Gainesville Church Plans Book Burning

I called the Dove World Outreach Center this afternoon to find out some details about their upcoming book burning.

The woman who answered the phone seemed tense but polite, wanting to know what organization I was with. I told her that I just wanted to find out a few simple facts about the book burning. First, I wanted to confirm that the church still plans to burn copies of the Qur’an on September 11th, 2010. In a New York Times article from August 25th, the church’s pastor Terry Jones avowed that the book burning would still take place, despite the Gainesville Fire Department denying them a permit. The woman I spoke to confirmed that the book burning will still take place.

I wanted to know where the Qur’ans that were to be burned were coming from. I asked if they belonged to the church. The woman was genuinely confused at this. “No, we’re a church. We don’t have any Qur’ans.” I clarified my question. “They’ve been donated to the church,” she replied, and wouldn’t elaborate. The conversation was getting a bit tense.

I asked her if people should bring their own Qur’ans to the book burning to burn. This again seemed confusing. “No, the event is closed to the public,” she explained. The police advised the church, for “security reasons” to restrict the book burning to only church members. I asked if this means that I couldn’t attend the burning if I was not a church member. She explained that I would be able to see the burning from the side of the road from behind a fence, but that nonmembers could not attend.

I then asked how the books would be burned. Again, a pause; perhaps confusion. I felt like I was about to get hung-up on. “Just wood, I think, is my understanding,” she said. “No gas?” I asked. “I’m not sure,” she replied. “So, you’ll burn them like, bonfire-style? A pyre? No pit?” A longer pause. “I’m not really sure,” she finally said. “And people can witness that from the road, but not up close?” I asked. “Yes.”

So I’ll admit it: I’m a lousy reporter. I didn’t get that much info. I set out to find out some very basic, concrete information about the logistics of a book burning in 2010. Where do you get the materials? How do you burn them? I suppose my efforts and my aim to be objective obscured, at least for a moment, the fact that there are few things as ignorant and idiotic as a book burning. Any group of yokels could undertake such an operation. It really doesn’t need much practical forethought. You just need some wood (and possibly gasoline). And a Facebook page. And a willingness to engage in a special kind of evil. No wonder my questions were met with terse confusion.

I didn’t aim to compete with the NYT article, which does a pretty good job of painting the scene in Gainesville, FL, interviewing Jones, along with local Muslims, people who live near the church, and local Christian leaders. There seems to be unanimous disgust with the book burning. I lived in  Gainesville for four years while I attended the University of Florida. I still live very close to it. Jones and his organization do not represent the values of the people who live in Gainesville or the people of Florida; nor do they represent American values.

The nineteenth-century German poet Heinrich Heine famously said that, “Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people” — and then they did, in twentieth-century Germany. I toyed with the idea of titling this post something like “Ignorant Yokels Plan Book Burning” but that seemed too dismissive, too snarky (even if perhaps true). (Also, Michael Moore has already used the poetic and appropriate title “Fahrenheit 9/11”). I’m not arguing for Jones and his ilk to be mocked (although thinking people will do so). And I wouldn’t demand that outside forces stop the church from performing this evil ritual on their own private property. Rather, I believe we must point to Dove World Outreach Center’s book burning as an example of the worst of human thinking and action, and agree that it exists outside the bounds of our culture and our society. We must recognize that book burning is inherently anti-human.

21 thoughts on “Gainesville Church Plans Book Burning”

  1. I find burning books only makes people want to read them.

    In the end, has anyone looked good burning books? I mean, something always happens like the fire goes out of control and burns down the church or lightning strikes your radio tower. At the very least your neighbors think you’re a douche.

    I wrote a young adult novel about people ignoring works of literature vs. burning them, called “The Attic Notebooks” on Feedbooks (http://www.feedbooks.com/userbook/14726) because every title I read about censorship was preachy and dull when, in fact, the best way to deal with offensive works is to ignore them.

    Perhaps the church should just ignore Islam. We did it for decades and it was only when we took notice that people started hating us in a very real way and thinking our whole nation is a bunch of douche-bags. Richard Powers wrote an interesting bit on this in “Plowing the Dark”, but that’s a far way from burning books, I guess.

