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September 13th, 2010
08:48 AM ET

Churches read from Quran in face of proposed Quran burning

Journalist Amy Zerba filed this report from Gainesville, Florida:

Rev. Larry Reimer says there's a simple message at the core of his faith: people have more in common than they have in conflict.

It's one reason he chose to have a passage from the Quran read at the United Church of Gainesville, part of the United Church of Christ, on Sunday.

And he wasn’t alone.

More than 20 religious leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds around Gainesville had the same Quran passage read - along with Christian and Hebrew scriptures–  at their congregations over the weekend. Local synagogues made it part of their Rosh Hashanah celebrations.

It was a sign of unity after weeks of talk by a Florida pastor who threatened to burn the Muslim holy book on 9-11 but who ultimately cancelled the event.

“It just seemed that the reading of Quran was the most affirmative thing we can do,” said Reimer, who has served at the United Church of Gainesville for 36 years. “You might say (we) befriended the Quran and brought it into everyone’s framework, everyone’s point of view.”

Reimer came up with the idea a few days after he learned of the planned Burn A Koran Day from worried parishioners. He approached local religious leaders to join him in reading common Hebrew, Christian and Muslim scriptures at their Sabbath services.

The response from the community was overwhelming positive, he said.

Shanna Johnson, 40, a member of the United Church of Gainesville, said the proposed Quran burning forced the Gainesville community to talk “rationally” with others about different faiths.

“The things that we have in common can really come out in this type of situation,” Johnson said.

Reimer plans to continue connections with clergy from other faiths. A group of religious leaders will meet in October in Gainesville to try to improve interfaith relations.

“My whole ministry, my whole faith is designed around the sense that we have much to learn from each other that we are a common family and that our division is not among religions but it is among fanatics and extremists on both sides that we have to overcome,” Reimer said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Florida • Houses of worship • Islam • Muslim • Quran • United States

soundoff (555 Responses)
  1. mat

    I just find it amazing how so many nonchristians come here to cnn to tell christians how to follow their faith. CNN is all anitchristian all the time.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Julie

      Yes, it seems that Christians are the only group of people one is allowed to spew hateful comments against and still be considered politically correct.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • TammyB

      @ Mat and Julie....Most of us aren't spewing hate, we are just disagreeing with those intolerant christians that seem to blog here. I think when you start an argument with "my religion/God/belief system is the only one" you open yourself up to some comments that may try to point you towards the fact that all religions have their faults. It's not necessarily meant hatefully, however, I am sure there are a few of those as well. We have all questioned muslims, catholics, buddhists, etc. on this site, as well.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Julie and mat: Before you throw fits about how anti-christain cnn is, how about you look at the varying articles about Christianity on the Belief blogs. Many showcase tolerant and giving Christians and their churches. This "poor me" att!tude that some Christians have is truly annoying. Jesus, I'm sure, would have totally played the victim. Oh wait... no he wouldn't.

      September 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  2. Julie

    Jesus warns many times, when speaking of the end times, that there will be false christs and false prophets that "will take away many."

    The goal of Islam is conquest of the entire earth...any open and honest muslim will tell you this is true. Their prophecy of the end time is that they will control a one world government (a caliphate) ruled by Sharia law. Christians also believe there will be a one-world government in the end time...only we believe it will be ruled by the Antichrist.

    You can't hide your head in the sand and pretend there is no evil in the world...the evil exists whether you see it or not.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Julie

      And.... your are giving others lectures on being more 'tolerant and accepting'..... Hmmmmm

      Something is a bit..... hypocritical here in your postings....

      September 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  3. Kathy

    I love this! this is what its all about. Unity. We aren't so different and the holy books in question contain the same messages. LOL. I bet that pastor (term used loosely) never saw this one coming. *LOVE*

    September 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • Julie

      Kathy, loving someone doesn't mean accepting their unacceptable behavior. You can love someone and care for their soul, but if they rob banks for a living, you need to not accept their behavior. That doesn't mean you hate them, it just means you think what they are doing is wrong. Just like raising a child. If I love my child, I will not accept their bad behavior. Disciplining a child who hurts another child doesn't mean I hate that child, on the contrary. It means I love them enough to care that they are headed in the wrong direction.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  4. Perry

    I have posted 2 comments on this site and both have been tagged "Your comment is awaiting moderation", and later not posted.

