Dove World Outreach Center’s “theological malpractice”

By Rev. Chuck Currie As the news spread this week about plans by the Dove World Outreach Center’s plans to … Continued

By Rev. Chuck Currie

As the news spread this week about plans by the Dove World Outreach Center’s plans to burn copies of the Qur’an on 9/11 the famous quote from Margret Mead keeps floating in my head:

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

It turns out the reverse is also true. A small group of religious bigots can also change the world and even hijack a faith tradition. We’ve learned this lesson before. After all, it was a small group of Islamic fundamentalists who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Now, nine years later, a small group of Christian fundamentalists are causing an international crisis.

As a minister in the United Church of Christ, I’m sickened and appalled. The message preached by the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center isn’t the Christian faith that I know. Christians need to speak out against the theological malpractice of Pastor Terry Jones’ ministry. His hateful message comes at a time of increased bigotry and anger directed at Muslims – anger fueled by American political figures such as Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.

The atmosphere is so heated that national religious leaders – Christians, Jews and Muslims – were forced to call an emergency summit in New York this week. The Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches said at the gathering that in the Christian tradition “we denounce anti-Muslim bigotry. We identify ourselves with religious tolerance” and that “we are made richer and deeper in our Christian community by our relationship with Muslim and Jewish colleagues.”

That is a message that must be re-enforced over and over again because it is not a view point always shared by Christians. Franklin Graham, the evangelist son of Billy Graham, has in the past called Islam a “very evil and wicked religion.” Other have made similar remarks over the years. In this election year, politicians have sought to divide Americans across religious lines by using the issue of the building of a proposed Mosque in New York City as a campaign issue.

Last month, the political rhetoric became so heated that over 40 prominent U.S. religious leaders issued a statement that said in part: ” Mr. Gingrich, Ms. Palin and other prominent voices privileged to have the ear of the media would make a more lasting contribution to our nation if they stopped issuing inflammatory statements and instead helped inspire a civil dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims committed to a future guided by the principles of compassion, justice and peace.”

In the days after September 11, 2001 we remember how unified our nation was. Christians have a special responsibility in the wake of the actions promised by the Dove World Outreach Center to speak out against hate and to remember the call made by Jesus to love our neighbors. If we don’t, we dishonor God. If we do speak out, unity may again be our reward.

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The Rev. Chuck Currie is a United Church of Christ minister in Portland, Oregon. He writes a blog at www.chuckcurrie.com and started a Facebook page called “People of Faith Against Burning the Qur’an” that has over 13,000 fans. Join it here.

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  • Dmacc502

    I can’t believe the local government can’t put a stop to this, even if for environmental reasons.This one unstable man is poisoning our already tender relations with other faiths.His hatred has spread just since the conception of this Qur’an burning.I’ve never seen such bitterness and hate as this Jones shows.He is no Christian by any means.

  • WmarkW

    “A small group of religious bigots can also change the world and even hijack a faith tradition. We’ve learned this lesson before. After all, it was a small group of Islamic fundamentalists who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Now, nine years later, a small group of Christian fundamentalists are causing an international crisis.”A religious bigot is someone who practices hate or discrimination against PEOPLE for their religion. Hating the IDEAS of a philosophy is everyone’s right in a free society.Does the fact that most Muslims are peaceful render us mute about the ability to protest the violence incitement in the Quran?

  • AliceSmith

    What this religious bigot is doing is equivalent to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. His free speech rights end when he is destabilizing 2/3 of the world. One may argue that this is over the top reactions of so-called liberals to his ignorance. But no one stopped Hitler either. I think that society can stop ignorance from leading: we don’t allow men to rape women, whether they are their wives of not in this country. We shouldn’t allow one man to incite riots around the world.

  • savingfaith

    I’m sorry Jesus did not preach “religious tolerance”. Love your neighbor yes, religious tolerance NO.He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”. (John 14:6)That’s pretty specific.Scripture says,”Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12″– for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God–” – Exodus 34:14In all fairness to Pastor Jones he is NOT preaching hatred toward a people group (Muslims) but he is correctly pointing out that the doctrine of Islam is false. And anything false as you know will not get one true saving faith. After all that is the point. (I don’t see him telling people to hate others or kill others!) It takes a lot of LOVE to witness to a generation whom loves their sin and doesn’t want to repent. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8Just remember the words of our LORD, “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Mark 13:13And, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” – Mathew 16:24

