It’s the second installment in our Douchebag of the Week segment, and the hits just keep coming. This week, we’re going to take a look at (and flip the middle finger to)…. Florida Pastor Terry Jones. As you know, we celebrated the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks this past Wednesday. It was a somber day full of memorials and mourning for many Americans. But Terry Jones decided that he wanted to mark the anniversary by burning nearly 3,000 Qu’rans (the holy book of Islam). Jones planned to burn 2,998 Qu’rans, one for each victim killed in the 9/11 attacks.
Thankfully, Jones was arrested by police in Mulberry, Florida, after he made claims that he would conduct this book burning in a public park. He, along with a associate pastor from his church named Marvin Sapp, were hauling the few thousand Qu’rans in a large BBQ-style grill on a trailer, along with several jugs of kerosene. They arrived in Mulberry and were arrested on the spot. Jones was charged with the unlawful open-carry of a firearm, as well as unlawful conveyance of fuel. Sapp was arrested for not having a valid registration on the trailer they were towing.
This isn’t the first time Terry Jones has been involved in a Qu’ran burning. Back in 2010, he threatened to burn a Qu’ran to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary, but he eventually called it off. Many of us will remember that in 2011, he actually did set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book, which led to uprising and violence in the Middle East. Despite pleas from the U.S. Military to stop his extremely offensive book burnings, Jones has continued to express an open and virulent hatred for Muslims and the Islam faith.
Before we get into the moral and logical arguments, there’s a legal aspect that should probably be cleared up here. Legally, Terry Jones is allowed to burn Qu’rans, as it’s considered a protected form of free speech under the First Amendment. The same goes for any holy book of any religion, so someone could burn the Book of Mormon and be protected in the same way. Jones was arrested for openly carrying a gun and for transporting kerosene. He also would’ve been arrested if he had tried to burn the Qu’rans in the Mulberry park, as it’s public property. But in this case, the police are more concerned with the gun on his hip than they are with his religious intentions.
With all the legal argle-bargle out of the way, we’ve just got one thing to say to Terry Jones: don’t be a douchebag. Burning the holy book of any religion is disrespectful and ethically wrong. Just don’t do it. What’s even more disheartening here is that you’re subtly advocating for American Christian exceptionalism on a new level. You’re trying once again to burn Qu’rans, but if someone burned a Bible, you’d go apeshit. You’d be all over Fox News, yelling at that person and calling them a satanic Muslim communist who eats baby pandas. There is no double standard here, and you know it.
Even worse, you’re holding an entire faith-based system responsible for the actions of a few radical fundamentalists. Does that make any sense? And you say you’re “honoring the victims” of 9/11, but some of those victims were Muslim. That’s not honoring the victims any more than burning a Bible. Your logic here is flawed, and you fail to realize it because you’re so focused on speaking out against Islam.
Guess what, Terry? Muslims are not the only people that can commit terrorism. Christians can be terrorists too. Don’t believe me? Watch this.
- There’s John Salvi, who bombed a Planned Parenthood clinic in 1994, killing two receptionists. Salvi later committed suicide in prison. He was a Christian.
- Joseph Stack flew a plane into an IRS building in Dallas, which killed him and an IRS employee. He was a Christian.
- Who could forget Wade Michael Page? Just last year, he shot up a Sikh temple (ironically, he confused Sikhs with Muslims), killed six people, and injured several others. He was a Christian.
- In 2008, Jim David Adkisson went to the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church during a children’s play and began shooting random people. He killed two bystanders and injured many others. He was a Christian.
- Of course, there’s Eric Rudolph, who committed multiple acts of terrorism. He was the perpetrator of the infamous Olympic Park Bombing, which killed a spectator and wounded 111 others. Rudolph also bombed two abortion clinics and a lesbian bar, killing six more people. He was a Christian.
- We all remember Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber. In 1995, he committed the most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history prior to 9/11. He drove a truck filled with explosives into the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, and killed 168 people. Over 600 others were injured by McVeigh, who was a prominent white supremacist. Guess was else he was? Yep, a Christian.
I could go on, but it’s getting a bit redundant. The point, Mr. Jones, is that terrorism is universal. And while you’re so outspoken against it, the act of burning holy books is in and of itself terrorism. Sure, nobody is being killed, but the point of terrorism is to make a statement. Whether it’s crashing a plane into a building or bombing an abortion clinic or setting fire to 3,000 Qu’rans, the statement is the core of the act. So you’re no better than the Muslim extremists that you’re condemning.
In the end, Terry Jones is our Douchebag of the Week because he’s blinded by hatred. It’s sickening to me to see someone, whose job as a pastor is to spread the Christian message of love and redemption, standing in a park and screaming about how horrible a group of people is because of their beliefs. You’re a sad excuse for a Christian, because you’re committing heinous acts and hiding behind your Bible when you’re criticized for them. That’s not patriotism or faithfulness to God, it’s cowardice.
We know that if Muslim burned a Bible, we’d never hear the end of it from you. But if you decide to burn 3,000 Qu’rans, it’s okay because God gave you permission. If that’s not the definition of hypocrisy, I don’t know what is. Burning holy books is not “paying respect to victims,” it’s just you promoting your own warped view of the world by getting attention. I hope you enjoy your time in jail, Terry. And when you get out, I hope someone shows you how Christianity is supposed to be done.