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Quran reading
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. Srini

    It is not the similarities between religions that cause the problem, it is the supposed differences. It is about the differences that the Reverends should read about and show that these differences are not really true. Can anyone really do that? Teach that "showing the other cheek" is the same as "killing the unbelievers" and it is same as "kill bad people because it is your duty"(Hinduism).

    September 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Kate

      @Srini

      "Religions don't kill people, religionists kill people"

      Just sayin'

      September 13, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    • Srini

      @Kate
      Where did you address my question when you were "just saying"? Why did Jesus preach when it is the same as Judaism? Why did Prophet Mohammed preach when it is the same as Christianity? Why did the new testament come up when there is old Testament? Why are there are so many schools in Hinduism? Why was that Buddha didn't want to talk about God and Soul?
      There are differences and these differences need to be addressed. Not by burning each other's books or killing each other.

      Srini.

      September 13, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • charlie tuna

      @Srini
      Any similarities between religions are due to the commonly used sorts of lies used by religions.
      And any differences are simply the marks of the individual liars who thought up the lies in the first place.

      September 14, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  2. GodFollower

    Hello everyone

    September 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • facepalm

      @GodFollower

      Great. Another person without any direction in their life.

      September 14, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  3. Shimon Cleopas

    Houston, this is the problem: Benedict et al do not know how to make the best use of Jesus Christ. http://www.twitter.com/ShimonCleopas shows the correct way.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Shimon Cleopas

    1.America's next great awakening, recovery, restoration and rediscovery will coincide with Middle East Peace and Jesus Christ book-signing of the Bible.

    2.esus Christ's encrypted signature which proves that He is the author of The Bible is imbedded in the formula of Five Loaves and Two Fish from a small but well-trained shepherd boy.

    http://www.twitter.com/ShimonCleopas

    September 13, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  5. the_dbs

    You can come read mine, in the fireplace.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  6. marcia

    If the mosque is buily,then there should also be a new non-denominational Christian Church and a new synagogue!
    Equal time for everyone and their stupid religions!
    When will everyone wake up?

    September 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Kate

      @marcia

      Ummm, if it's non-denominational it can't be Christian as that's a denomination.

      Unless you mean no fixed denomination for donations, which of course would be very Christian – as long as they're $100 bills 😛

      Just sayin'

      September 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  7. Shimon Cleopas

    To the relief of everyone, Divine Intervention is on its way. Jesus Christ will be back soon to book-sign The Bible courtesy of the 5 Loaves, 2 Fish.

    http://www.twitter.com/ShimonCleopas

    September 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  8. marcia

    If the mosque is buily,then there should also be a new non-denominational Christian Church and a new synagogue!
    Equal time for everyone and their stupid religions!

    September 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Frogist

      @marcia: Yes, when they build the mosque in Tennessee they should also build a church and a synagogue if they need one. Now you're getting the picture!

      September 13, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  9. Shimon Cleopas

    If Christians were indeed real Christians, there would be no need for The Second Coming.

    The GREATEST CHRISTMAS PARTY will start the moment Jesus Chirst returns to book-sign his MEMOIRS, ie, The Holy Bible.

    http://www.twitter.com/ShimonCleopas

    September 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
  10. Whatcha Talkin Bout, Achmed

    When I traveled to Kuala Lumpur in 1999, I tried to purchase a Quran at a store in a mall. The salesman asked if I am Muslim. I told him I'm not Muslim, but was interested in reading the Quran. I read all kinds of religious texts - monotheistic, polytheistic... whatever (I've read the Satanic bible, 'LeVey was a showboat' and a nerd). The salesman denied me the purchase because I'm not Muslim. Strange. Christians can't stop pushing. Jews would never turn down a sale (sorry, I had to). Muslims deny the curious.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • Howard

      Are you seriously suggesting that you now know what ALL muslims would do just because of ONE muslim bookseller you encountered? There ought to be a law against people making such utterly stupid generalizations.

      September 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  11. phoenix

    my regards to terry jones for trying. o0nly the great wbc out of topeka can pull a stunt like this.go christian extremists come out of your closets.a good towelhead is like a good wine

    September 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • TammyB

      Hey Goober....your white sheet and point hat are showing. You should try tucking that stuff under the trailer a little better.