    I had given the links to a speech made by Geert Wilders' on 9/11 at Ground Zero. Wilders is under death threat because of a movie he produced by the name of Fitna. He spoke in the House of Lords in England, and for standing against Islamization of Europe may be the next Prime Minister. He is being persecuted and is in court now because of his stand agaist the murder of Theo Van Gho. Please Google these information and see for yourselves. Also go in You Tube and paste the following : ‘Islamization’ of Paris a Warning to the West.
    Read further an article on pastor Terry Jones on Faithfreedom dot org. I can not write the link b/c this site does not allow it.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • Watching Out

      CNN for some reason doesn't allow links. Type your info out as ABC (dot) COM and it should pass thru the filters.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  5. Yay for Journalism 101

    So everyone read the same verse from the Koran...probably would have been really cool if it was one of the ones about loving people as opposed to one of the verses about killing people.

    Pity neither the writer nor their editor saw fit to include it or at least identify "book and verse" so we could look it up ourselves.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Elisa Lockhart

      This is my home church, I was there on Sunday. The passages read were:

      From Hebrew Scripture – The Sh’ma.
      Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – “Hear O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord alone is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
      From Christian Scripture
      Matthew 22:34 – “Jesus answered, “the first is, ‘Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Love your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other greater commandment than these.”
      From the Qu’ran – Love of God
      Aal ‘Imran 3:64 – “Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).”

      September 13, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  6. Dseigler2

    http://quranburninginamerica.blogspot.com/

    September 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  7. woody

    No matter what religion says I for one will not sit around for the end of the world. I will also not give my money to people that do religion for profit. I was in a church one time and we were told if we did not give more the church would have to close its doors. The pastor left the church in a hummer limo.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Julie

      Woody, a pastor did that...not Jesus. Christians are supposed to follow Jesus' teachings, not everyone that calls themself a pastor. No matter where you go or what you do or see on earth, there will be evil. Every good thing will be used by someone to create evil. It will happen. You can't show me any reference to where Jesus was evil, selfish, greedy, lustful, etc.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  8. Nosaj

    What a ridiculous thing to do! There is non like the ALMIGHTY GOD YHWH! He is beyond all other gods! There is no other name that even compares to him. Allah is not his name. His characteristics do not in any way come close to what allah's characteristics are. Simply put, I disagree to having YHWH compared to or given another name besides what he has revealed in his word, the HOLY Bible. If you think my GOD YHWH is false, try him, ask him to reveal himself to you. He is a POWERFUL, MIGHTY, LOVING, AMAZING, AWESOME, FANTASTIC, GORGEOUS, BEAUTIFUL, FORGIVING, GLORIOUS GOD.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  9. nad

    @Braveheart32...... that is exactly the truth and read about the islam actually from their books if you can and you will find the terrible and disturbing facts about this religion.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • HS

      @ NAD ..Why don't you enlight us?.. Please do say where in Quran you found it? Don't learn what other people say all the time, try do your own research..Hopefully u will understand..

      September 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  10. Abuzaid

    I am an american muslim. I see alot of you have some clear mis-understanding about islam. if anyone have any questions about islam I will be more than happy to anwer them as mucha s I can. I am not interested in getting into a battle, will answer and move on. Islam historically protected other religions and accepted their people among them. what islam does not accept is poeple forcing new vlaues onto them.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  11. MrHAnson

    prophetofdoom.net

    September 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  12. Ray

    Why is it all I hear about now is Muslims? Who's paying the media? Oh let me guess....You people are idiots and this country is slowing being destroyed!!

    September 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • Julie

      Amen!!!

      September 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Ray

      Wow.... you made a lot of pretty big statements there pal....... Please... enlighten us to all of said assertions. I, and i am sure a lot of others are 'very' curious to see what you have to say about this....

      Peace....

      September 13, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  13. doc

    the fundamental problem is this, you disrespect a jew, christian or other non-islamic religion, and the odds are the most you will get is a dirty look....if they dont just walk away from you, if you disrespect a muslim, they kill 3000 innocent people out of sheer hate. any questions?

    September 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • Roger

      That was Al Qaeda, not Islam.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      @doc: Yes. Why are you disrespecting anyone's religion?

      September 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • peace2all

      @doc

      Yes....I have a question....... You said "If you disrespect a muslim, (they) kill 3,000 people out of sheer hate." or something like that....

      My question is..... How can you make such an ignorant and blatant 'over-generalization' to claim this fallacious If/then logic which goes like this.... (If) you disrespect (a) (muslim)....(THEN) (they) kill 3,000 people.,blah blah, blah... So....If I should go out and disrespect a muslim, which I wouldn't do, but if I would (hypothetically speaking) 3,000 people are going to die ...? Really...? Is that what you believe....? You think that ALL muslims are like that...? ALL 1.3 billion of them... ?

