By Elizabeth Tenety
First, Pastor Terry Jones wanted to burn the Koran on 9/11. After international outrage and what he said was a deal with Cordoba House’s Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to move the Islamic center planned near Ground Zero, Jones cancelled his event. Abdul Rauf then denied such a deal was in the works. Jones then claimed that the event was not nixed but instead put on “temporary hold.”
Somewhere between canceling and suspending the event, the once-determined book-burner had this to say about anyone who attempts to burn the Islamic holy text:
“We are, of course, now against any other group burning Korans . . . We would right now ask no one to burn Korans. We are absolutely strong on that. It is not the time to do it.”
What did Terry Jones know yesterday afternoon about burning the text that he did not know before?
It is difficult, if not impossible, to tease out the logic of Christian minister who thought that the best use of his pulpit was to insult the faith of another, especially on a day associated with violence committed in religion’s name.
But Jones says he is merely try to live his faith. On Friday morning, Jones told Meredith Viera, “I am just a man who is trying to do what God has told us to do.”
Historically speaking, God can sometimes be rather demanding. Politics Daily’s David Gibson, noted that some in Jones’ church see parallels to the story of Abraham in their own obedience:
“God is leading us right up to the moment,” Sapp (an associate pastor) said Wednesday of the Koran-burning plan. “It’s no different than Abraham and his son. God didn’t tell him, ‘Go right up to the point where you might sacrifice him.’ He wanted him to be fully committed. We’re prepared to do what we’re called to do.”
Some have made the case that Terry Jones is simply out for publicity. But what if he really believes he is doing God’s will? Nearly a decade after 9/11, America is no closer to eliminating the religious ideology that made the mass murder/suicides possible. Religion can make people do terrible, and amazing, things.
Do religious extremists teach you anything about your own faith? How do you know if you’re following God’s will for your life? What have you learned about the harm -and good- that religion can do?