Letter from the Editor

| September 09, 2010
615173-terry-jones.jpg
- John Raoux / AP

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

Comments (29)

Showing 1-25 of 29

Me and my holy underwear laugh at all these poor, misguided fools.

report   
Posted by Jeff on 09/09/2010 at 7:32 AM

Thanks, Bruce, for clearing the brush through the thick, dark forest of insanity. Nice piece.

report   
Posted by Phlo on 09/09/2010 at 8:12 AM

Can I get that holy underwear in a low-rise mesh please?

report   
Posted by Packrat on 09/09/2010 at 8:57 AM

Packrat, you can get our holy underwear any way you want it. Our special Moroni Weaveâ„¢ wicks away moisture and sin to keep you feeling fresh as the first day of creation. Each comes with a hand-embroidered fig-leaf on the front and back, for wearing to the office or just lounging around the garden. Our special Nazirite line can be worn with or without the codpiece of righteousness. Each set comes with a conceal/carry hip holster if you're packing the jawbone of a donkey, and includes a genuine Ephesians 6 Armor of God protective cup sewn into the front, to guard your little Urim and Thummin against the front snap kicks of the unsaved.

report   
Posted by Jeff on 09/09/2010 at 9:28 AM

Well, um, my word! I think I'll just mosey on over to the comments thread on the letters TO the editor and see what's up.......

report   
Posted by B on 09/09/2010 at 9:41 AM

Jeff, I see business opportunity here. Let's have a lunch meeetng with Smitty and go over some possible anal bleaching tie-ins.

report   
Posted by Packrat on 09/09/2010 at 10:05 AM

Interesting that the "Christian" tea partiers are all too happy to follow an admitted member of a cult.

When Beck talks about "God", he's not talking about the God of the Bible, but rather the imaginary "God" dreamed up by his cult's founder, murdering pedophile Joseph Smith. According to Beck's Mormon cult, he believes that he too will one day be a "God" and have his own planet.

Why would any true follower of Jesus Christ, who believes the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant word of God, representing absolute truth and the final authority in all matters follow a man who lies about what he truly believes simply because he espouses a conservative political ideology? Glenn Beck should quit lying to people that he is a Christian. Be honest: A MORMON IS NO MORE CHRISTIAN THAN A MUSLIM IS.


*everything i learned about innuendo I learned from Glenn Beck.

report   
Posted by wvfii on 09/09/2010 at 10:20 AM

I agree, Packy. I was thinking along the lines of an Ark of the Covenant Damn the Gay scouring and bleaching patch. Something that would instantly vaporize anyone who touches your unholy of unholies, but would conveniently disappear once its job was done. Can we do this?

BTW, I'm up for some chitluns.

report   
Posted by Jeff on 09/09/2010 at 11:44 AM

That's interesting; he is quite sure that he doesn't have a 'special window', yet is certain at the same time! Next the writer wants to list several objective ways to know if a church is 'off-track'; all the while not having a 'special window' of knowledge of what God wants. I find this quite contradictory myself. How is having a larger house than Fred Smith make one an imposter or false teacher? Where did this standard come from? This is just speculation and envy. I agree there are fakes and thieves in the gospel/media rampage, but let's try to be consistent in our logic. Lastly, God can tell someone who to vote for if the person uses a standard such as a Bible or their book of tenets and beliefs that the candidate violates. This is different from some mystical audible voice from the sky...

report   
Posted by CHG on 09/14/2010 at 8:10 AM

apparently God can also tell someone to invade Iraq, even though any material evidence to support the decision is based on cooked intel. i wonder if there was some signal interference during transmission...

report   
Posted by wvfii on 09/14/2010 at 8:30 AM

I'm still waiting for the water to wine answer CHG.

report   
Posted by mad_merc on 09/14/2010 at 8:50 AM

wvfii, hermeneutics.

report   
Posted by CHG on 09/14/2010 at 10:35 AM

So if it is merely a matter of interpretation Charles, tell me exactly what Jesus did at the wedding that was so miraculous.

report   
Posted by mad_merc on 09/14/2010 at 11:37 AM

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Matt 19:24.

