Saturday, April 2, 2011


Today’s Wall Street Journal carries this story on page A12:

KABUL—A frenzied mob incensed by a Quran-burning-ceremony
in Florida overran the United Nations office in northern Afghanistan’s
largest city on Friday, killing at least seven foreigners and several
Afghans, U.N. and Afghan officials said.

There’s not a lot that can be said in defense of Pastor Terry Jones who came up with the idea of promoting “Burn a Quran Day” as a way of dramatizing opposition to the spread of Islam.

Criticism of his idea came from all over. Politicians, military commanders, civic and religious leaders all joined to condemn it and Jones himself ultimately backed off. For a while.

But he just couldn’t leave it alone. On March 20, in a small Gainesville, Florida church known as the Dove World Outreach Center, Jones’ colleague Pastor Wayne Sapp lit a kerosene soaked copy of the Quran with a barbeque match and 30 people watched it burn.

The insane, fanatic and tragic consequences were predictable. As a matter of fact, one of the very reasons why Jones and his ilk are so opposed to the Quran is that it has been interpreted to justify and even encourage bloodthirsty enforcement of Islamic law.

So now Pandora’s box has popped open. Muslim leaders call for the prosecution of Jones as a ‘war criminal.’ Anti-Western, anti-Christian and anti-American sentiment is bubbling up all over Afghanistan, and no doubt it will spread throughout the Arab world.

And here in the U.S. we are not exactly edified by the slaughter of United Nations officials as a means of protesting the burning of a book.

Debate rages on the Internet. On the one hand there are the trigger happy red neck types who say we should nuc the whole Middle East back to the stone age and build an oil pipeline from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Mexico.

On the other extreme are the neo-isolationists who say we should bring all our troops home, build windmills, nuclear reactors, and solar panel highways. And drive electric cars.

Even Pastor Jones ought to realize that burning a book will not snuff out the words. Ideas live in the minds and hearts of human beings. The real contest of the twenty-first century is between Western Civilization and Islam.

There was time when Western Civilization was called Christendom. Eastern and Western Europe, North and South America were dotted with Christian churches in every city and village. And people went to them.

It was a culture of faith, and hope and charity. Of doing good and avoiding evil. Of marriage, family and hard work.

But no more. What is endemic in the West today is better described as multi-cultural hedonism.

My Dad used to say that the best evangelism was good example.

I ask myself whether we can hope to win the hearts and minds of Muslims by the example we show on our television, in our motion pictures, on our Internet.

I ask myself whether we can hope to persuade a burgeoning population of Muslims that it would be in their best interest – that they would be happier – if instead of spawning large families, they were to embrace birth control, abortion and homosexuality.

I wonder if people who block traffic during Friday prayers by prostrating themselves shoulder to shoulder across the highway by the hundreds – by the thousands – are likely ever to buy into a culture which bans the teaching of the Quran in public schools, or forbids the words of Muhammad from being inscribed above the courthouse door.

We have to condemn the criminal insanity of the mindless mob that slaughters non believers. But Hamid Karzai’s government isn’t going to arrest or prosecute anyone.

So what are we to do?

Tough question for Christian folk. What would Jesus do?


  1. Great thought provoking article. Until we -- as a society -- get back to living out what our bible teaches, probably no Muslim will find anything we say or do as credible. Had this been the case with the Gainesville red necks, no Quran would have been torched in the first place.

  2. Even though the burning of our flag or the burning of the Bible would not provoke a mob scene like that in Afghanistan (thanks to our sense of freedom of speech), I wonder if Jones is morally, if not criminally culpable for the foreseeable reaction that resulted in the death of seven people.