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    1. So true….
      A wise man once said ” To destroy a culture you don’t have to burn their books, just make them stop reading them”
      This will cause trouble around the u.s. ; a contraversy has been made…. he’s endagering the lives of all the u.s. soldiers and americans, not all islams where and are terrorist, in fact, like the man in nightline pointed out to the church, “some islams where in the twin towers working there and doing a days work” then he stated ” Do you know the names of some of the people that died in 911″ what was the idiots response, “nothing he didn’t say a shit” Why even ask for a conference if you don’t know what your talking about, like i stated before, “you fat ass faggot, your riskin the u.s. soldiers lives and ours to” Fu and good day

      :) HAVE A REPLY, E-MAIL ME AT LEGOROCK7y7@HOTMAIL.COM

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  2. a commie buddy of mine recently pointed out that in order for Marx’s vision of revolution to come into being, the people need to be educated about their predicament in order to realize their place, get angry, and throw off their chains. We all know this, right?

    With all the news recently; the taxi slashing, the book burning, the death threats, I think we’re seeing the flip side of what Marx viewed as a prerequisite to true freedom. When people are taught that thought is incorrect and that we should react to difference with fear and hate, a violent irrational nationalism is birthed.

    I have no doubt that the members of this church support drone missile strikes, Guantanamo Bay, the end of Social Security, killing unemployment benefits, etc. So many people refuse to empathize with the hardships that other people have to endure.

    When we learn to hate other people because of so-called fundamental differences, it’s only a matter of time when so-called minor differences become fundamental. I really am scared for the future of our country.

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  3. As a real American veteran and a Christian, I cannot be against the burning of any teachings that blaspheme Jesus. The only true God of America who is soley responsible for making us the greatest nation in the history of the world. We dishonor Jesus when we compromise our foundations. Someone once said that for evil to abound it only takes good men to do nothing.
    The unholy book commands people to kill Jews and Christians, to boil their inwards and to chop off their heads. We act like these words are not written in this book. Have you read these thing for yourself? They are determined to convert you by force, or kill you. I have read these words chapter and verse and it made me want to burn it.
    My son recently brought home a social studies paper from his 6th grade class that was teaching him that the muslim religion was of peace and that they served a unique and personal god allah. I was furious and contacted everyone I could to stop that from being taught in our public schools.
    This nation was founded on Judea-Christian principles and had our forefathers known that we were going to be a society of such yellow bellied compromisers they would have written the words “In Jesus We Trust” on our money, to remove every argument as to who we should be trusting in.
    These people planning to burn these books are fed up, just as I am with our compromising backsliden society. We have a President that thinks it is his duty to unite America with islam. He said that word for word the day of the cowardly killings of unarmed men at Fort Hood. We can’t call him a terorist because that is not politically correct, even though he was speaking in arabic praising allah as he killed good American men and women just because they were Christians. I wonder what book he was reading that morning before the killings, not to mention 911 terrorist, wonder what book they could quote passages from?
    The tolerance for this religion to have any foundation and abound in America is obserd. When we begin to compromise our liberties for our securities we shall soon have neither.
    Burning that book is a what I call a good start. We ought to be thankful to God our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ and appreciate what he has done for us. We are not worthy of the least of his mercies. We must not deny him or he will deny us, and by us doing nothing we are denying him. Stand up, or stand aside.
    II Chronicles 7:14 from the Holy Bible
    “If my people which are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” Remember our God is a jealous God and he loves us and commands us to repent and be healed individually and as a nation.

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    1. “This nation was founded on Judea-Christian principles”

      That statement alone is so incorrect it’s laughable. Many of the founding fathers were Deists and one only has to do basic research on Thomas Jefferson to realize just how foolish the Christian Nation Myth truly is.

      What does it mean to be a “real American” anyway? Freedom of religion is, you know, in the Constitution (Bill of Rights, Amendment I). There isn’t a single mention of “God” either.

      Todd, here is some reference material for you: http://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm

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      1. Todd’s vitriolic comment is so inept, logically clumsy, and full of misinformation that I won’t bother to take the time to respond to it (Uatu has done a fine job knocking out one of its major false premises). I suggest reading it as a form of satire on the confused xenophobes who troll posts like this (I fear, however that it’s not; more likely Todd is one of those American Talibani who would gladly overthrow our constitutional government and replace it with a theocracy if he could).
        However, I’d hate for people to read his take on the Koran and think that he had any idea what he’s talking about–clearly Todd has never spoken with an imam or even a Muslim about these matters (although he’d have to look out–clearly they want to “boil [his] inwards” [sic]). Does Todd know, for instance, that the Koran teaches that Jesus was born to Mary who was a virgin? That he’s considered a prophet in Islamic teachings?
        People should avoid getting all of their information from sources that simply confirm their own prejudices.

