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Burning Bridges…and Bibles

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Last year, my little neck of the woods made international news. A local Baptist minister was going to celebrate Halloween by having a Bible burning. No joke. Not only was he going to burn Bibles, he planned on putting the torch to Christian music, Christian literature (including fiction), Christian movies, and any book or recording that represented any religion if it wasn’t the King James Version of the Bible. I know what you’re thinking—“that’s a lot of books!”

Well, here in the middle of the Bible belt, people don’t take kindly to having their Bibles burned, and this particular minister was censured by ministers from every denomination. I did my part and posted the information on Facebook, along with a photo of the church in question’s reader-board.

What brings this to mind, now that the furor’s died down, is the church in Gainesville, Florida, that is going to observe 9/11 by burning Korans. The pastor of said church claims that it’s time to go beyond talk. Despite being warned that burning Korans would result in retaliation against American troops, the pastor is adamant. Let’s get this straight…The church in question is a Christian church, so we might presume that the pastor is upholding the teachings of Jesus Christ. I admit my ignorance; I’ve never read the Koran, but I’m positive that nowhere in the Bible is Jesus quoted in favor of war-like actions, unless there’s something I’m just not getting about love thy neighbor…

Hopefully, the Gainesville church will be put in its place, not by God but by man. The little Baptist church  here (not mainstream Baptist, by the way, more renegade) did not have its Bible burning. The fire marshal stopped by a few weeks before Halloween and warned the pastor that burning books—or anything else for that matter—is illegal (leaves and yard waste may be burned by permit). To avoid getting in trouble with the law, the pastor changed his event to a “book shredding,” which was attended by fewer than three people, none of whom represented the international press.

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About Miss Bob Etier

  • Miss Bob,

    Death, destruction and war (in the name of Jesus) has been around since the first Christians took to the streets and coliseums(involuntarily).

    It’s so sad that religion(which should help people cope with life)has become just one-big-fat-political-football.

    I live in a secular country, don’t you?

  • the real bob

    Jeannie, you are so right. Politicians acknowledge religious organizations when they want someone else to take responsibility for society’s ills and slam them when it’s politically expedient.

    It’s amazing what some people (groups, organizations) will justify by invoking the names of God. It puts a new spin on “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.” –bob

  • TRB,

    It’s disgusting that the Media(who has hyped all of this book burning up) are sitting here quietly watching, free of any responsibility.

    They are the ones placing our troops and American citizens in jeopardy all over the world. anything for ratings!


  • I remember the Beatle-record burnings in the 70s, but not this. I also heard the pastor of the church has 80 congregants. He got his 15 minutes of fame.
    What is it about hate that drives people to these media stunts?
    “Love thy neighbor” was never a big nit.

  • That was supposed to say “hit.” I need my reading glasses…

  • Bob

    Mt. 10:34-39

    34″Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
    ” ‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
    36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e]

    37″Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

    A little more than love thy neighbor

  • the real bob

    Just for the record, #6 is not MISS Bob. I can see I’ve got more research to do.

  • Wait. I understand that an extremist Christian preacher might advocate burning Korans (Although it’s A. wrong and B. dumb from an international standpoint), but I don’t understand why a Baptist preacher would talk about burning Bibles, presumably his own spiritual text, on Halloween. … Did I miss something?

  • the real bob

    Jeremy, according to the Baptist preacher all versions of the Bible, other than King James, are blasphemy. KJV is the only true Bible, he says. Go figure.

  • Did you know that Jones is also planning on burning the Talmud along with the Koran? (reported by The Miami Herald)

  • the real bob

    #10 I hadn’t read that yet. And what does the Talmud have to do with 9/11, Afghanistan,Iraq, etc.?

  • …what does the Talmud have to do with 9/11…?

    In case it was not already apparent, Pastor Jones is a wack job. A loony bird. A few fries short of a Happy Meal. Not the brighest bulb on the tree.

  • Cherry picking parts of the Bible as fake Bob is doing is popular sport for the fundies. But Jesus was what he was, a man of peace and of love. The fights he talks about are against the Romans and against those who would oppose his message back in ancient Israel. He’s not talking about ramming your husband through with a sword in 2010. And, note, there were no Muslims back then. Lord, I wish I had a theologian sitting here side by side with me. But the quotation from Matthew does not negate Love They Neighbor or the Sermon on on the Mount or the Greatest Commandment: “Love One Another” in any way.
    Now I wish he’d quit picking phrases that appeal to his (her?) war-mongering nature and listen to the WHOLE MESSAGE.

  • A note to Jeremy: The ironic twist to this whole thing about the King James Bible is that, lovely as it is in language, it is about the poorest Bible in terms of translation that we have. Most of the new Bibles are based on years of study in ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic and have yielded amazing discoveries. I can’t go into details (and the fake Bob will probably start freaking). But safe to say that the new Bibles give a better look at the world that Jesus inhabited and make better sense. For some reason, the fundies find this threatening.

  • @ the real bob: Gotcha. That makes sense. … or better sense. 😉

    @ Lynn Voedisch: Yeah, I’ve heard that case made about the KJV, but on the flip side, I think we also have to admit that other versions (some have said the NIV is the better translation) often try to soften or smooth over certain obvious problems within original text. From the Wikipedia entry:

    “For example, Bruce M. Metzger criticizes[14] the addition of just into Jeremiah 7:22, so the verse becomes ‘For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices’, an apparent attempt to harmonise with Exodus 20:24. Metzger also criticizes[14] the addition of your into Matthew 13:32, so it becomes ‘Though it [the mustard seed] is the smallest of all your seeds”, an apparent correction of a botanical error spoken by Jesus.’

    So, it seems to me the problem of the validity of the translations we have is at least doubly problematic.

  • True, some of the translations try to be P.C. The New Jerusalem Bible is supposed to be the best.