September 7, 2010
How can anyone think that an act of hate and religious fanaticism-the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001--can somehow be redeemed by an act of intolerance and religious stupidity?
I have been trying to decide whether Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove Center in Gainesville, who is planning to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, has any idea of how much harm and persecution his action will bring upon Christians living around the world--and specifically those living in countries with a majority Muslim population. I have traveled extensively in the Middle East, and I am quite familiar with the precarious situation of Christians in that area.
I can only appeal to him to desist from an action that will hurt his Christian brothers and sisters around the world; they are the ones who will suffer the consequences of his fanatical act.
As an American, I also appeal to his patriotism and concern for our U.S.
troops. General David Petraeus, our commander in Afghanistan, has warned
that this planned act of disrespect and destruction of the Muslim scriptures
will both endanger our troops already in perilous situations and harm our
relationship with those Muslim countries that are our sincere allies.
Every page of the Quran that burns will recruit to the ranks of Islamic
extremists hundreds of irate Muslims, who will see in this action a
confirmation of claims by Al Qaeda and the Taliban that Americans are
engaged in our own jihad against the followers of Islam.
What would Jesus do? I am quite sure that burning the holy scriptures of
another faith would never be his choice. Our Lord said from the cross where
he died, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing."
I would remind Pastor Jones that our Lord forgives what we find it
impossible to forgive and challenges us to move beyond fear, suspicion and
hatred to "love one another."
I want to assure the followers of Islam here and around the world that the
planned actions of the Dove Center do not represent the true values and
beliefs of the followers of Jesus Christ, who tells us that the greatest
commandment is love.
The Rt. Rev. Leo Frade
Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida
Comments: It is good to see that some of our bishops are speaking to the events of our time. But +Leo has always been one to look after his people. From the Marial boat lift until now, he has spoken words and lived out a compassionate presence of Christ that all can look to. This kind of leadership is what the role of bishop demands. He is now one of the most senior of the HOB.
While bishop of Honduras he was tireless in his fundraising and raising of conscience to the plight of the poorest nation in Central America. Now as the leader in Miami's polyglot world, he continues to call Christians to pay attention to the gospel, not the anger or vengence that many would fall prey to following 9/11.