home
RSS
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. lome

    abomination on top of abomination..what do you expect from a false Sunday mass? Distortion of truth..

    September 13, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  2. Gil T

    The backlash, in the form of Americans' tolerance and Christians' capitulation, to the prospect of burning the Quran has been any but what would have pleased Terry Jones. I disavowed myself from the utter moronic nature of that act without need of organizing or participating in protest rallies to assert my conviction. Similarly, I disavow myself of the soft-speak of religious leaders engaging in antiphonal readings from Jewish, Christian and Muslim scripture common to the three faiths. I have no probably with the gesture itself.
    No, the problem with this backlash is in the manner in which adherents, particularly among Christians and Muslims, posture themselves with their doctrinal differences, not with the understanding of their respective scriptures, but with glazed eyes. Yes, it is possible to cherry pick and showcase select verses to highlight similarities until the glazed eyes clear up. Then, it becomes quite evident the core, foundational matters of faith which are not in held in common: The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (to say nothing about his divinity) as proclaimed by Jesus himself, the apostles and the church over the centuries. Let every man judge for himself how one (and this is a marked difference between Christian and Muslim) claim to believe in Jesus (as goes the claim) while simultaneously rejecting the claims and fulfillment of the crucifixion and resurrection.

    September 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  3. Sarah Shariff

    I think it's a wonderful thing that a passage from the Quran was read as well as jewish passage! I believe that we all have one god but different cultures have different names for god, example, muslims call God Allah! Praise Allah, Praise God! Were all really praising the same thing, what does it matter what we call God? Also, the Quran speaks of Jesus as a healer & teacher, & prophet! Respect all religions! The world is at war because of it when if we just respected eachother, it'd all be ok!

    September 13, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  4. Saifeldeen

    American man,
    oh so you wouldn't mind if i took your holy book and burn because remeber you should enjoy the freedom this country has. I am a muslim and i think what osama bin laden did was horrible but its ppl like you that make him be like this your hatred toward a religion because of what a couple of its lowst ppl did

    September 13, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  5. Sam

    @Really.. Your name is "Luke"!!!, Why should she?? Judaism, Christianity and Islam all Monotheistic, Roman and Greek God(s) is not! and dead since centuries

    Really gods are dead. where are dead bodies..who killed them?.Has anything to do with politics and subjugation of other faiths by the abrahamic faiths ..amazing.. ..

    September 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  6. ahmed

    Jesus said, "No man cometh to the father but by me."

    I believe JESUS was perfectly right when he said that! If He would have been wrong then we all are still blind and walking in darkness. He is God, (John 1) who created the Universe and came and lived on this earth that he created, died and paid a price that you and I should have paid. Proved that He is what he said he is by raising from dead on the 3rd day. From this revealed truth and faith I would never be able to trust and embrace any other offer the world has on the table. Muhammad, Confucius, Buddha’s and the other million gods and goddess of India does not match what a Savior who is alive said and has to offer – No wonder that millions of Christians were willing to burn and die in Nero’s arenas for this truth also his disciples – Judas and John were killed for this truth. Why would someone die for a liar and a lunatic? Would you? Forget the Kumbaya of all religions most of you offer here...

    September 13, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
    • SomeTruth

      ahmed:

      ". Why would someone die for a liar and a lunatic?"

      I don't know why; but have you ever heard of David Koresh, or Jim Jones, or Heaven's Gate... or countless other instances where bunches of people died for religious lunatics?

      September 13, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
    • SomeTruth

      p.s. Religious zealotry rots the brain and deprives a person of reason and sanity.

      September 13, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
    • SomeTruth

      p.p.s.: And it is contagious.

      September 13, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Frank

      "No wonder that millions of Christians were willing to burn and die in Nero’s arenas for this truth also his disciples"

      Millions? If you're going to lie, at least make it believable.

      Most of the martyr stories are fairy tales made up after the Church took power to make itself out to be the victim. They rewrote history.