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    2. @Todd: may I suggest that you read your constitution on which your backslidden(sic) country is founded. Your nation was NOT founded on ‘Judea-Christian principles’ – it was founded on a very clear separation of State and Church. When the Founders wrote the nation’s Constitution, they specified that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article 6, section 3). They wanted to ensure that no single religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion. The words “Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God” are never mentioned in the Constitution– not once.

      Someone may once said that for evil to abound it only takes good men to do nothing, but someone else also said: “Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it, you’d have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion” btw that was Richard Dawkins

      POSTSCRIPT: DAMN i was so enraged by Todd that I did not scroll down and see the post had already been replied to – so apologies for being late ;)

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  4. Well said, Todd. I couldn’t agree with you more. How is it that in Saudi Arabia where Islam was founded and is now the state religion they do not allow even ONE Christian Church, not ONE Holy Bible to be had in public, not ONE Jewish person is allowed to set foot on their soil. Yet Muslims ( almost all were Saudi Arabians) attacked us on 911 and then they turn around and want to build a Mosque at ground zero. The biased US media, the ACLU, and the vote hungry American politicians never say one word against their hypocritical stand in Arabia about not allowing any form of Christianity in their country. In Saudi Arabia they behead anyone who turns from Islam to Christianity. Yet here in America, when Christians stand up for Jesus, the media goes ballistic and portrays them as being fanatical and wrong, when they want to burn the Koran, a book that tells it’s followers to behead the infidels, (anyone who isn’t a Muslim) ! By the way book burning is scriptural ( Acts 19:19) and just because the devil deluded NAZI party burned books in Germany (they burned anything that was Jewish or anti NAZI) doesn’t take away from the righteous actions of the early Christians in burning books that were anathema to the God of the Holy Bible. The God of the Holy Bible ( Jehovah Jesus) and the god of Islam (Allah) are definitely not the same God.Just read the two books and even a child could see the difference between the two.
    America was founded and established by men and women that believed in the Holy Bible and the God of The Holy Bible, not the god of the Koran or any other god. This is a historical fact that cannot be denied, though many are trying their best today to deny this fact and distort the truth. If Christians in America today do not stand up and take a stand NOW against the onslaught of Antichrist Islam, that is trying to take over America and the world too, soon there won’t be an America or a biased media to report it’s downfall. Either the God of The Holy Bible said what He meant, “You shall have no other gods before me” – Exodus 20:3 / Matthew 4:10, or it is all a hoax.Yet Jewish, American and world history bears witness to the truth of the former and not the latter.
    I do not believe all Muslims are evil people, and as a Christian, I do not advocate going around bashing Muslims, even though I know that they are deluded by the devil and need TRUE SALVATION. Therefore as a Christian I pray for them to find the joy and peace of TRUE SALVATION like I have found,through The Son of God, JESUS CHRIST, before they martyr me and all of my brothers and sisters in the name of Allah. If they succeed in killing every Jew (as their Koran states must happen ) and either convert or execute every unbeliever (as their Koran states must happen), then who is going to lead them to the TRUTH (John 14:6).
    In closing it reminds me of a story I once heard of a Russian communist who said to his fellow countryman during the cold war.
    ” Comrade we shall soon take over the world and America too.”, whereupon his cohort
    answered, ” Then comrade, who is going to feed us ? ” It was common knowledge during the cold war that America was the breadbasket of the world and Russia and China’s five year agricultural programs were a total disaster. May God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who blessed America in the past, now save America, Jews, Muslims and the whole world too from the tyranny of the devil and restore us all fully to the Kingdom of his dear Son.

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    1. Hey, William, guess what pal — America isn’t Saudi Arabia! I know Newt Gingrich’s argument *seems* powerful, but there’s no real logic to it. Why should America–a democratic republic–follow the standards of a kingdom? I implore you to look at our Constitution instead of inciting some idiotic Holy War rhetoric—or, better yet, just leave America if you don’t love it.

