Terry Jones’ Statement In Full

From the BBC:

US pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, has called off his controversial Koran-burning event.

Here is his statement in full:

This has been for us a very, very difficult, trying time. We have been in much thought and prayer over this whole period.

A lot of times we were asked what would it take for us to call this thing off. We have thought it over many times. We felt very convinced that we should do this.

We thought about what would have to happen for us to call our event off. As we prayed about that, in the past we did have one idea.

This idea we put out in prayer to God. That if he would want us to call this off, if we have accomplished our goal, then our thought was the American people do not as a whole want the mosque at the Ground Zero location.

That if they were willing to either cancel the mosque at the Ground Zero location, or if they were willing to move it away from that location, we would consider that sign from God.

We have, or he has [indicating Iman Muhammad Musri, standing beside him], been in contact with the imam in New York City.

I, with the imam here, will be flying up there on Saturday to meet the imam at the Ground Zero mosque.

He has agreed to move the location. That of course cannot happen overnight. But he has agreed to move that.

We felt that that would be a sign that God would want us to do it.

The American people do not want the mosque there. And of course Muslims do not want us to burn the Koran.

The imam has agreed to move the mosque. We have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday. And on Saturday I will be flying up there to meet with him.

This letter has completely diffused whatever anger I had toward Terry Jones. It’s just so sad. Jones is clearly addlepated—and very nearly illiterate. He’s not the enemy; he’s not worthy of the appellation. He’s like a damaged little bird banging itself against your living room window. You can’t really let the poor thing in—and if you go near it, it’ll only flitter wildly away, eventually landing under a bush somewhere, and there, after a time, dying.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Sam

    John,

    Love the imagery of the bird. The photo perfectly punches up the poignancy.

    -Sam

  • Jeannie

    Agreed. He should have been marginalized as a small time guy with a congregation of 50 people doing a weird thing. His 15 minutes of fame are nearly over and he will slink back into his small time life and tiny congregation. Nothing really to see here folks.

    • http://spiritualmeanderings.wordpress.com/ Sentinel

      What she said.

  • Marie

    He's not a formidable "evil" to me, only a dangerous idiot.

    Like a temperamental, selfish, easily frightened child – with influence over other children. All with access to loaded weapons. His strange and brazen LIE about the mosque location being moved is, to me, a transparent shout-out to his inner sociopath. He's an idiot, yes, but his ego is navigating his manipulation skills with some surgical accuracy. This is one to watch (although with the exception of Dick Cheney, over the hill narcissists usually do end up under a bush, dying).

    Nicely written. I enjoyed reading this. Especially poignant ending (and photo! SO perfect!)

    • Marie

      "…At prayer rallies that were used as recruitment drives, congregations dropped to their knees in worship or danced ecstatically in the aisles, so taken were they by him.

      But when Jones left Cologne 26 years later it was as a disgraced preacher who was accused of running a sect-like community with an iron fist, forcing members to give him a percentage of their earnings, making them work for little or no money and causing the breakup of families and friendships. He also faked a title as "Doctor of Theology", for which he was fined."

      source:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/09/quran

      • Derek

        thanks for the background!

      • Ace

        Yea, that's an interesting read for sure. What a nut.

  • http://nametagsandhairnets.blogspot.com stephanie

    I wonder what would have happened if the media & politicians had never grabbed a hold of the Park 51 center AND this small church's plans to burn the Quran? Had they not put such a strong spotlight on both events, would it be the spectacle that it's become?

    Sensationalism and politics have made quite a mess.

    But we can all rest soundly tonight: Donald Trump is all over this business now. Phew….I was getting so worried.

    • Argy-bargy

      Exactly! The Donald can simply slap another casino on the Right Reverend Jones's church! I love America!!

  • Chris White

    Wow, he single-handedly got them to move the mosque from Ground Zero!

  • mm

    he did not. The imam and the developer are refuting this claim. http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article

    If i were a high ranking government official, t i would say to the good pastor "your stunt is a political statement not a religious one. go through with this and we strip your status as a place of worship and hit you with back taxes plus interest." Nothing like a 500k dollar tax lien to correct someones behavior, IMO.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    The bird in the photo even has his mustache!

    About his literacy, that transcription certainly doesn't do him any favors—except this one: he kept saying "iman", but the one place "iman" is actually written is in what he *didn't* say! I'm pretty sure he can read and write at the average high-school-graduate level though. Sadly. But he did live in Germany for 30 years and maybe wasn't exposed to much sophisticated English during that time. That said, I *can* see him as the type to be banging his head into windows.

    • Ace

      Pfft. 'Iman' is David Bowie's super-model wife anyway, everybody knows that!

  • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

    The bliss of living a life unaware is also its trouble, which is that one is oblivious to the fact that one suffers from it.