      September 14, 2010 at 12:27 am |
    • Frank

      "No wonder that millions of Christians were willing to burn and die in Nero’s arenas for this truth also his disciples"

      Millions? If you're going to lie, at least make it believable.

      Most of the martyr stories are fairy tales made up after the Church took power to make itself out to be the victim.

      September 14, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  7. ahmed

    From Julie's - "I'd say it's wrong...Jesus said, "No man cometh to the father but by me." Was Jesus just lying to us?" JULIE YOU DID NOT GIVE JESUS THE OPTION TO BE RIGHT (It did not fit your "SomeTruth"?)

    I believe JESUS was perfectly right when he said that! If He would have been wrong then we all are still blind and walking in darkness. He is God, (John 1) who created the Universe and came and lived on this earth that he created, died and paid a price that you and I should have paid. Proved that He is what he said he is by raising from dead on the 3rd day. From this revealed truth and faith I would never be able to trust and embrace any other offer the world has on the table. Muhammad, Confucius, Buddha’s and the other million gods and goddess of India does not match what a Savior who is alive said and has to offer – No wonder that millions of Christians were willing to burn and die in Nero’s arenas for this truth also his disciples – Judas and John were killed for this truth. Why would someone die for a liar and a lunatic? Would you? Forget the Kumbaya of all religions most of you offer here...

    September 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • Sam

      Ahmed.. jesus never said anything.. the story of Jesus was written by other people.. 300 years after his death with enough embellishments

      September 13, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
    • Sam

      and hindusim does not have gods.. its a philosophy and truth. The early Hindu prophets never even noted down thier names in Vedas because they just wanted the man to know truth and not thier names. Their names and legacy were irrelevant for them. There is only one god and millions of his powers and manifestations. The idols try to establish all these powers. so when you see an idol surrounded by men , cow and rats does not mean we worship them . it just tries to represent God as the creator of all these animals. It just symbolism. Though its sad that many people dont know this.

      September 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  8. HCC

    @Reality: Jesus was a radically egalitarian liberal Jew and needs to be read as such. If he were alive today, he would be sitting in Palestinian olive trees protecting them from the settlers.

    September 13, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  9. Elisa Lockhart

    UCG is my home church and it is NOT a cult by any means. The UCC organization is one of love and tolerance and understanding.

    The passages read at Sunday's service 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).”

    As a Jew, I am SO proud to call this my church.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  10. Peter F

    The United Church of Christ is about as far left as Christianity goes, often labeled as unorthodox in its teachings. And while I agree that Christians need to be more welcoming, loving, and hospitable towards other faiths... I believe we need to keep the focus on God and the "inspired" Scriptures of the Old and New Testament in church services.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • peace2all

      @Peter F

      Ahhhhh my evangelical friend Peter....How are you....? Well, I can certainly understand from your perspective of keepin' all about the 'real god'... meaning 'your god' being the real one of course.

      However, in this case, there is a bigger issue here...... Can you not see the relevance and beauty of all of these different religions finding ways to get along and coexist.

      It takes nothing away from 'your god' for people on earth to find ways of coexisting in Peace and Love.... regardless of the religious beliefs.

      Peace....

      September 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  11. Just Saying

    If there is to be peace and understanding, exchange of knowledge, one spirit then perhaps Saudi Arabia would allow the construction of a Church of Christ in Mecca

    September 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      Of course. That makes sense... no peace and understanding until the other guy does it first... I fail to see how waiting for someone else to do something excuses you of your responsibility to work towards peace and understanding?

      September 13, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  12. mark

    Here's a few verses from the "religion of peace."

    They were caught and brought to him (the Holy Prophet). He commanded about them, and (thus) their hands and feet were cut off and their eyes were gouged and then they were thrown in the sun, until they died. (Sahih Muslim 4131 -this account is also confirmed by at least three other narrations).

