I agree with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not one more second of media attention should be granted to the Koran-burning pastor in Florida. I’m surprised that he has received as much attention as he already has. I was also surprised to receive an e-mail from a reader asking why evangelical bloggers have been so silent on the controversy. I can’t speak for other bloggers, but here’s why I haven’t said much about it until now.
When I first heard about the story, I thought it was in fact a non-storyâ€”not because I think burning Korans is okay (in fact I think it profoundly stupid and unhelpful) but because I didn’t imagine that anyone would pay serious attention to a crank in Florida leading a congregation of 50 people. This guy doesn’t represent evangelical Christians, mainline Christians, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, or any other mainstream religious group that calls itself “Christian.” In fact, every “Christian” leader that I have seen to weigh-in on the topic has roundly denounced this plan to burn Korans. I would say that this pastor is a part of the lunatic fringe, but I think that designation still puts him too close to the mainstream. I haven’t heard anybody in Christendom who supports burning Korans. Consequently, I simply did not see the relevance of what this guy was going to do. That’s why I haven’t written much about it until now.
But since this issue is not going away, let me add my voice to the many who have denounced the plan to burn Korans. I agree with Al Mohler that this will not serve the purposes of the gospel. I agree with Trevin Wax that this is a faux controversy that has been manufactured by the media. I agree with Tony Reinke that Acts 19:11-20 in no way supports burning Korans. I agree with countless others who have given a variety of reasons for why this is a bad idea.
So why comment on a crackpot pastor’s publicity stunt that in no way represents how American Christians feel, much less how Americans in general feel? Because the media have been playing this story as if Koran-burning were an evangelical pastime. Nothing could be further from the truth, but you wouldn’t know it from the attention this story is getting. Again, I agree with Hillary Clinton. The media need to back off of this story and not to cover the pastor’s Koran burning. Not one more camera should be set on this character.