Burning issue: archbishop calls for arrest of U.S. pastor over Quran burning

Burning issue: archbishop calls for arrest of U.S. pastor over Quran burning April 5, 2011

The violent reaction to the incident has prompted a response from a Catholic leader in Pakistan.

Details, from Catholic News Service:

The president of the Pakistani bishops’ conference has called for the arrest of a U.S. Protestant pastor whose decision to burn the Islamic sacred book has caused fury in the Muslim world and the deaths of more than 20 people.

Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, conference president, said the U.S. government should seek to diffuse mounting tensions by detaining the Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center Church in Gainesville, Fla., who oversaw the burning of the Quran by the Rev. Wayne Sapp, his assistant.

“The U.S. government should detain the pastor for some time,” Archbishop Saldanha told the British branch of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity for persecuted Christians around the world.

“In view of the effects his actions have had all over the world, he should be controlled and understand the harm that has been done,” he said in an April 4 telephone interview.

“The U.S. government talks about religious freedom — but we call upon the U.S. government to prevent such actions by extremists and other fundamentalist Christians,” the archbishop said.

He added that although there had been no reports of attacks on Pakistani Christians by Muslims outraged by the Quran burning, he said he feared that the situation “could become ugly.”

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17 responses to “Burning issue: archbishop calls for arrest of U.S. pastor over Quran burning”

  1. CNS wrote: “the U.S. government should seek to diffuse mounting tensions” the correct word should be “defuse” not “diffuse”. Though hopefully the tensions would become more diffuse once they are defused. 🙂

  2. One cannot fix one wrong (burning the Koran) with another wrong (arresting the Protestant minister who did this).

    This whole mess is problematic on so many levels.

  3. What would arresting that idiot accomplish—and on what what charge(s) would he be arrested on? Burning a book? If he had burned a Bible, it is still a book. Did he do a totally unwise and arrogant thing? Yes. Should he have done it? IMO, no. I think he is partly responsible for the riots and deaths, because of his actions. The other’s responsible were the fanatics that stirred the folks into their riots.

  4. It is interesting that this Bishop calls for arresting someone who has broken no law – except sharia law.

    Islam is inimical to Christianity and denies the central tenets of Christianity. If one believes in Christianity, then Islam is a false religion.

    On top of that, Islam requires fighting to institute Islamic rule throughout the world. The tactics of this fighting depending on how numerically and culturally strong the muslims are within any given community. Islam is a religion of force and violence, not love and persuasion.

    So what is wrong with making a statement to that effect by burning a Koran? One is not destroying knowledge as this is not about burning all Korans.

  5. What’s wrong Alan is that if we are to adhere to the tenets of our Christian faith then we will love our enemies and pray for them – as Christ asked us to.

  6. On a side note, US troops were ordered to burn their Bibles in Afghanistan lest they offend Muslims. Where were the calls to arrest the US Army leadership by the Pakistani Bishops?

    Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan

    “On May 5, Army spokeswoman Major Jennifer Willis told Reuters that at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan “the Bibles shown on Al Jazeera’s clip were, in fact, collected by the chaplains and later destroyed. They were never distributed.””


  7. @Annie – I agree, we must pray for them. Who says he doesn’t?

    Why is burning a Koran not loving them? It might not be the most prudential approach but if someone you love is going astray, should you not tell them?

    Clearly we should not force our religion on them like they want to do to us but should we allow them to force the religion on us in order to love them?

  8. Dr. Peters,

    We have no way of knowing whether or not the Archbishop was compelled, in any way, to make this statement. Living in Pakistan, however, it is not unreasonable to question what was behind his statement.

    Interestingly (and totally unrelated) is that he was ordained a Bishop on Sept. 11, 2001 according to the Catholic-hierarchy website.