    As I wrote on a friend's facebook page recently where he posted a youtube link showing some truly mystifying and unperceptive things that were captured on video as said by attendants of Glenn Beck's rally in Washington on August 28th,

    "It's sad really. A one whose extended family is primarily composed of folks just like these I know that Gordon Livingston was correct when he wrote, "It is difficult to remove by logic beliefs that were not placed there by logic in the first place"…..and "Moral certainty is the reward of the true believer."

    Fear is a powerful motivator. So is our ego.

    In the case of my family, I think this fear has been ingrained and perpetuated by small closely knit closed communities and the culture of these communities, religious fundamentalism, distrust and suspicion of people in general but especially those different from themselves, poverty, lack of curiosity, limited education, a healthy dose of unhealthy rearing, as well as a profound deprivation of unconditional love. The heart of the issue is really deeply sad."

    The trouble is that though I myself accused Rev. Jones of it, his ignorance is not so much willful as it is deeply ingrained and reinforced by living in a fearful worldview….not just of Islam, but of everything.

    The opposite of love is not hate. It is fear.

    We would all do well to remember the Prayer of St. Francis:

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

    where there is hatred, let me show love;

    where there is injury, pardon:

    where there is doubt, faith ;

    where there is despair, hope

    where there is darkness, light

    where there is sadness, joy

    O divine Master,

    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

    to be understood, as to understand;

    to be loved, as to love;

    for it is in giving that we receive,

    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

    and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

    Amen.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      As one whose extended family…… sorry… and then there's the screwy quotation marks. Anyway…

      • http://none Don Rappe

        Like. Some nice quotes here.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Epistomolus Dennis Dawson

    I whole-heartedly support his First Amendment right to burn the Quran. He should quietly burn them in his front yard, on the pulpit, in his hibachi, wherever, with complete respect for his privacy and without media attention. Afterward, he should be ready to accept the consequences of exercising his First Amendment rights, as so many have in the past.

  • http://mindathink.blogspot.com Minda Shultz

    I agree with your assessment. And so how dumb are "we" if we let this addlepated one gain any more attention for his window bashing ways. I for one am closing the drapes.

    • Gina Powers

      What you said, Minda..and John….and Jeannie. Good GAWD, already. I hadn't known until yesterday who this person was and now I'm sorry I've been enlightened. Indeed, let's "close the drapes"….I'm hauling my cold-ridden ass back to bed……peace, all.

      • http://none Don Rappe

        Close the drapes.

  • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

    Remember when Buddhists monks used to burn themselves to show how much they opposed something?

  • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

    Nothing like the threat of widespread violence and vengeance to convince me to respect the religion of peace deep love of literature.

  • Ace

    Yea, that guy makes about as much logical sense as a sack full of drunk monkeys.

  • http://WWW.HowardLPorter.com Howard Porter

    Well, another day, another fold in this unfortunate story. Looks like Jones needs to hit the window a few more times before his 15 minutes in the limelight are over.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

    Jones…Jones… where have I heard that name before? (apologies to all the other Joneses out there)

    • gooseberrybush

      Don't drink the Kool Aid

  • Tim

    Wow.

    Just interested, how cheesed off did everyone here get when Andres Serrano gave us the Piss Christ?

    If you were too young to remember, one geezer here recalls. The US Government paid him $15K of tax-payer money for a photo of a small plastic crucifix with Jesus, submerged in glass full of Serrano's urine.

    Judging by the deep amber hue of that urine, I'd say it's a miracle that Serrano isn't dead today from kidney failure. Although it seems like he's still full of piss as he now cranks out a collection of classic rock renditions (under the alias, Brutus Faust). His singing is sounding a bit like Carlton Blanchard (William Hickey's recurring role on TV's WINGS), or maybe Gilbert Gottfried.

    Maybe Pastor Jones would've won more sympathy if he had made the Qur'an burning more of an exhibit of artistic expression.

  • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

    It's just a book. Burn it. No big deal. It's his right. It's legal. Live and let live. Symbolism matters Not. One. Bit.

    Now, there are many who argue that anyone who disagree with any part of this position must be a bigot, an extremist, not mention an intolerant hatemonger. Oh… and I think John also wrote that anyone who says 'No' to this burning of a qu'ran means that crazy wins.

    Isn't this right? Have I missed anything?

    Oh wait… maybe I'm mixing up the mosque kerfluffle with the qu'ran kerfluffle.