  • 4SimpsonsDotWordpressDotCom

    Did Jones hijack Jesus? No, he’s just one pastor of a tiny church who is doing something that nearly everyone across the spectrum thinks is misguided.The people who hijacked Jesus are “Christians” like Chuck Currie who teach the opposite of what Jesus did on nearly everything: Pro-gay marriage, pro-legalized abortion, anti-Jesus is the only way to salvation, pro-other religions are as effective as Christianity in leading to God, anti-the Bible is the inspired word of God, pro-asking Caesar to tax neighbor A to give to neighbor B instead of giving his own money, and so on. He blasphemously claims that he and his church get special revelation from God that contradicts what God revealed in scripture.Chuck tries to play the uniter, but as usual he passive-aggressively slips in digs at conservatives — who, by the way, oppose the Qu’ran burning stunt. Instead of blaming Sarah Palin for alleged violence against Muslims (was she the Islamic justification for 9/11 as well?) this would have been a great time for Chuck to find common ground instead of hating on his enemies.The obvious plan for authentic Christians is not to burn the Qu’ran but to explain why it is wrong. For example, Sura 4:157-158 emphatically and repeatedly state over 500 years after the fact that Jesus did not die on the cross, yet virtually all historical scholar of that time period, whether Christian or not, believe that it is historical fact that He did die on the cross.Another irony about Chuck is that he is on record in saying that we have as much to learn from religions like Islam as they do from us. That’s an odd thing for a Christian to say, because there are over 100 passages in the Bible teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation. When Chuck did a whole sermon on John 14:6 he concluded that Jesus was not the only way (in direct contradiction to the text) and he didn’t even know about the other 100+ verses.

  • 4SimpsonsDotWordpressDotCom

    The conservatives that Chuck tries to blame are being consistent here: They supported the Muslims’ legal right to build the Ground Zero Mosque and Jones’ legal right to burn the Qu’ran, but they criticized both because the actions were quite misguided. Chuck & Co. opposed criticism of the Mosque yet supports criticism of Jones. Why the inconsistencies?

  • 4SimpsonsDotWordpressDotCom

    If Muslim leaders were even remotely as non-violent and consistent as Chuck & Co. claim they are then this would be a non-issue. Think about it: They’d point out that this is one lone oddball in a country of 300 million people, and that leaders across the spectrum are denouncing his actions. And the peace-loving Muslims would nod their heads and say, “Great point, leaders. We don’t want to be judged based on what the 9/11 ‘extremists’ did, so we won’t judge American and/or Christians based on what this guy is doing.”

  • WmarkW

    “What this religious bigot is doing is equivalent to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. His free speech rights end when he is destabilizing 2/3 of the world.”No, he isn’t.The only reason this is an international threat is that the people who disagree with him often express their displeasure violently.We can stand up for his right to express his views; or we can uphold Muslims’ right to their “heckler’s veto,” in which case the terrorists have defeated our First Amendment traditions.

  • RevChuckCurrie

    The American Muslim Association of North America, among other Muslim groups, have clearly condemned any violence regarding this issue. They called on “all Muslims, friends and associates to stop any plan for any sort of violence against the Dove World Church in Gainesville, Florida.”and said…“We would like to remind that Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of such hateful acts, but always within the margins of law and order. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of emotions, but according to our religion. It was God Almighty, who said in the Holy Qur’an, ‘Good and evil are not the same. React to your enemy with what is better so that your enemy may become your good friend.”

  • ThomasBaum

    RevChuckCurrieYou wrote, “It was God Almighty, who said in the Holy Qur’an, ‘Good and evil are not the same. React to your enemy with what is better so that your enemy may become your good friend.”First off, the god of islam is not God Almighty, it should be clear to anyone whether they believe in God or not that the god in the Koran and the God in the Bible are not one and the same.Either neither is God or one or the other, not both.Second, when Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, He did not say it was to be a “reaction” to something but how one should live and also it was not to change the “other” but to change oneself whether or not the “other” changed.The most basic tenet of Christianity is that God became One of us, the god of islam gets mighty perturbed if anyone says that Jesus is God-Incarnate, how can you possibly reconcile this?This is just one of many twistations that the god of islam has attempted to do with Truth, didn’t Jesus say that satan is a liar and a thief.The god of islam supposedly gets very upset if anyone refers to God as their Father, didn’t Jesus teach us, thru the Apostles, that when we pray, we should address God as Our Father and also more intimately as Abba, which translates as Dad or Daddy?Didn’t Jesus say that He would send the “Holy Spirit to guide us…”, and since the Holy Spirit has revealed to me that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus, just like Jesus told us quite awhile ago, I have met the Trinity, so I know for a fact that God is a Trinity and from what I have gathered, the god of islam really gets upset when anyone refers to God as a Trinity, isn’t that right?Yes, I have also met Dad, God the Father, and even tho I have met the Trinity, I would not even attempt to “explain” the Trinity, the Trinity is even “alluded” to in the OT, if one looks.Christianity is just part of God’s Plan for the Salvation of not only All of humanity but also for All of creation and God’s Plan will come to Fruition.And as someone else pointed out, Jesus did not teach tolerance but LOVE and the reason Jesus taught LOVE is because God is a Being of Pure Love so Jesus was trying to teach us about God.As it says, “They have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear”, yes, there is some truth in the Koran, it should be obvious that the best liars use some truth.When Jesus was on the cross He said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”.First off, there is no asterick after them and second, it is just as true now as when Jesus first uttered it.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • COMMENTATOR7

