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April 8, 2011
By Robyn Near

What would Jesus do? Remember that catch phrase from awhile back? What would Jesus do in today’s world? He taught love and forgiveness; he taught turn the other cheek and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I’m pretty sure he would not espouse violence and retaliation. But I’ve been wrong before.

Politics and religion are two topics that are off-limits to most polite conversations. Discussing either can have lasting repercussions. But I’ve got to tell you, I am incensed beyond reason by the recent burning of the Koran by Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones.

Once before Pastor Jones announced his plans to have a Koran burning, but the American government convinced him that to do so would jeopardize American lives overseas. But now he has done as he threatened and indeed, American lives were lost in protests in Afghanistan. Jones deliberately and with malice acted to incite violence in the Muslim world to justify his own hatred of Muslims.

In an interview Jones said he was “devastated” by the killings but did not feel responsible for them. Really? Knowing there is a radical branch of Islam who hates Americans on general principle, he did not think his action would bring about more hatred? What would his reaction be if Muslims were burning Bibles? He now wants the United States and the United Nations to “stand up to the terrorists” and punish them for reacting to his sacrilege against their Koran.

The Koran is the holy book of Islam. Muslims revere it, just as we revere the Bible. Luke Jones, 29 year old son of Terry Jones, said, “We’ve not studied the Koran, but we still have an opinion. We’re actually not educated.” Jones senior even goes so far as to state he would not consider himself an expert on the Bible. Since when does not being an expert mean you don’t understand the basic precepts of Jesus’ teachings? Thou shalt not kill. Love thy neighbor as thyself.

The religion of Islam does not teach violence. It does not teach hatred. It does not teach annihilation of other religions. Islam is one of the three great religions that trace their common roots to Abraham, along with Judaism and Christianity. Muslim extremists have used their religion to justify their hatred of Christians; much like Christians during the Crusades used their beliefs to wipe out entire populations of Muslims.

The culture of hate and violence that is being perpetuated sickens me. We don’t believe just what the Muslims believe, and they don’t believe as we do; so what? They cling as firmly to their religion and we do ours. Religion is a cultural and personal decision. The founding of the new world was based on the freedom to believe as we choose – for each to choose their own beliefs.

I’m tired of every Muslim being lumped together as a terrorist. I’m tired of Christians of any denomination being viewed as radicals to other religions. How can we profess to believe in a God of love and forgiveness and yet call for the destruction of another religion? How can we believe in a God of mercy and yet condone the violence of one belief against another?

Before anybody goes ballistic, I am not condoning terrorism, from ANY religious group. I am not saying there aren’t violent Muslims in the world. Of course there are, just as there are radical violent Christians in the world. I’m just saying, live and let live. It is not up to us to judge our fellow man; at least not according to what I read in the Bible. That’s God’s job.



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