    But I'm sure we will all keep our thinking straight and stay consistent in how we deal with the same issue even if the details are different.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      There are two very important differences: First, as I believe you have said before, we Christians have to reign in the extremist rhetoric within our own ranks—the bad image they portray is that of Christianity as well us of the USA—whereas building a mosque is a decision for Muslims, and those making that decision here are not at all the Muslim extremists, and opposing it is what would paint a bad image of America; secondly, the resulting rioting and backlash of this could very well, according to military experts and others, put our troops and those of our partners in Afghanistan and Iraq, and possibly civilians as well, in harm's way (according to military experts and state department officials), and the image of their (and by implication our) burning the Koran would serve as none other than the best propaganda fodder for al-Qaeda and others and surely would be a major focus of conversation and radical sermons at the Eid ul-Fitr (the major holiday marking the end of Ramadan)—it was planned to be televised throughout the Middle East. So, to recap: If they can portray the wrong image as representative of me in burning them, I can show up to represent what my—what most of our—real views are: burning scripture is not "World Outreach", building the community center is; and all symbolic mumbo-jumbo aside, what they had in mind to do in Florida is far more dangerous.

      • Tim

        From what I've gathered, Islamists don't need footage of the Jones' people burning Qur'ans to recruit new murderers, Assassin is an ancient profession. Hashish is, or at least was, the most common mode of control. It certainly was in Somalia. When some 13 to 17 year old impoverished boy is all blazed up on killer hash, the propaganda could be home made and these kids wouldn't notice or give a rip. Islamists are simply crazy and evil. They are not placated. They are not reasonable. And most importantly, they are not restrained by the peace loving members of their own religion of peace.

        Mainstream Islam seems reticent to police their own, We burn Qur'ans…They want to kill us. We play nice…They want to kill us. I say let crazy incite crazy and bring this festering zit to a head so more reasonable fingers can POP IT!

        • Tim

          By "they" I am referring to Islamists, not Islam.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Right, so it doesn’t matter to you that (as of yesterday afternoon—I have no clue as of right now) eleven people have been injured and one has died as a result of responses to the threatened burning of the Koran, or do you think those same riots would have occurred if he *hadn’t* been planning the Koran burning? And you don’t care about our troops whom people have already tried to assault in the course of rioting *specific* to this event? You think all those people should get off on criminal insanity as they couldn’t possibly be influenced in pridactably human ways by the amount of hate they perceive from others in what is on the broadcast media? So young boys of certain ethnicities are just sometimes predestined to become viscious haters no matter what, right? Anyway, assissin was an old Shia thing; most terrorist acts against the West are Sunni undertakings.

          • Tim

            Injuries and deaths always matter, Matthew. Painting me as some war-monger with a blood-lust won't stop me from saying what I believe. As I've already said, even if we (non-Islamists) play nice, Islamists will still riot and kill their own and our own. And their hatred is surely predictable in the sense that no matter what, they (Islamists) always hate and always express that hate violently. Maybe they won't be able to "justify" their violence, with some (threatened) Florida book burn or (humorous) cartoon, but how in the hell is a threat of burning a book or lampooning their prophet justification for riot and murder? Appeasement sure hasn't worked and it will never work. There is only one way I know of to stop a bully. Sheer force and numbers. If peaceful Islam won't or can't police the dangerous crazy element in their ranks, somebody besides them needs to. Even if they're just boys. And I didn't say anything about them being predestined…only manipulated.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I don't now about the sheer force and numbers, in the general case. I always did a good fairly good job of stopping bullies by humiliating them. Of course, that is a tough one pull off when it comes to terrorists.

            I agree that theirs no justification to such responses, but again, that get's back to ideals. There's no justification for cancer; yet it exists. As a practical matter, we try to treat it, often with means that interfere as well with distant and otherwise normal body parts and processes. Evil spirits are like disease: they are as contagious viruses among us; they are as the concerous tumors of mankind. Yes, it's great to excise them by sheer force, but not always is that the best approach to treatment.

            Now, manipulation is definitely helped by certain tools, and propaganda (which is in essence the same thing as marketing) is always more effective if there are outside sources (e.g. major media outlets) to point to and say that this supports their claims.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            *concerous –> cancerous

          • Tim

            Hi Matthew

            In my thinking humiliation would be the Qur'ran burning and cartoons belittling Mohammad. Understand, as a Christian, I would never burn another person's holy book, even if I do believe the contents to be malevolent deception. Nor would I ever debase their symbols, prophets, flags, etc. In an attempt to enrage or provoke them to violence…not that I believe they need provocation.

            I like your analogy of violent Islamists compared to cancer insofar that cancer treatments take a collateral toll on organs that aren't involved. Especially since guerilla tactics such as the ones so common to Islamist terror intentionally target the uninvolved, innocent, women, children, etc precisely because they invoke terror. So IMO, cancer ain't got nothing on terrorists.