    The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides. (Quran 5:33)

    She was a very old woman, wife of Malik. Her daughter [and another] were also taken. Zayd ordered Qays to kill Umm Qirfa and he killed her cruelly by putting a rope between her legs and to two camels and driving them until they rent her in two). (Ibn Ishaq 980)

    'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: “Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house at the age of nine.” (Sahih Muslim 3309) This is confirmed in many other hadith as well.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  13. Ral

    To: lilly robins
    Excellent point! Anyone who burns the Koran is burning a copy of the Old Testament, and burning passages about Jesus, including His virgin birth, and all His miracles. In other words, when you burn the Koran, you burn parts of the Torah and the Bible! Anyone who burns the Koran will be burning passages about Moses, about Abraham, about the Blessed Virgin Mother, and about Jesus! So it's stupid beyond all imagination for a practicing Christian to do so.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  14. cw

    All of you who say tolerance tolerance,

    Let me say....yes we are to live at peace with our brothers but I will not embrace the Quran or whatever FALSE GOD book you want to call the way just so we can say everything is everything. America AND ALL PEOPLE WAKE UP!!!! GOD IS THE ONLY WAY, THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD!!! PERIOD. You show me in any one of your FALSE GOD books where a man went and died for you and rose so that you would have eternal life in Heaven. I know that the Truth is hard to understand but it is THE TRUTH!!!!! Yes we need to live in peace with our brotherin...that is why we need to pray for them fervently that they will see the truth before our Lord returns. As Jesus said "Forgive them father for they know not what they do"

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

      You seem to be replying without really reading anything. It's more than an obvious fact that Muslims, Christians and Jews all worship the same God. They worship in different ways, through different paths. But who did Jesus pray to in the Garden of Gethsemane? Who was Jesus referring to when he prayed the "Our Father"? Answer: God The Father – Abraham's God. Same being as Yahweh, same Being as Allah. One And The Same God. One And The Same Creator.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  15. CNN=Corporate America's propoganda arm

    Why bother? The people who are responsible for making this an issue (Rev. Jones' ignoramic flock), and adherents to that view, are incapable of rational thought. Wasted words on empty minds.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  16. Matt

    I find it amusing how each western religion arrogantly thinks that it is the only, true one. Christians call non-christians hethens and pagans. Muslims call non-muslims infidels. Personally, I find it absolutely childish behavior on both sides.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  17. Beth

    Islam and Christianity are not based on the same God. I am not interested in making a religious or political statement about which religion is right or wrong, but at least get that part right. You cannot be a follower of both religions, you have to choose one or the other. I have not read the Quran, but I know that the Bible, in the New Testament (John 14:6), states that there is only one path to God. So how can someone believe they are one in the same? I am not debating whether or not one religion is right or one is wrong, I am questioning the belief that they both lead to the same God. They do not.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  18. Kevin

    LOL, what a friggin joke; make sure you read the parts about killing infidels and non-believers. Make sure you read the parts about how God HATES people that are not muslim.

    September 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • George Waugh

      Don't forget taqiyya!

      September 13, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • Frogist

      @George: A little interesting info on taqiyya:
      http://spencerwatch.com/2010/08/15/silencing-spencer-taqiyya-and-kitman-are-part-of-judeo-christian-belief/

      September 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  19. Mqurashi

    This is to Tbubb and other who think in those terms, a little history. Until 325, Christ was considered a Prophet. The first Roman Emperor Constantine through his Bishop Athanasius forced the Sinod at Nicae, in present day Turkey, to declare Christ as God in order to give the Church control over the populace. It is the Church that propagates the idea of 'Christ is the way'. The individual, through his or her deeds creates the way to God.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  20. Baalah

    Christians reading the Quran during a worship service? Woo, that is a new one. I am sure these loving people have no idea what they are reading. It wonder whether the Muslim would also reciprocate these guys efforts and allow the Gospel to be read in the Mosque.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • George Waugh

      Or allow a christian Church or Jewish Synagogue to be built in Mecca?

      September 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Advertisement
About this blog

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.