Saying No to Burning the Koran: Follow-up

August 30, 2010

Islam, Religious dialogue

by Charles Redfern

Some Christians are speaking out against the Dove World Outreach Center’s plan to burn the Qur’an this upcoming September 11 — but, as Jennifer S. Bryson indicates, we need more than tut-tut position statements.  We need a counter-movement: a movement that lifts up the One defines himself as “love,” a movement that declares, in no uncertain terms, that Christians love Muslims despite their important disagreements.  We need a “Christians Love Muslims Month.”  I called for that last week.  I call for it again.

Kudos to John Rankin, who argues against this outrage in a series of blogs.  He has also offered to debate the Center’s pastor, Terry Jones.  Notice that the city of Gainesville refused Dove a burning permit; its insurance company cancelled its policy; and the bank has called in the mortgage.  Typically, Jones has become more adamant.  He and his followers are positioning themselves as martyrs.

Kudos also fly toward Skye Jethani, an evangelical pastor who offers a wiser response to the proposed Islamic Center near New York’s Ground Zero.

Rankin and Jethani are doing their job.  Let’s do ours.  Let’s go viral with a movement proclaiming Christ’s love for Muslims.  Send this link to anyone and everyone:

Let’s end the hate monger’s monopoly over Christian speech.  Let’s take the initiative.   If not now, then when?

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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4 Comments on “Saying No to Burning the Koran: Follow-up”

  1. LiaMac Says:

    I applaud your position but I question the efficacy of “Christians Love Muslims Month” – it sounds a bit gimmicky and shallow. As a non-American Christian living in the US, I’m deeply concerned by the confusion of nationalism (also known as Patriotism) with expressions of Christian faith in this country. This culture of “God Bless America” runs deep, spilling over in a variety of ways – some relatively harmless (e.g. bumper stickers), some downright offensive (the religious right) and some dangerous (burning the Qur-an). It will take more than a “Christians Love Muslims Month” to drive out the arrogance and pride that underpin this culture.


    • chuckredfern Says:

      Dear LiaMac:

      As you can see by many of my entries, I too am deeply concerned by the confusion of nationalism with expressions of the Christian faith in this country. A “Christians Love Muslims Month” is only meant to be a beginning, a launching pad upon which Christians can proclaim their love for Muslims. I agree it would be shallow if it merely ended with that one month. However, it would be a useful means — a practical tool — by which we could begin to counter much of the shrill speech out there now.

      I’m open to alternatives.


  2. LiaMac Says:

    I completely “get” that you’re deeply concerned with these issues – that’s why I read your blog 🙂 The bigger issue, as I see it (and my vision is far from 20/20), is systemic and deeply rooted in how Americans view themselves vis-a-vis the rest of the world and which colors the way Christianity is understood and expressed in this country. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a big issue – recent happenings related to the mosque in NYC and the burning of the Qur’an are mere symptoms. And, while Christians like you and me must make it known that we don’t support initiatives born of hatred and triumphalism (and perhaps your idea of a month-long outreach is a way to make this known), there’s a far greater need for Americans who claim to love God and serve Jesus to distinguish themselves from the prevailing culture by relentlessly doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God.
    I guess I’m also a wee bit concerned by the idea of a “month” given the possible association by Muslims with their month of Ramadan – potentially not a good thing.
    Above all, keep the dialogue happening – I’m so encouraged by your writings and your willingness to work toward a cultural shift.


  3. chuckredfern Says:

    Thanks for helping me to think through this. And, of course, you’re completely right about the real issue is systemic. If the proposed “month” distracts from that, we can drop it. I hadn’t thought about the association with Ramadan. Good point.


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