      Wow dude....bad logic, ignorance and bigotry..... dial it down pal... please...

      Peace...

      September 13, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  14. Shanna Johnson

    My God is one of love, peace, tolerance and grace, which is why I choose to treat others as I would like to be treated. As HUMAN BEINGS.
    If I were to treat others with hatred, fear and anger, specifically because I do not agree on how they choose to live their lives in faith, what kind of life would I be living? And what kind of world would I be passing on to my children?
    You are most welcome to disagree with me, to pity me or hate me, but all you are doing is wasting energy (and precious time) on something you have no control over. I am happy and peaceful with the life I have chosen and wish nothing but the same for you.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • doc

      admirable sentiment shanna, however, my problem isn't you or those like you and i... my problem is the sons of islam that kill out of hate, and they dont seem to be in the minority

      September 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • Shanna Johnson

      I appreciate that, Doc, thank you. I just find it so disturbing that it's the hateful actions of a minority that get the most press, because it's more "interesting" and tends to sell more ads/raise ratings. Terry Jones and his flock of @ 50 are most DEFINITELY the minority in our town of 125,000, but you see who got more coverage...
      I can promise you, though, that there are those of the Muslim faith who truly wish Christians nothing but peace, they just don't happen to be "interesting" enough to make the evening news. 🙂

      September 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • peace2all

      @doc

      Really.....? At last count there are approximately 1.5 billion (with a b) Muslim's in the world. And you say the 'majority' of these are all fanatical extremists.....?

      Hmmmmm... sounds a little bit off to me...

      Peace.....

      September 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • Elisa Lockhart

      AMEN!

      September 13, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  15. Anita, Flower Mound, tx

    braveheart, you don't ever need to worry about moths eating your brain. Youu don't have one. Muslims, just like people of ALL faiths, has it extremists. Chrisitians killed counlett people through the ages in the name of God. Jew in the Old Testament, did the same. Some would say they still are in Palestine. If you loook to the Quran to find parts where you believe they are told to kill non believers, then you have to look at the religious texts of other religions as well. And as a point of interest, it talks about non believers. People who don't believe in GOD. not people who worship him in another religion.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  16. Michael, Chapel Hill

    Christians in TURKEY WOULD HAVE BEEN DOING THE SAME THING, before the fall of Constantinople.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  17. Swabbie58

    This is all very sweet, but it misses the point that the Islamists have made again and again: there can be no compromise. For all its many good points (and, BTW, you can find some good points in just about any belief system), Islam allows for no other religion and once you have professed that faith, you can never leave it on pain of death. You also cannot question any facet of the religion–there is no discussion. As far as their radical imams are concerned, "Resistance is futile." I agree that this is a test of American society–it is a test to see what we can come up with that allows us to maintain our core values without willy-nilly caving to cult masquerading as a religion.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • Roger

      These are intentional lies that you're spreading. Is that what your religion teaches you?

      September 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Kate

      @Swabbie58

      Oh no you didn't just try to put Star Trek into a comment on religion ... Way too much time at sea there.

      Just trekkin'

      September 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • John

      Christianity doesn't allow any deviation from strict doctrinal Christianity either, and many are the heretics who've been burned or crushed or drowned or beheaded for their apostasy.

      September 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • TammyB

      I'm pretty sure that it Muslims can convert without dying. Raj, who commented earlier up, converted to Christianity from Islam. He's not dead.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Kate : If Muslims are Borg... are Christians Ferenghi?

      September 13, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Frogist

      Oh no.......Please don't spur on Kate..... my head is going to explode soon enough from laughter. Although, I do like your trekkie analogy.... Very good, I say...!

      Peace.....

      September 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • Kate

      @Frogist

      Only the televangelists ... The question is, which religion are Mudd's Women? It sure as hell ain't the Christians, read the topic on Christians ruining s3x again 🙂

      @peace2all

      Sooner or later you're gonna laugh so much one of us will be able to remark "It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim!"

      Just changin' the laws o' physics'

      September 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Kate

      Oh yes.... I am already laughing my a** off most of the time.... And you had to go and do it didn't you.....You had to bring in

      the famous line from the good ol' Doc McCoy..... 🙂

      Peace....

      September 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  18. Human in search of Humanity

    'Holy' Quran –

    9:123
    Oh ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers and let them find
    harshness in you.

    9:5
    Slay the idolaters wherever you find them

    8:12
    I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye
    above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off.

    9:29
    Fight those who do not believe in God and the last day... and fight
    People of the Book, who do not accept the religion of truth (Islam)
    until they pay tribute by hand, being inferior"

    2:193
    Fight them on until there is no more tumult and religion becomes that of Allah

    14:17
    Before him is Hell; and he shall be made to drink boiling water.