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  5. Uatu,
    You say that America wasn’t founded on Judeo-Christian principles and that God isn”t mentioned in the US Constitution and that most of the founding fathers of America were deists ? That believing America was founded upon Judeo-Christian priciiples is laughable ? Well I don’t know where you are getting your information from or what constitution you are reading ? Consider this, that upon signing the US Constitution the founding fathers wrote (it’s on the original Constitution) ” …in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven … ” . Now I wonder who they were calling their Lord (they used the word ” our “) Since that date fits perfectly with the birth of Jersus Christ , I can’t imagine it being any other God but Him. Also in The Declaration Of Independance they wrote ” … that all men are created … ” ,( not evolved)
    and that ” … that they are endowed by their Creator…” ( upper case used in spelling is theirs and shows they believd in a Creator. Also quoting The Declaration Of Indepedence ” And for support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, …” Well I assume the English word divine meant the same thing then as it does now (according to the dictionary it means ” terms referring to the Judeo-Christian God “. And the word ” Providence ” ( upper case spelling theirs)
    also meant the same then as it does now – ( according to the dictionary it means ” God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny ” ) Now if they, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence “, that is relying on God to intervene in their affairs and protect them, how under anyones definition could they be labled ” deists” . Quoting Thomas Jefferson, whom you say was a deist, ” And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis , a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God ? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath ? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; and that His justice cannot sleep forever “. Need I remind you that Thomas Jefferson was a signer and the principal author of the Declaration Of Independence. That he attended church in the US capital building for many years. That George Washington attended a Chistian church regularly and was an elder in the church in Virginia. Most assuredly you know he is recognized as the father of our country. That when the founding fathers couldn’t come to an agreement on the constitution, Benjamin Franklin suggested prayer, and when they had prayed for two hours (to the God of The Holy Bible of course) they were able to come to an agreement and confirm the US Constitution. I could go on, but need I say more ? Uatu remember that those who forget history are bound to repeat it and this is a very grave time in our country. We cannot afford to make the wrong decisions now, but if we were to follow in the footsteps of our founding fathers we would most assuredly place a firm reliance in divine Providence.
    I would also like to add that since you know the Koran, you would also know that it calls Jesus a prohet, but not the Son of God. In fact the Koran says that God has no Son, and that Jesus didn’t die on the cross and suffer for our sins. The Holy Bible says that if anyone teaches thiat kind of doctrine he is “antichrist”. 1 John 3:22-23 . Uatu please accept the fact that God Himself came to earth as a man, lived a sinless life, was crucified for our sins, was buried three days and rose Himself up again ( John 2:19), ascended into heaven and poured out the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1- 39 ) That there is no salvation in any other name and that NAME is JESUS of Nazareth ( Acts 4:12). If you call on his Name from an believing, honest heart He will hear you and save you and His blood will wash away your sins (Romans 10:9-10).

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    1. William,

      You bring up that the framers of the Constitution cite the conventional AD/Anno Domini dating device–this was pretty standard after like the sixth century for any educated person. The fact that TJ chose the verb “created” does not equal a constitutional argument against evolution (although that argument literally made me laugh out loud–thanks! I’d never heard it before! Spectacular in its silliness).

      The fact that George Washington used a church to exert influence in his community is not conclusive proof that he was a Christian. There’s overwhelming evidence that TJ was a Deist–he certainly didn’t believe in the supernatural mumbo jumbo that you cling to (I suggest searching for a copy of his famous edit of the bible, easily available online). Franklin was famous for his pragmatism, and I think his call to prayer is simply that–a call to calm down.

      But you know what?

      None of that matters.

      You want to bring up the Constitution and pretend like you know what these men *intended* when we already have their plain language. We have a tradition of laws in this country that come directly from the First Amendment, which clearly decrees that Congress shall make no law “respecting an establishment of religion.”

      So it doesn’t actually matter if GW went to his church or not. It has nothing to do with the laws of this country–particularly what many of us would consider THE law of this country.

      Finally, both of your comments essentially evade the content of the post, so the next time you come back, I expect you to be direct–

      Do you think it’s okay to burn books? Do you support burning books? Are you for burning books? Are you “pro-” burning books?

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  6. William,

    Simply repeating Bible verses won’t win any argument but can certainly end one. Even a student of recent history would know that burning a book considered holy by a large population would put all “real Americans” at risk and invite bloody retribution.