    Sadly, as a Pentacostal born-again Christian, this whole episode is a cause for our Savior to weep. It would not matter whether 200 copies of the Koran or one copy for each victim of 9/11 were burned, it would be a waste of time and an overt act of selfishness by anyone who would do it. Our faith in Christ is based upon His Holy Word – the Bible, which we hold to be inerrant and true from cover to cover, while the Muslim faith is based on the Koran, which they hold to the same standard in their belief system. For either view to use a public destruction of the other sides book of faith tenets as a legitimate means of “standing up for their faith” is simple stupidity which I’m reasonably sure both Jesus and Mohammad would condemn as religious self piety which has no place in either belief system. Intelligent minds (one of the gifts of our Creator) MUST prevail and since neither side is without fault since we are all fallible humans, then that is going to be a challenge, to say the least. To quote a line from the song “Industrial Disease” by Dire Straits, “Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong.” That said, we would be all further ahead to remember that there is coming a day of Judgement and we will then see who is “correct” about what they have believed about who God really is. Until then, I will continue to pray for the Muslim community and offer repentant apologies to anyone, Muslims included, for those so called “Christians” who refuse to do so. Said “Christians” do NOT represent true faith and following of Jesus Christ and His teachings, but rather those of the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” He warned us about that would come in the latter days.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    4SimpsonsDotWordpressDotComPerhaps in all of this confusion, you can find common ground with Islam in your mutual enmity towards gay people, and in your wish for their destruction.

  • brahman

    In my opinion,all those who are calling pastor Jones a bigot or misguided are themselves bigots and misguided.

  • brahman

    According to an article in OneNewsNow.com people from across america sent Bibles to their loved ones; instead of delivering them,

  • WmarkW

    “In my opinion,all those who are calling pastor Jones a bigot or misguided are themselves bigots and misguided.The Koran contains objectionable ideas that a non-trivial number of people implement today because they claim God commands it. We have to protect the right to protest ideas like that, even if it means deprecating some people’s religion. We don’t have to respect others’ view that they have the right to conquer and convert us, using violence if necessary.What IS the right way to protest the Koran?

  • responsiblepublic

    This problem is not just about Pastor Jones. There are those in Kansas, Tennessee that plan to burn the Qur’an, and those across the nation that agree with such hate. There can be no “deals” with hate. For those who seek to promote the power of love and seek to defend freedom of religion and conscience, we will have a community public rally in Washington DC on September 11 at 2 PM at Freedom Plaza. See more at 911Freedom.com

  • philrosspilgrim

    Chuck, Ho boy! Where to start?Why are you sickened by Terry Jones’ ministry malpractice, but have celebrated the “success” of Jeremiah Wright’s ministry malpractice? Especially when you can do nothing about Terry Jones, but are in the same denomination as Jeremiah Wright? The problem here is not your inconsistency (a lot of people are inconsistent). The problem is that neither you nor your UCC can even see the inconsistency (John 3:3-5).I am delighted that so many of the commenters here are both intelligent and faithful to Christ. Why is this combination so rare in our churches? The comments are much better than the article.My take on this issue goes like this:Koran: Don’t Burn It, Read It!Serious public religious discussion is all but impossible these days. It seems that to hold any serious religious belief is to offend those who don’t hold that particular belief. And the more seriously you take your faith, the more offensive it is. How has American civil society come to this horrible place? More:

  • areyousaying

    First off, the god of islam is not God Almighty, it should be clear to anyone whether they believe in God or not that the god in the Koran and the God in the Bible are not one and the same.Posted by: ThomasBaumSo who is the “God in the Bible”?The one who supports:- hiding ebephile priests who rape little boys?- rabid homophobia?- cherry-picking which American citizens are entitled to First Amendment rights and which are not?- pre-emptive war in Iran?- torture?- education and health care are “socialism” while propping up defense contractors with an addiction to endless war isn’t.Christians, Jews and Muslims share a definite common denominator, the God of Abraham complete with his small and shallow intolerance, exclusion and claim that one religion’s version is better than the other.Your Catholicism is no less intolerant than Islam. Abrahamic religions hate tolerance and diversity as evil hates the light no matter how cloyingly loving the likes of you pretend to be.