    9:23
    O ye who believe! take not for protectors your fathers and your
    brothers if they love Infidelity above Faith: if any of you do so,
    they do wrong.

    47:4
    When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you
    have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining
    captives.

    3:28
    Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather
    than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from
    Allah. except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves.

    Koran – http://www.quran.net/

    September 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • Roger

      What they do to unbelievers in the Christian Bible – Numbers 31:15 "Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. 16 "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • Roger

      That's Moses speaking, by the way, leading God's Army to exterminate the Midanites. Which they did, including all the children, toddlers, infants, because they were 'tainted' by idol worship. Of course the virgin girls weren't too 'tainted' to serve as rewards for the soldier who they just witnessed cutting their families to pieces with swords.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Julie

      Its all about actions...I've never heard of a Christian group beheading someone for leaving them...yet there are such beheadings all the time in Islam, often men beheading their wives and children because they weren't "muslim enough." Also, as a Christian I follow Jesus, who came to "fulfill the law." He said "You have heard it said by them of old time....(referring to the old testament), but I say unto you..." Such as "resist no evil," "turn the other cheek." I follow Jesus because he spoke of peace and forgiveness, but never hesitated to point out evil when he saw it.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      No, Julie, you're right. Instead, right into the late 1700's, they instead burned those heretics at the stake. VERY merciful.
      And most certainly what Christ wanted, after all, they invoked his name as they did it.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Abuzaid

      all of those paragraphs you got from the quran you took out of context. they are all relevant when "the non-bilievers" are fighting the muslims and prevent the spread of the message. they are not releveant to the people not involved in fighting the muslims. so way to go for trying to isolate/slect a few sentences from bigger paragraphs and try to make them drive to certain pre-determined meaning thats only in your head. good luck buddy trying to manupulate somethings to create a picture you want.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • John

      Hypatia
      Believed to have been the reason for the strained relationship between the Imperial Prefect Orestes and the Patriarch Cyril, Hypatia attracted the ire of a Christian population eager to see the two reconciled. One day in March AD 415, during the season of Lent, her chariot was waylaid on her route home by a Christian mob, possibly Nitrian monks led by a man identified only as Peter, who is thought to be Peter the Reader, Cyril's assistant. The Christian monks stripped her naked and dragged her through the streets to the newly Christianised Caesareum church, where she was brutally killed. Some reports suggest she was flayed with ostraca (pot shards) and set ablaze while still alive, though other accounts suggest those actions happened after her death.

      September 13, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  19. NICK

    THOSE WHO DONT KNOW THE KORAN SPREAD HATE ABOUT IT. SOME OF THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE MINISTERS AND PRIESTS IN THE WORLD WITH PHD'S IN DIVINITY HAVE CONVERTED TO ISLAM. THAT SPEAKS MORE THAN ANY OF HATE COMMENTS HERE ABOUT THE KORAN. READ THE KORAN BEFORE YOU SPREAD HATE ABOUT IT. BETTER YET READ ISLAM FOR DUMMIES. BEST BOOK FOR THE IGNORANT FOLK.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • Julie

      "By their fruits ye shall know them." Wars, beheadings, mistreatment of women, hands cut off for stealing, stoning for adultery, lashings for being pictured without a head covering. These are the fruits of Islam.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • Collin

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN2fqe4oWsI&w=640&h=360]

      Here is a video for your delusional mind.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Abortion clinic bombings, doctors shot, planned parenthood offices bombed, churches and mosques firebombed, the Olympic Park bombing. These are the fruits of Christianity, by YOUR gauge.
      MY gauge is a bit more accurate, those who abuse their religious doctrines as an excuse to commit murder and arson do NOT represent the vast majority of those who follow that particular faith. They're religious extremists. They're terrorists, Islam OR Christianity is irrelevant.
      Or do we need more religious wars in the streets like we did in 1844 and 1865 in Philadelphia and New York City, respectively? THOSE were Catholic vs Protestant. In both, the US Army was sent in with fixed bayonets and artillery was readied, in the case of the Bowery, was used.

      September 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Julie

      Please don't get us all started on the 'christian' fundies...... which, I am assuming you are one of the tribe.

      Peace....

      September 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Kate

      @Wzrd1

      I didn't know the worst nightmare scenario had happened (other than the Civil War) 😦

      Just sighin'

      September 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  20. John

    Please pray for them in Indonesia:
    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/09/12/president-wants-attackers-arrested.html

    September 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
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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.