            Look, I wish Islamism would just shrivel up and die. But that's not going happen any sooner than the second coming. I believe eventually all evil will be put to death. Until then pretending it won't touch us as long as we eat hummus and read our Qur'an, is just as ludicrous as pretending cancer won't touch us if we eat healthy and don't smoke.

            I could tell you were ticked at my earlier reply, so I do appreciate your civil demeanor throughout any disagreements. Your political mettle is obviusoly tempered by the refiner's fire. Kudos, Matthew.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            And that's how it works: first by threatening and then relying on the use of violence, the religion of peace is intolerant of accepting fundamental Enlightenment values like criticizing the qu'ran.

            On the one hand, those who criticize the lack of sensitivity of building Park 51 into an islamic showcase are marginalized as crazy intolerant hate-mongering bigots, but those who criticize the lack of sensitivity of burning qu'rans are touted as mainstream, sensible, tolerant pluralists. In each case, accommodation is first granted to the sensitivities of islamists underlined by the notion that if it is not properly provided then violence will be done and we should blame whoever stands against islam's encroachment into our secular society for bringing it about, for causing violence by others, for supporting anything that might in some way be perceived as thwarting the the peaceful nature of the religion and causing a violent reaction. This appeasement is very dangerous.

            MT, the people responsible for these deaths are islamists. They are wholly to blame. Stop accommodating and excusing and supporting and enabling through tacit agreement those who wish to take away your rights in the name of obeying and submitting to god, and who will tolerate and even JUSTIFY violence to achieve their ends. These islamists are NOT some fringe and radical group – a few bad apples, a tiny fraction or small percentage of radicalized muslims. That's a lie. That's an untruth. That is wrong. That is inaccurate. Those who agree that killing in the name of defending their religion are at least a third – ONE THIRD – of all muslims. To these adherents, KILLING in the name of DEFENDING their faith is fully justified.

            Give that statement a moment to sink in because I'm not making it up nor crying wolf. These stats are an accurate reflection TODAY. Before you deny them outright and assume that the stats MUST be wrong, assume that they are true (and they are)… NOW let it REALLY sink in. Think about what it REALLY means… to you and your family, to your neighbours, to your friends and relatives who might cause offense to the beliefs of someone who is an adherent of islam.

            I know people simply don't want to recognize this brutal fact. Most cannot comprehend how such a large percentage of western-raised well educated affluent muslims could possibly support such violence. After all, the muslims we know and work with are a great bunch of people who are kind and generous and compassionate. Surely, we think, there must be some OTHER reason than simply perceived insult against the religion might bring about what appears to be such a radical change for a significant portion of these folk. And yet… these stats are still the FACTS. Over 30% of muslims AGREE that killing in the name of defending islam is acceptable.

            The sooner we face these facts, the sooner we can directly support the majority of adherents who do NOT support violence in the name of their religious beliefs. But we cut their legs out from under them when we continue to tolerate accommodating muslims who are violently sensitive. We must stop doing this. We need to have a very consistent message that killing in the name of a religion's defense is reprehensible, unconscionable, unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. We must stop criticizaing those who criticize the incursion of islam into the public domain and show that a willingness to turn to violence in the name of religion will not be tolerated no matter the excuse or provocation people like you wish to mitigate the occurrence and take on some portion of blame for the intentional violence of others. We need to blame those responsible for these actions… but it's high time we blamed the very religious ideology that justifies it. The message must be unambiguous: violence in the name of religion Is. Not. Acceptable. Not ever. Not once. No matter what the insult. No matter what any book may say.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            First, though I agree to a substantial degree with your ultimate conclusions, I don't care much for your attitude. Why the hell would you think I'd deny what is statistically accurate?

            Whom other than Islamic extremists have I blamed? Towards whom else have I shown not ever even a single drop of love?

            (Yet do not confuse predictable causation with moral culpability. I wish to avoid an effect, so avoid undertaking its cause, though it would be no sin if I did it. Of course, moral responsibility does lie somewhere along the chain of causation: I like to define that at the point where someone actually decides to materially harm another, or where the wind gets involved, whichever is nearest the effect at the end of the chain.)

            "On the one hand, those who criticize the lack of sensitivity of building Park 51 into an islamic showcase are marginalized as crazy intolerant hate-mongering bigots, but those who criticize the lack of sensitivity of burning qu’rans are touted as mainstream, sensible, tolerant pluralists."

            By whom exactly?

            "That’s a lie. That’s an untruth. That is wrong. That is inaccurate." That's not what MT said. Ever.

            By the way, I wonder what portion of typical American Evangelicals would agree that killing in defense of Christ would be justified.

  • Frank Kenner

    Why do I think that if an Imam were going to burn a stack of Bibles you would be attacking those who complained and telling us that him burning those Bibles is what makes this country great?


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