      September 13, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  12. nomoregbldgk

    There is reading the koran. Then there is Read! The Quran! Apageinthelifeblogspotcom 'the secret of min'

    September 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  13. guest

    @CNN=Corporate America's propoganda arm

    There is a God. We are so hideously ugly in comparison that He stays strategically out of site so we don't all off ourselves when we are faced with the Truth.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • John

      Aren't we made in God's image?

      September 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • zzapp

      @John

      HeII no! People like you were made in the image of a baboon's ass. God just made you that way for some "divine" plan...

      September 14, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  14. Sarah

    Could the article include (or link to) the passage in question, please?

    September 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Elisa Lockhart

      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 3:40 pm |
  15. msaprilr

    Woah, I think this is really dangerous. The "one God" theme that mainstream America is preaching is very misleading. Of course there is one Creator God. But if you look at the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and compare him to the God of the muslims, they are two very different people. One key difference is that of atonement. That concept is completely absent from islam. Muslims do not worship the same God that the Christians and Jews do. One of us has a correct God concept (the one that works). The other doesn't. They are not the same. By trying to merge them into one person, we corrupt the truth.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • DontBeNuts

      If by saying 'correct' you mean everything you believe in, you are giving a very narrow definition to a very profound and oft-abused word. And you just placed billions of people into the category of people supporting an 'incorrect' version of God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all teach the Unity of God even though Christianity tries to reach the same True God through the Trinity. The Christian philosophers and theologians of old were grappling with great questions- Who was the Christ? Why did God choose him? and ultimately, what does Christ's Word reveal about the nature of God? The nature of God continues to elude us to this day, though we try to define God in terms that we can understand. Every religion tries to reach this Truth in its own language, its own symbols, religious text and context. Using words such as 'correct' and 'incorrect' when defining our faith in God excludes us from reaching and sensing God through the religious and mystical experiences of others.

      September 13, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  16. AbiWeb

    After reading some of the messages about this post, I guess my question would be...What's the big deal?

    I am not a religious person so please enlighten me, what's the harm in interfaith acceptance? Clearly, there are common threads in every religion, which isn't surprising since they all originate from two or three core religions. The ones they pointed out in this article show that, but some people cling to the intolerance and hate based view that other religions are inherently sinful and blasphemous; going against Gods word. But as this article points out, each of these religions "God" says the same thing, that we should tolerate and embrace the differences that make us unique, and to live respectfully and peacefully. So really, how is this a big deal?

    September 13, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  17. John

    I really think the root of this whole conflict is that Christianity and Islam have so much in common with each other, and each sees in the other the things they don't like about themselves.

    As a neopagan, I get the joys of being equally reviled by both Abrahamic religions. I guess I should be happy, if they weren't being childish idiots they might band together and try to get rid of apostate heathens like me.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  18. theantibush

    Oh the insanity when the drive-by media gives the national microphone to a kook with a following of 50 people to represent America on the world stage.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  19. Galen Pearl

    Westminster Presbyterian church in Portland, Oregon, is purchasing 100 copies of the Quran through a local independent bookstore, Broadway Books, to give away free to bookstore customers who are interested in becoming more informed for themselves.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Frogist

      Rock on Westminister Presbyterian... I hope people read it. But more than that I hope there is some discussion about the similarities and differences between islam and christianity.

      September 13, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  20. Carmen

    You know, I really don't really care what book they read from at which church. What I do know is that it was a bunch of Islamic (Muslim) extremists who knocked down those two buildings, bombed the Pentagon and crash those planes on American soil. I guess they were honoring they neighbor when they did that, huh? What I see now, is my government caving to them out of political correctness, and it makes me sick!

    September 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Rick

      I stopped caring about 9/11 on 9/12. Other Americans should do the same. It's just another act of religion being used as an excuse for violence. Research the Thirty Years' War, lady. Millions dead, and it was all Christian on Christian.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • your head must be filled with clay

      @Carmen

      How clueless can you be?

      Our government is NOT "caving in" to Al Qaeda – our government is HUNTING THEM DOWN AND EXECUTING THEM!!!
      Anyone who does crazy s**t like that is FAIR GAME for anyone who wants justice.

      Have you been listening too much to people like Rush or Glen beck or what? Jeez...

      September 14, 2010 at 9:04 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.