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Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 12:42 UK
Pastor Dave Burke: Terry Jones - Saints and Monsters

Pastor Dave Burke
Pastor Dave Burke
Bethany Church, Sunderland

The Quran or Koran
The Quran or Koran is a precious religious book

Pastor Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, ought to ask himself some serious questions today.

How many innocent people may be killed if I go ahead with my Koran burning stunt on Saturday?

How many US citizens and soldiers may die?

In what way may this folly advance the cause of Christianity?

Even if I climb down, how many extreme individuals around the world may confuse my perverted brand of Christianity for the real thing?

How many may die anyway?

Those are the global questions. But there is one question Pastor Jones ought to ask himself very carefully: In what sense am I a follower of Jesus - who told me to love my enemies and bless those who persecute me?

Would the real Jesus have gone around burning people's most precious books? Would he have mounted such a cheap publicity stunt?

One answer

There is, in my opinion, only one answer to that.

Terry Jones does not sound like a Christ-follower to me, any more than Islamic extremists look like any kind of a Muslim that I can find in the Koran.

Something pretty terrible is happening as the gulf between east and west, rich and poor, western and Islamic, gets bigger.

The extremists are hijacking religion and using it to fuel people's hatred, the faith that could make people into saints is turning them into monsters.

Effigy of Pastor Terry Jones being burned
There is mounting unrest over the proposed Koran burning

Terry Jones is such a monster - a disgrace to the worldwide church.

Of course, he will find support amongst western "Christians" who confuse their national interests with those of the real Christian movement.

Their Jesus would carry a gun, wear a Rolex and circle the world in a private Jet in support of the war on terror.

Healing wounds

The real Jesus was very different.

In the garden of Gethsemane his enemies came to arrest and crucify him. One of his friends, Peter, grabbed a sword and sliced the ear off one of the assailants.

Jesus stopped his friend and healed the wounded attacker.

Since then, those who use violence to defend Christianity have only succeeded in making people deaf - earless - to its message.

Terry Jones is completely missing the point of the gospel he claims to proclaim.

Peter found his way back; I sincerely hope that Terry Jones does too.

This text is the personal opinion of Pastor Dave Burke - BBC Wear welcomes submissions from people of all faiths on topical matters - if you would like to write, then e-mail BBC Wear here...

Below is a selection of the comments received on Pastor Dave Burke's polemic. The views expressed are those of the public and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC...

Pastor Burke is exactly the type of Christian pastor that has brought Christianity to its knees. No blood and thunder in his sermons, just cowardice in the face of threats from the Muslim contingent. Pastor Terry Jones has the right of it. When the World Trade towers were smashed to smithereens the whole Christian world was appalled. But it was the war mongers in America and unfortunately in Great Britain chose to teach 'those foreigners' a lesson, and, consequently reaped a worldwind.

Christ knew when to condemn, and, if the perpetrators of such evil expressed regret, to forgive but he would never have countenanced the building of a graven idol near the site of such wickedness, and to begin building it on the anniversary of such a murderous event. No wonder Islam thinks we are weak - not in the martial sense but in the spritual sense. It is in insult to all who died in that terrible day. Can you imagine a church being built in Islamabad or Jeddah ? No indeed! it would be burned to the ground if even one brick was laid.

If Islam was in any way sorry for the actions of such of it's followers it would not even have considered building in what is considered by them to be the base of Satan. They pretend to be such a peaceful religion but read the book and see where it is written that all 'non believers' should be stoned (bombed).

Pastor Burke should be about in his diosese ensuring his flock attend church at the prescribed times, not visiting Asda or B&Q or whatever else they do instead of praising God.

And it behoves him to remember, that although Pastor Terry Jones has only a few (30) in his flock, Jesus Christ our Lord only had 12 in His following at the beginning.

His is a shameful, gutless comment

Barbara Knight

Thank you Dave Burke. You have gone to the core of the issue. What would Jesus do? I think that you have answered the question.

Keep it up. When I get to be with Jesus one day, I will look you up. From your answer, I know that you will be there with Jesus as well.

May Gods favour be with you.

Gavin Wisdom, South Africa

Pastor Burke, In reference to your article Pastor Dave Burke: Terry Jones - Saints and Monsters

This is a stand against radical islam. The ones that are causing the uproar are the Radicals and the ones that are criticizing this are to scared to stand up against it. This is a false religion and the true inner beliefs are being exposed.

Stating that he is the cause of deaths in the war is absolutely ridiculous. If that was the case , who is responsible for the 2071 soldiers have lost their lives in the war.

God is love and God can show anger. In Matthew 21:12-13 (King James Version)

12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Do you think Jesus was angry when he over threw these tables or should he of politely went in there and asked them to please stop.

Your brother In Christ,

Bryan Mccloskey

Burning a Koran is not an act of violence as you describe in your article. It is a statement of frustration and anger. We are hearing Muslims promising violence if this Koran burning event takes place, and perhaps, even if it does not. Do you believe that the Muslim community has the right to intimidate people from exercising their right to free speech by threatening violence? I believe that this is the question that should be asked.

I do not condone burning any book, but democracy supports our right to free speech, and the right to express our frustration and anger. People of non-Christian faiths burn Bibles around the world every day, but these instances are not reported like this possible event has been reported. Why is this the case? Personally, I find burning the Bible distasteful and offensive, but I will not pledge to kill anyone who burns a Bible. In fact, I support their right to do so.

Our president has taken an oath to support the US Constitution, and defend the rights of his constituents, yet, here we see him actively attempting to discourage a group of people from expressing their opinion. President Obama should not have given this event or this group of Floridians a single second of his time or energy. However, by injecting himself into this situation, Obama has given this group an international stage, while at the same time, betraying his oath of office. Even though I think it is wrong to burn any holy text, or any book for that matter, I support the right of free speech. If we allow any group to stifle our opinion, through the threat of violence, then every democracy around the world suffers.

I hope and pray that this event does not happen, but if it does, and violence erupts out of the nation of Islam, I pray that we have the strength and courage to condemn the ensuing violence, and not simply dismiss it as the result of a small group of people exercising their right to freedom of speech. In other words, there is no excuse for violence, so any violence that occurs, as a result from a non-violent book burning, must not be tolerated or excused by any freedom-loving, democratic citizen. However, I believe that this is exactly what will happen. The media and world opinion will excuse any and all violence as being provoked by a small group of lunatics, and the lesson that will be learned is that freedom of speech extends only to the limits that Islam will allow. As a follower of Christ, I embrace tolerance and turning the other cheek. Apparently, Muslims do not share this burden, but this does not mean that Muslims should be excused from being held accountable for their own actions.

I am absolutely astounded that your opening paragraph immediately places all of the blame for any possible deaths of innocent people squarely on the shoulders of Pastor Terry Jones. I truly hope that you can recognize that this is a warped point of view. Imagine that you wrote an article criticizing Islam, and you were then accused of being responsible for the deaths of innocent people as a result of your article. Does this make any sense? Please rethink your position. It is so important to claim, protect and cherish your right to free speech, my right to free speech, and Terry Jones' right to free speech, no matter how offensive his message might be.

Kind regards,

Ben B. Hampton, Lafayette, LA

Amen. When we lose our compassion for others regardless of their beliefs, we fail as true believers. To make the world a better place we need show compassion for all. I think that's what God would want.

Todd Shepard

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10 Sep 10 |  US & Canada
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