  • areyousaying

    Uncompromising and war-mongering Abrahamic religions aside, giving the enemy a propaganda video for widespread use against our troops in time of war is treason.Because these are right-wing “Christians”, none dare call it so.

  • eezmamata

    Christians burning books, what a surprise.

  • brahman

    “Abrahamic religions” – a deceptive term used by islam and muslims would not be different if sikhism says that islam and sikhism are two “Adamic religions” but they don’t because there is no deception there as is in islam.

  • areyousaying

    OK, if you want to weasel out of the fact that Christianity, Judisam and Islam are, indeed, all Abrahamic religions, they still share the his common denominator of hating tolerance and diversity.No matter how you try to spin it, Islam has no corner on intolerance, hatred, murder and violence in the name of it’s small and shallow god.

  • sweethabibi40

    Mr.Jones is a mere child in an ignorant mans body. The man is star struck by all the attention he is given. Mr.Jones has turned himself into a home grown Christian extremist and if I may say so a terrorist. Out of the 1.57 billion Muslims in the world the only ones that WANT this to happen are the Muslims that make the problems, aka Osama and his flock of blood thirsty sheep. Mr.Jones has his own crew of blood thirsty sheep, some of them you may see posting here. At any rate the ignorance is at an all time high on both sides of the line. If Mr.Jones goes forward with his bon fire of bigotry he will truly prove to the world he is 100% a terrorist He will be the cause of so much hurt in his OWN country, He will have to answer to the family’s of American’s killed overseas, soldiers and travelers alike, and I am sure the blubbering moron wont know what to say. This is beyond a religious argument this is one man poking a rabid dog with a stick and then crying when the entire school yard is bitten.

  • brahman

    the “rabid dog” needs to be shot dead before it bites a single soul.

  • lbjack

    Rev. Chuck, your sanctimony is misplaced. Taking a stand against evil is NOT bigotry or hate. Islam is evil. This is not about theology but about how a belief is manifested in behavior. The bromides “most Muslims are not terrorists” and “the religion of peace” are belied by the mass murders carried out daily by Muslims and by the rampant violence, oppression and corruption of Muslim societies and by the war against civilization waged by Islam since its founding.Rev. Chuck, if I were you I’d stop parading my virtue and show a little Christian humility. And explain to us benighted souls why it’s hateful to see Islam for what it truly is, based not on race or national origin (blah blah blah) but on BEHAVIOR and the belief that informs it.Terry Jones’s mistake is that instead of burning the Koran he should encourage all to read it, so all intellectually honest folk (which apparently excludes the Rev. Chuck) will understand once and for all that the he is exactly right about Islam and that the smug, arrogant snobs of establishment media, which looks down its collective nose at 70% of the American public, are the Muslims’ war against civilization’s useful idiots.

  • APaganplace

    Not to rush you or nothing, but there’s actually some stuff here….

  • llamalady

    Bravo, Rev. Chuck! This week has been a real demonstration that Christian Exceptionalism is yet alive and well.What if the current church believed what the primitive church believed, that Jesus would be their judge?Would they act any differently?

  • Christianmom

    this is prof that their are radicals on all sides. Does he have the right to burn them??? in this country he does have that right to the best of my knowlage. Does that mean it is the right thing to do??? NO. One of your posters mentioned that it is not the same God that we worship….Better go back and do some reading……Cause ya know what I have taught the Sunday School lesson MANY times where Abraham sends his Baby Mama and son into the wilderness. GO READ YOUR BIBLE it is there….Do you know that Mary the mother of Jesus is the most mentioned woman in the Bible. Ask yourself what Jesus would do would he ever burn the other guys holy stuff? Or would he invite the person to sit and talk, would he be persuasive and when that didn’t work would he walk away. I must forgive how many times???? do you know how many times we are to forgive somone who wrongs us????????? If you want to be a Christian then you need to work on being Christ-Like. What this man in florida is doing is being a Cult leader who is just thrilled with the fact that he has effected the world. I am thinking about what i can do today to remember a horrible event and think about how i can reach out and MAKE A DIFFERENCE and be encouraging and uplifting to others. (and prepare for world war 3 wich is what everyone seems to want to start.

