Could there be an irony uglier that the very name of the Dove World Outreach Center church in Gainesville, Florida? For those who do not recognize the name, this is the "New Testament, Charismatic, Non-Denominational Church" (their own description) that plans to "celebrate" the ninth anniversary of 9/11 by burning a copy of the Quran. This will probably not be the first time that the metaphor of the dove of peace will be turned on its head, but it may be the first time that the dove will give up its olive branch in favor of an actual lighted match. Indeed, to pursue the metaphor even further, this particular dove has managed to provoke at least two of our "hawks" (senior military commanders in Afghanistan) on the grounds that the most likely consequence of the desecration of the Muslim holy book will be to put our "boots on the ground" in even greater harm's way than they already are. To put the matter in the most cynical terms, the calculated anti-Islamic hatred of the Dove World Outreach Center may draw even more support to the Taliban than has frustration with the corruption prevailing in Afghanistan's "democratically elected" government.
This brings us to "phase two" of the irony, that word "outreach." This particular dove is not extending the olive branch of peace. It is extending the cross of the Church Militant, the deliberate superposition of the primary symbol of Christianity with the sword of the Crusaders. This brand of outreach is, indeed, that of the Crusades, using the "mission" to spread Christianity as an excuse for world exploitation through domination.
Under such circumstances one would think that the Dove World Outreach Center would at least try to lower its profile, if not capitulate. However, the report on Al Jazeera English, which draws upon Reuters as a source, indicated that this organization has chosen just the opposite tactic:
In comments broadcast on CNN, Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Centre, said it would be "tragic" if anybody's life was lost as a result of the planned Quran burning.
But he said: "Still, I must say that we feel that we must sooner or later stand up to Islam, and if we don't, it's not going to go away."
The church's website says it seeks to "expose Islam" as a "violent and oppressive religion".
It displays a sign reading "Islam of the Devil".
There you have it, the defiance of our fundamental principle of freedom of religion by a faith-based conviction that Islam is a "violent and oppressive religion" that needs to "go away." What would Jesus say?