Terry Jones, the pastor that prides himself for burning a Koran, deserves to be prosecuted for conspiracy in the manslaughter of innocent Muslims in Afghanistan. After his first stifled attempt, it must have been undoubtedly clear to this extremist Christian pastor that his premeditated actions would lead to killings.
Jones’s action exposes an underlying question that has been evaded for too long. How does civilization allow religion to be embedded into its social fabric? The issue to be addressed is where religious freedom ends and where criminal activity begins. It seems obvious that burning a Koran by a Christian pastor?ordinary people are a different matter altogether?with the prospect that it would cause massacres on the other side of the globe is indeed a criminal act that cannot fall under the protection of religious freedom. Nowhere in the Old or the New Testament are such actions encouraged for other religions. Hence, the action itself cannot be protected as religious. Just because he is a Christian functionary, it cannot provide Jones with some sort of a blank check for premeditated activities that cause violence.
Jones had initiated a mock trial on March 20 with a Christian prosecutor, a Muslim defender, and twelve Christian Jurors, who found the Koran guilty of five “crimes against humanity," including the promotion of terrorist acts and “the death, rape and torture of people worldwide whose only crime is not being of the Islamic faith." (NYTimes, 1.4.11) While the verdict has its limited merits, it could be reread with only the word “Islamic" replaced with “Christian" to be no less true. Christianity has cost humanity indefinite lives through its 2,000 years of history. It continues to promote terrorist acts today, in Ireland, for example, and evidently by Jones’s church in America. The various Inquisitions are just some of the reminders of raping and torturing people whose only crime is not being of the Christian faith. Can a religion claim the high road just because its evolution is six hundred years ahead of another? The history of religious violence and terrorism for both religions is put in parallel context in the book The Great Leap-Fraud – Social Economics of Religious Terrorism.
After President Obama’s original intervention against the planned Koran burning last September, the consequences of such a horrible act must have been clear to any thinking pastor. However, he does not feel responsible for the mounting dead count in Afghanistan or the further fallout from his actions for the relations between the Muslim East and the Christian West. Instead of remorse for the killed individuals, the extremist Christian pastor shows defiance and calls for violence, e.g. the immediate retaliation for the dead with military force?a holy war. He calls for terrorizing Muslim nations as “the time has come to hold Islam accountable."
This Christian pastor and his helpers, including his church organization that did not stop the insanity need to be held liable. The family members of the victims of Jones’s actions must be compensated by his religious organization. He must also be held responsible for all property damages that its functionary has caused. Jones is a religious extremist, a Christian weapon of mass destruction, obviously, that needs neutralizing and condemning. Any further support of such actions by his Christian church turns this organization into an extremist organization and needs immediate outlawing.
It may be a good time to remind the Christian West that the Obama administration has authorized the killing of the Muslim imam Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, who is believed to encourage and possibly participate in terrorist activities. To make no mistake, Obama’s action is horrible in and by itself and needs condemning. No human being can be killed by a government without a fair trial, in particular not by the American government. However, there is an obvious double standard when it comes to Christian pastors calling for violence against Muslims. Hence, either the Anwar killing mission must be terminated or Jones must face a similar action against freedom.
Our democratic government needs to persecute religious functionaries who provoke violent outbursts either locally or 5000 miles away. This is particularly obvious in the chaotic environment of the American-Muslim relations. There is a difference between protesting and religious extremism.
Author of The Great Leap-Fraud
Social Economics of Religious Terrorism
April 10, 2011