I love my country. I grew up in a suburb of Boston, about 20 minutes from Plymouth, Mass. You’ve heard of Plymouth. It’s the place where the boat the Mayflower hit upon a rock and where its passengers, escaping religious persecution, would make their home. I visited Plymouth more than I wanted to as a child on field trips. I have more pieces of that rock in glass than any souvenir owner should have. I learned the story of the Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first Thanksgiving. But mostly, I learned that some people would risk death for their religious freedom. That, my friend, is what America was founded on and what it stands for today.
That is what separates us from the rest of the pack. Our Constitution, specifically our First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof … you know the rest.
When I heard that Pastor Terry Jones wanted to burn the Koran, I was appalled. I wasn’t surprised. It’s one of the reasons I am no longer a Christian. As Ghandi said: “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I come from a Jewish parent and a Christian parent and married into a Muslim family. I have read the Torah, the Bible, and the Koran cover to cover. I invite Mr. Jones to. I invite all of you to.
You can’t call yourself a Christian and persecute another. For those of you reading this who plan to “join” Mr. Jones and his hateful, prejudicial, non-Christian efforts, remember that.
As the Bible is the word of God for Christians, the Koran is the word of God revealed to the Prophet to Muslims. Wouldn’t most Christians be offended, insulted, and feel hated if anyone were to defile the Bible? Or Jews if someone were to defile the Torah? To spit on it, to shred it, to burn it!?! The answer is simple; the answer is yes.
Let me remind you (and Pastor Jones) of a few of the Bible’s verses. If you call yourself a Christian, you must not only believe these words, but obey them, as they are the word of God. Here are a few verses for those of you that view all Muslims as terrorists (they are not) and blame them for 9/11, who hate (yes, I said hate) them and their beliefs:
- John 8:7 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”;
- Romans 12:19 “‘Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay’, saith the Lord”;
- Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged”;
- Luke 6:27-36 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
And how about religious tolerance? In the Bible, the book of Micah speaks about world religions at peace with one another, when various peoples of the world will live in peace and pursue their different religions, each worshipping their different Gods.
The Koran speaks of religious tolerance also: “There is no compulsion in religion.”
It’s ironic that 1,400 years ago the world was living in darkness, bigotry, and religious intolerance. It’s 2010 and sad that we haven’t evolved and learned from our history, or from the mistakes we made.
The bottom line is, no one should burn anyone’s holy book in America. The First Amendment gives every person the right to their religion, as it also gives each of us the right to believe or disbelieve that religion for ourselves.
A man once said, “I don’t have to appear on television … I just have to commit one act and the Americans will destroy themselves …” That man was Osama bin Laden.
If you join Pastor Jones, you are helping to fulfill a terrorist’s destiny, and, by burning the Koran, you’re acting like terrorists yourselves. If you read the Bible and the words of Jesus, who you claim to be your savior, you have to put your matches out.