Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Will Come (Again) From One Pastor's Insanity? Terry Jones' Plan For Good Friday And The Largest Mosque In America


Pastor Terry Jones has had the longest-running 15 minutes of fame in history, and he won't let up: his plans to protest in front of the country's largest mosque this Friday has re-ignited alarms throughout the country. And nowhere in the country is there more cause for alarm than Dearborn, MI:
DEARBORN, Mich., April 19 (UPI) -- Terry Jones, the Koran-burning Florida pastor, says Detroit-area police and prosecutors are trying to silence him by demanding a $100,000 bond.
Jones plans to visit Dearborn, Mich., which has one of the biggest Muslim populations in the country, on Good Friday, The Detroit News reported. Prosecutors filed a motion Friday requesting he put up a "peace bond" and saying he could cause a riot "complete with discharge of firearms."
The Dearborn police said he should put up $100,000 to cover the cost of overtime, Jones said. He called the move unconstitutional and said he does not plan to pay.
So it has come to this: Jones will have his day come hell or ...

The irony of Jones' latest attempt at publicity has not gone unnoticed simply because Jones intended it to be a rather twisted way of declaring Christianity to be superior to Islam: Good Friday is a day for remembering the ultimate sacrifice. Jones has been disillusioned into thinking that HE is making some kind of sacrifice: his taste of power, coupled with death threats made against him, have goaded him into a self-image as a savior of sorts. No matter that even the group that initially enabled him in his efforts pulled out of the event at the last minute: a group called the Order of the Dragon planned to protest at Dearborn's City Hall on Friday, but canceled after they met with city officials. The group is dedicated to protecting "our country from the rise of radical Islam." They withdrew their request to protest after being told that Dearborn did not in any way practice Sharia Law.

Jones certainly cannot take any comfort in the fact that his planned protest has actually brought religious leaders together:

Metro Detroit religious leaders plan prayer vigils Thursday and Friday to show solidarity against Jones. A prayer event is planned Thursday at the mosque, while another vigil is planned at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn on Friday before Jones' protest.
It is indeed rare when Christian communities come together to chastise one who is seemingly their own: The Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit has collected almost 1000 signatures on a petition condemning Jones. The petition reads in part:
We, as caring neighbors in southeastern Michigan, stand together in condemning the actions of those who spew hate and fear, and who misuse and desecrate holy books of faith. Instead we call on people to carry out the best traditions of all religious faiths, embodied in the idea of doing to others as we would have them do to us.
Too Little Too Late?

The sentiments of the petition, although sincere, serve to point out the fact that religious groups rarely, if ever, police their own. In this case, it may have been because no one has come to think of Terry Jones as one of their own. The outcry by the rest of America last September came well after Jones and Fred Phelps had announced that they were burning Qurans. The meme of "he's not one of us" was such a poor slap on the wrist to Jones that he must have perceived - in his arrogant righteousness - that God was surely on his side. 

And he continues to think that way. Remember, Jones is a man who, with an honorary doctorate (from an unaccredited college) parlayed a stay in Germany into a cult which eventually kicked him out because of his un-Christian, dictatorial and arrogant ways, a man who "made himself the center of everything." By now, his self-image is virtually impregnable. 

It may seem disingenuous at this time to place responsibility on anyone else besides Jones. Or moot. But I really must point out that the Joneses and Phelpses of the country are home-grown by the very culture that allows its religious leaders to do whatever they want without sanction. Or, I should say, without REAL sanction. Any form of effective excommunication is considered a sin. 

Now, Jones has the nation once again trembling in fear as to what he will do, when he will do it and how he will do it. He evinced little remorse at the mayhem and deaths related to his last incident. His righteous arrogance has him entrenched and immutable. Jones has been entreated by world leaders before and brushed them aside. Jones has determined if and when people will be hurt and killed. 
"Nothing has changed. Nothing will change," Jones said. "We will definitely be there." 
So what do we do now? 

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