. Time is ticking. And, burning the Quran ( or Koran ), while free speech, should be taken as a warning shot of criticism.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:47 am |
    • James from Dallas

      Typo corrected version...

      The more I know and understand about the Muslim religion, the more I know it was founded on war, hatred, power, formed as a counter to ethnic or racial divides with Jews and Christians. The premise by Muslims of infidels being Christians and westerners, as I understand, originated first as an admission by Christian Crusades and Chistian Crusaders against Muslims in the Middle East; so this assertion is nothing original and nothing but a counter accusation. Mohammed created his religion and position of power out of jealosy and hatred of Jews and Christians facilitated by heresy against Christian and Jewish beliefs, and blasphemy or irreverence toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, and beliefs of established Christian and Jewish religions. It is quite obvious that his spiritual journey from the Jewish temple mount where a Mosque is now built was a lie designed to instigate hostility and contempt toward the Jews. We are now faced with a similar event near the 9-11 site where a new Mosque is being planned. Mohammed convinced one just one Jewish Rabbi, as I understand history, to proclaim Mohammed a prophet with his power of persuasion. Who knows why this Rabbi agreed to do this; but my understanding is that all other Rabbis refused to proclaim Mohammed a PROPHET at that time. Likely, if Mohammed had not first married an older woman of a higher cast with money, his life would likely have faded away without much notice. Mohammed has created a religious nation of people which trancends beyond international borders venturing out from the Middle East and the original holy land. I am reminded of the movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." The premise that Earth had reached a point where it could become part of a community of planets and peoples, but the actions of Earthlings put into question whether the international planetary community should or would let Earth and its peoples join and survive, live in peace, or be destroyed. I look at Muslims and its community in the same way. If they do not join the international community in peace and continue their terrorism, the international community will rise up and one day go to war and destroy them. But for the fact that Muslims are religious peoples, this Muslim nation of religion people would be ruled a terrorist organization, and its organization considered a cult or false phophet religion like some considered that of Preacher-Televangelist Robert Tilton and his close followers. I am sure many wonder what the Middle East would be like today had no oil existed there or been discovered. The story might be totally different. And Iran, a non-Arab Muslim country might soon have an atomic or nuclear bomb, maybe in about one year. Are we on a religious and military collision course that is right around the corner? Even the Pope acknowledged that the Muslim religion is a religion which lives and has lived by the sword; the Pope later retracted this truth to avoid riots and hostility by Muslims, a religion of little temperment, against Christians. Newton once said, "For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction." If Muslims do not change their violent actions, another Count Dracula will appear on the political stage and decide to lead the charge against Muslims in war again. The outcome will not be pretty. Time is ticking. And, burning the Quran ( or Koran ), while free speech, should be taken as a warning shot of criticism.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:59 am |
  9. Ariel

    freewoman
    What a waste the plannet earth to feed a person like you, all this years and not a bit of common sense in you. waste, waste, waste.....................

    August 21, 2010 at 2:44 am |
    • freewoman

      so believing there is a invisible guy in space who really gives a hoot what I do with my private parts and will punish me for eternal hell because I do not follow his s e x rules. Makes perfect sense and qualifies you to be say you are a more worthy human then me?
      All the 3 desert myths have strict s e x rules. why.. there are not such s e x rules for animals.
      Why is it in all the desert myths dogmas that the female is less than a male?
      that slavery is ok? that one must give to the priest his / her hard earned work profits?

      August 21, 2010 at 3:16 am |
  10. SurRy

    Imagine there's no Heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today
    Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one
    Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people Sharing all the world You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one. John Lennon

    August 21, 2010 at 2:38 am |
  11. dj

    IMHO it would be just fine if a roving band of Muslims burned down this guy's church, as they have been known to do from time-to-time, and built a mosque on it :>). Heck.. i can't remember so much ruckus over muslims since Mohammed Ali.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:33 am |
  12. Yozhik

    I hope these jacka***** burn down their church as well...and I am no lover of Islam.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  13. Fernando F.

    In Salem people made everybody afraid of witches and they burn them for no reason.
    McCarty made everybody afraid of anybody by labelling communists.
    Now the Republicans are telling people to be afraid of Muslims and their Mosques.
    We don't burn "witches" anymore.
    Let's not burn "Muslims".

    August 21, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  14. ICEMAN

    freewoman i think you wouldn't live long well long enough to cut one of them..lol as a matteer of fact don't bring a knife to a gun fight....... what you are talking about meght just might come true........

    August 21, 2010 at 2:30 am |
  15. JJ from Pittsburgh PA

    Burn Baby Burn. Where can I get a copy of the Quran?

    August 21, 2010 at 2:29 am |
  16. sigmud

    If I deleted an electronic version of Kuran, is that considered a blasphemy?

    August 21, 2010 at 2:23 am |
  17. Jubril

    A lot of christians are ignorant about the Quran, and about Islam in general. If you pick up a copy of the Quran, read it , you would have better understanding of the religion, you don't have to become a muslim but read then you would know what the religion is all about. You would realize that Abraham and Moses are mentioned and praised more than any Human Being in the Quran, Jesus Christ was also mentioned multiple times. Would a true christian burn a book that praises Abraham and Moses? I am a muslim and i do have two copies of the bible, I do read the bible, there are lots of similarities especially with the old testament, Read and open your minds and senses

    August 21, 2010 at 2:21 am |
  18. John

    I'm Gonna start burning some copys of the new testament in my back yard next time I have a bonfire to even the score

    August 21, 2010 at 2:18 am |
  19. William

    Let us all not forget that these people have a constitutional right to their opinion, and the freedom to burn anything they want. Although in this case the local laws will not allow it. Burn them, and then throw some bibles in the fire as well. Religion is for weak minded individuals anyway.

    August 21, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  20. ThinkBeforeYouSpeak

    I'm just glad i live in Florida so i can go and oppose this unethical burning of the Qu'ran. Their reason to burn the book is mostly due to 9/11? WHAT? 400 Muslims died in the towers, so you punish their families further? Think of the American born Muslims or immigrated Muslims. Most Muslims condone terrorism. The IRA in Ireland was a terrorist organization but we don't call Irish people terrorists! This shouldn't even be a church!!!! It's making normal Christians look bad. Christians should further condone these actions! Now you know how the Muslims feel. Because of one group of people, they're all stereotyped upon. InshAllah the Qu'ran won't burn

    August 21, 2010 at 2:16 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.