And so, thankfully, we hear that Terry Jones, the much-condemned pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., will not, at least in the immediate future, oversee a Koran book-burning party that would have, according to any person with a functioning brain, and also to senior officials in the U.S. Military, sparked widespread protest and possibly widespread harm to American soldiers and even other Americans.
As is The New York Times‘ typical style, the newspaper is out ahead of any other potential angles related to this story. Surrounding this foray is a sense that Dove World Outreach Center is attempting, in a quite macabre and dangerous way, to gain some notoriety for itself. As we have already seen (see my related post) the congregation numbers about 50 people. Most very active but humble congregations range from 100-1,000 members, some more. But in this case, we are talking about a 50-person congregation. That’s a small number.
As the Times notes, “Mr. Jones was able to put himself at the center of those issues by using the news lull of summer and the demands of a 24-hour news cycle to promote his anti-Islam cause. He said he consented to more than 150 interview requests in July and August … By the middle of this week, the planned Koran burning was the lead story on some network newscasts, and topic No. 1 on cable news – an extraordinary amount of attention for a marginal figure with a very small following.”
Thus, correctly, the Times notes that a very, very – and I would add another “very” – small congregation that matters not in any substantial way has, for some reason, garnered the attention of not only the leader of the free world, but of the international community.
Since Jones’ plan of Koran-burning is problematic on so many levels, to the extent that it could have put his congregation and many Americans in jeopardy, it leads me to believe that it was, at least on some level, a subversive and also a very dumb and selfish attempt to gain attention for his very small church as much as anything else.