    Perhaps that is your goal after all. People of your ilk welcome the idea of a Holy War or a final showdown with Islam. After all your kind has been at war forever. I can only wonder how Constantinople is doing…

    Though I swore an oath of non-interference, I regret that I have fed a troll such as yourself.

    “I may only watch, for I am the Watcher…”

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  7. Mr. Biblioklept,
    I don’t know anything about Newt Gingrich’s argument, but if you would read my comments to Uatu you would see I know something about our US Constitution. You must have totally missed the meaning of my comments about Saudi Arabia, because I wasn’t calling for the US to be like them, but only showing the total hypocrisy of them in not allowing any other religion in their country, while they come over to America and set up their religion all the day long. As far as your comments about holy war rhetoric, coming from me,it was they, the Muslim’s that declared war on us, remember 911 ? We are only defending our country, which we love dearly, while it seems that people of your opinion are trying your best to redefine our country and leave out The Christian God. Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth ? Please remember that no one, check history, has EVER pitted themselves against the God of the Christians and prospered in the end. They may appear to do so for awhile, but eventually they must face the fact, that He is the True One, either in this life or the one to come. The stakes are too high to make a mistake like that. Please consider what I say.

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    1. I don’t think you’ve demonstrated any knowledge about the Constitution.

      And, no “they, the Muslim’s” [sic] didn’t declare war on us on 9.11.01. The actions of those 19 terrorists, as well as the network that supported them, was not and is not indicative of the wishes and actions of the other approximately 1 billion Muslims in the world.

      Quit pretending that you own America and that your self-righteous attitudes define America, or that there’s some great Christian tradition in America that’s in peril. There are plenty of churches here and no one is infringing *your* right to worship.

      Quit pretending that you’re being persecuted. You’re not. You’re the persecutor here.

      Finally, again–

      Please comment on the actual post: Clarify: Do you think it’s okay to burn books? Do you support burning books? Are you for burning books? Are you “pro-” burning books?

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  8. Americans have the freedom to be muslim, christian, jewish, buddhist or atheists. With that right comes a responsibility. In a pluralistic society, one must have a basic respect for the other’s belief system. Burning the holy book of another’s religion is a cheap grab for attention. Obviously this church has nothing good to offer.

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  9. William –
    So, since Judaism does not acknowledge Jesus as the son of God, do Jews fall under the antichrist definition too?

    Have you really read the Koran, starting from the beginning, without any prejudices? If so, you may have noticed that it sounds a lot like the Old Testament…like story to story. You know that Muhammed was a descendant of Abraham, right? Even I remember the “Father Abraham had many sons” song. All that violence in the Old Testament? Yeah, it’s pretty similar to all the violence in the Koran. Interpretation of the big books have always been a problem for the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians, and heck, even when it comes to the Constitution (obviously). Not all Muslims believe in the global conquest interpretation of jihad, and I’m sure not all Judeo-Christians agree with killing the children and wives of your enemies, as commanded in the Bible.

    Look, I’m not going to defend Islam, because I believe religion – all religions – are partly to blame for the past (the Crusades..Spanish Inquisition, what?) and present war and destruction. Islam AND Judeo-Christianity have major problems with sexism, hatred, ignorance and intolerance (your comments only work to justify this, so thanks!). Yet I do not believe that we, as humans, Americans, as people trying to coexist on this planet, can make any progress for a peaceful world when such a disrespectful act of burning a sacred book is condoned. All this does is stoke the fire. And didn’t your Jesus teach you to love your enemy? Didn’t he preach for peace?

    I really just don’t get all this hypocrisy. That being said, I’m anti-book burning!
    Had to do it: “Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.”
    —Heinrich Heine

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  10. I don’t believe in burning books unless you’re in a very cold place, need to keep warm, and cannot obtain kindling.

    I don’t know that religion itself is responsible for so many troubles, but that so many people have lost sight of what it means to follow the examples set by the teachers they worship.

    “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.'” Matthew 22:36-40.

    If everyone just followed these rules, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

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  11. And, just cause we’re arguing about it, here’s the text of the First Amendment.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    Seems clear to me that even if the founding fathers were militant Christians, their intent was to allow everyone to worship in their own fashion, regardless of to whom they addressed their prayers.

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