  9. Where was the furor and the total media condemnation of artists that trash, insult, degrade, or destroy Christian holy things???
    Where were they all when Christ was dipped in urine, for example.?
    As I recall, not only were they attacking anyone who complained, but they were demanding an artist’s right to use our tax money for such “art” to continue. And–Oh those lectures about the First Amendment.
    The minister should have called what he was doing “theater art ” since so many gross things get federal funding under that heading.
    The minister shouldn’t have done what he did, especially because of the threatened repercusions. On the other hand should our American rights be held hostage to how some crazed terrorist might react?????
    In fact, I have read repeatedly, constantly in the media the minister being called a “nut,” “nutcake,” and “lunatic.” But in many a media story there has been no comparative description of people who will go on a beheading frenzy on innocent people because another person burned some paper a world away.

  10. My thoughts exactly, Dan S. Growing up, we discounted the statements of certain folks coming out of Communist-bloc nations because of doubts about their degree of freedom to speak honestly. How can we not do that in regard to Catholics living under Muslim rule? I would not bother to analyse this prelate’s words for a number of obvious reasons. But mostly, I would just ignore them, and pray for him and others in his circumstances.

  11. @Alan – I’m not suggesting that Muslims be allowed to force religion on anyone – and even though I bring up the ‘love your enemy’ I think it’s quite the stretch to suggest that by loving an enemy one somehow submits to their beliefs?

    As the old saying goes – you catch more flies with honey than vinegar – perhaps Mr Jones would gain more traction in converting those of the Islamic persuasion if he were a more loving example of what the joy of being Christian means?

    I grew up in Northern Ireland – an area blighted by over 30 years of terrible violence over religious and political differences – each side Catholic and Protestant, ignoring their core Christian similarities and pursuing murder in the name of one side’s cause or the other – insane, pointless waste of life – for what? Despite over a decade of relative peace in the area – the killing continues with a 25 year old Catholic Police Officer blown up in his own car on his way to work this weekend — why? Because he is a Catholic working for what is deemed by the extremists who killed him as a Protestant establishment [the police force]. Are those murderers loving this police officer and his family by showing them the error of their ways?

    Perhaps having grown up in this environment makes me more sensitive to the bigotry carried out in the name of religion I don’t know – but I’m having a real hard time seeing Terry Jones actions and those of his assistant pastor as being rooted in love.

  12. I’ve been wondering. The Afghans are a bunch of illiterate tribesmen. How did this mob even know about the attempted burning?

  13. I spent 10 years working on an exchange program with Russian Police officers. They could never understand the bredth of our first amendment and that someone could preach hate without criminal or civil sanction. The only defense we really have is to expose to the world that “Rev.” Jones in n way representsanyone but about 50 folowers who are as distrubed as he is. Every Christian body in America neds to speak out against his insane perversion of the teachings of Christ. I don’t know if the USCCB has done so, but if not, they should.

  14. I think that Terry Jones is being very misinterpreted by some of those commenting here. I believe as an American citizen he had every right to burn a stack of paper with printed words called a book, an item which is quickly becoming more irrelevant each passing day with all the electronics such as the kindle. This extreme reverence held for any religious written word is senseless. We all know that all that matters about a book is it’s contents, not it’s very physical presence. It is the thoughts and ideas that matters and once it is known can never be erased by fire or many other physical medium.
    To so harshly condemn a man for something so trivial in our reality as burning a book is to assume the position of the tribal Muslims who are so fanatically attached to an inanimate object , a pile of paper and printer’s ink. The word of any true God can never be destroyed by any man, or any fire.
    Terry Jones was reacting to the actions of the Muslims who are killing innocent Christians and running them out of the country. He wanted to wake people up to the atrocities that were being committed to people of faith that were living in other countries by extremist Muslim terrorists. He also wanted to alarm his fellow countrymen to the threats that these terrorists are making to our own country.
    There is no law in our country that he has broken, regardless of the disastrous domino effect his actions caused among the real crazies. He set off a killing spree among people who think it is right to cut off the heads of innocent people because somebody on the other side of the world has a little bonfire, burning a book…. does anybody realize how many books are burned in this country everyday with no consequences. Check the junkyards, thrift stores and auctions houses… hundreds of thousands of pages of unwanted printed matter, probably hundreds of Korans among them, incinerated daily to make room for other junk.
    Terry Jones is less guilty of this disaster than the media who spread the word of the deed. Without the media, nobody would have known, and nobody would have been killed…at least not for this particular incident.

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