  • brahman

    Calling pastor Jones a cult leader is not Christ like either and teaching Sunday school does not make you Christ like either; and saying that the Christ and the Antichrist means the same is not Christ like either.

  • ThomasBaum

    areyousaying You wrote, “Your Catholicism is no less intolerant than Islam.”Maybe you should read what I write instead of just grouping me like you group others.As far as “my Catholicism”, it is not about tolerance, it is about God becoming One of us and asking us to follow Him, it is not about what any other “follower” does, Jesus never asked us to follow His “followers”.As I have said, God becoming One of us is just part of God’s Plan which God has had since before creation.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    ChristianmomYou wrote, “..Cause ya know what I have taught the Sunday School lesson MANY times where Abraham sends his Baby Mama and son into the wilderness. GO READ YOUR BIBLE it is there….”Yes, it is there and which son was it that Abraham took up to “sacrifice”?Does it say that Jesus went to the cross and died on the cross in the bible?You also wrote, “If you want to be a Christian then you need to work on being Christ-Like.”Would that also include answering the question that Jesus posed to us all, “Who do you say that I AM”?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • abrahamhab1

    Reverend Currie;You speak of Islam as if it were a Christian denomination like Mormons or Catholics. Islam is a “Deen”; a way of life that consists of three components of which religion”madhab” is one of them. The other two are a supremacist political ideology and a primitive social order. A person who wants to make a meaningful essay on Islam needs to be aware of the above divisions as well as be familiar with the Islamic jurisprudence from the original sources; Quran, Hadith (supposed sayings and actions of the Muslim prophet) and Sira (history of Mohammad and his religion). The harshest critics of Islam are ex-Muslims. A number of them had written books about their experiences most of which are available on Amazon. That would be a starting point.

  • RevChuckCurrie

    Karen Armstrong’s Islam: A Short History and Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time are two great recent works on Islam.

  • areyousaying

    “As far as “my Catholicism”, it is not about tolerance,”You proved my point.

  • spencer1

    The whole Koran/Muslim/Christian controversy is the inevitable product of childish and unwarranted deference to a collection of men who believe, or profess to believe, that supernatural beings exist and must be obeyed. This destructive and irrational deference must be eliminated, both in custom and in law. If not, the chaos we see today will repeat endlessly.

  • ThomasBaum

    areyousaying Part of what I wrote, “As far as “my Catholicism”, it is not about tolerance,”You replied, “You proved my point.”What I wrote, “As far as “my Catholicism”, it is not about tolerance, it is about God becoming One of us and asking us to follow Him, it is not about what any other “follower” does, Jesus never asked us to follow His “followers”.”As I also wrote in the same post, “Maybe you should read what I write instead of just grouping me like you group others.”Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    spencer1You wrote, “The whole Koran/Muslim/Christian controversy is the inevitable product of childish and unwarranted deference to a collection of men who believe, or profess to believe, that supernatural beings exist and must be obeyed.”The word “obey” come from “to listen to” and after one listens and either believes or comes to “know” that God Is, that one follows or doesn’t follow.How one “follows” is how that one thinks/feels/believes/knows how he or she should follow.You added, “This destructive and irrational deference must be eliminated, both in custom and in law.”I don’t know what country you live in but here in the United States, the founding documents of this country would have to be trashed for what you wish to happen to come about.If you would take notice of some recent and current history, your proposal has been attempted.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • joe_allen_doty

    In spite of what some people think, the epithet created by Greek-speaking pagans in Antioch, Syria, the word “Christian” does not mean “Christ-like.” It was created to make fun of those who preached about the “Anointed (One)” which is Christos in Greek. The title link to this discussion is “Did Jones hijack Jesus?” In my opinion, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine who founded his version of Christianity in 325 AD hijacked Jesus for his own purposes as a war-mongering person. He believed that God gave him the right to kill pagans.

  • phal4875

    Several people wrote that the Quran indicates that Islam is a violent religion. Does anyone doubt that the same claim can be made for the Bible?The God of the Bible wiped out nearly every living creature with a flood. It is difficult to believe that every child and every baby seal was evil. The same God told Moses to have his people kill three thousand other people who had worshiped a golden calf as Moses got the Ten Commandments.The Christian God approves of slavery, calls for the killing of children who disrespect their parents, the killing of those who work on the Sabbath, and the stoning of adulterers. I will not even mention the unpleasantness with Job.None of this means that Christianity is a bad religion, and the questionable passages in the Quran do not mean Islam is bad, either.