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Letter from the Editor

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As you have no doubt heard by now, Terry Jones, the minister of Dove World Church in Gainesville, Florida, is planning a ceremonial burning of Korans on September 11th. News of this event has enflamed Muslims around the world, giving them one more reason to hate America and a great recruiting tool in the holy war against us.

General David Petraeus and other military leaders have said the Koran-burning will endanger American troops and other U.S. citizens around the globe. This will probably not stop Jones, who has convinced himself and his followers that he's doing the Lord's work.

I don't pretend to have a special window into what the Lord wants any of us to do, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't involve burning the sacred texts of any of the world's religions. And I'm also quite sure there are a whole lot of misguided people out there doing horrible things in his name.

I may be accused of being presumptuous, but, if I may, let me give you a short list of ways you can use to determine if your chosen church has gotten off-track.

If your church tells you to "hate fags" or that gay humans are somehow lesser in the eyes of God or that one race is superior to another, you're off-track. If your church says that everyone who doesn't belong to your sect is doomed to an eternity in hell, it's time to reevaluate.

If your church promotes or encourages murder or mutilation — whether it's suicide bombings, stoning adulterers to death, cutting off noses or other body parts, or killing abortion doctors, you need to make a change.

If your minister has a bigger house and a nicer car than Fred Smith, if he tirelessly promotes himself through billboards and social media, if he has a mail-order "doctorate" in divinity, or if he asks you for money so he can "pray for you," you need to find another place to worship.

If your minister invites politicians of one party to speak to the congregation during election campaigns or tells you who God thinks you should vote for or holds political rallies or allows the likes of Thaddeus Matthews to stand at the pulpit (see Politics, p. 14), it's time to make a change.

An enlightened man once said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I'd say if you start there, everything else will fall into place.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

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