So Charles. There is your proof. If a preacher has a house bigger than Fred Smith.....Of course you want to research this and see how some rich men felt and interpreted this. Much like you do with "general welfare".

report   
Posted by 38103 on 09/14/2010 at 12:42 PM

The miracle was the deal He got from the caterers. If He wasn't Jesus, I'd almost say they were robbed.

report   
Posted by Jeff on 09/14/2010 at 1:29 PM

The funny part about it that Charles just doesn't get is that there were no issues with wine, or even alcohol, until about 200 years ago, which is about the same time that marriage all of a sudden became deeply religious, and gay bashing came into vogue. Those Victorian times were just great weren't they?

Basically Charles you have your beliefs, whether they be biblical, political, constitutional, or whatever. You take the documents, tenets, platforms, history, or rules of whatever it is and simply interpret them to fit into your world view while hiding behind the mask of hermeneutics and a cloak of composition fallacies.

Instead of feeling intellectually superior (which is what you like to tell yourself, I'm pretty sure) you need to realize that you are perhaps the biggest sheep of the flock. Maybe if you drank a little more wine and little less kool aid, you'd see it for yourself.

report   
Posted by mad_merc on 09/14/2010 at 1:52 PM

so what you're saying is it's conservative to be libatious.

report   
Posted by sbanbury on 09/14/2010 at 5:57 PM

No, Scott. Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine. The sacrament of Communion involves drinking wine in the name of Jesus, which, according to him, means that you're drinking the blood of the Son of God. He is called "the True Vine." It really couldn't be any clearer than that. He who has ears, let him hear.

In short, it is not conservative to be libatious. It is Christian.

report   
Posted by autoegocrat on 09/14/2010 at 6:16 PM

Am I going to have to go over to some other on-line rag? I'm tired of googling ya'lls words. I've got a list of fallacies on one tab, wiki-dictionary on the other, and .....oh..we won't talk about that third tab. Free trial? Sounds tempting.

report   
Posted by 38103 on 09/14/2010 at 6:39 PM

He who has ears, let him make corn liquor.

report   
Posted by Jeff on 09/15/2010 at 7:42 AM

In wine there is wisdom, in whiskey there is wit, in water there is bacteria

report   
Posted by mad_merc on 09/15/2010 at 11:00 AM

Hard to beat a little bourbon and branch water.

report   
Posted by Packrat on 09/15/2010 at 12:01 PM

"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."

Really..? How about since the humanoid started adding carbon-monoxide to the planet's atmosphere. There just seems to be no end to the "Learned People" out there (see comments) who have all the answers to the world's problems, are convenced that S. Palen is the spawn of the devil, G. Beck is the son-of-satan, Obama is the "2nd Coming" and J. Biden is not a "Pale-Face who speakes with forked tongue"! How in Heaven's name did all those people get bestowed with so much wisdom; let alone speak with such an all-knowing authority.

"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."

There was ALSO something mentioned that goes, "Judge not least ye' be judged." Perhaps all these commentors who have an exclusive on the "truth" (cough, cough) and are so convenced that their side of the story is the one and only truth should take a step back and take stock of themselves. Everyone has an opinion, but some of these commentors seem to have an inside line on what's fact and what's fiction. The only thing missing is the sales pitch for their DVDs on why they're right and everyone else is wrong.

And to wvfii... I defy you to look into the eyes of any person our military saved from certain death by the hands of a ruthless dictator and tell them that their life doesn't matter. You, obviously, have not worn the uniform of nor served this country in any way but to take up space. To borrow a line from The Bourne Identity... "why don't you book a conference room? Maybe you can talk them to death." No war is pretty. You just need to decide who's side you're on - and stick with it!

I don't think God hates anybody. This muslim/christian-christian/muslim feud has been going on for thousands of years and has gotten kind of like two rival football teams. Each prays before the game for God to grant them victory. Now, I ask you. Does that make ANY sense at all?????! I say, "may God grant us the peace, the wisdom and the time to really look into the heart of the universe and try to genuinely understand the "Truth" - before we, in our infinite wisdom, 'humanize' it."

report   
Posted by stumpjumper on 09/15/2010 at 2:01 PM

Easy on the bourbon, stumpjumper! A little more branch water, perhaps.

report   
Posted by Packrat on 09/15/2010 at 2:55 PM

Stumpjumper.

So are you going to look into the 1000's of parents eyes of the Iraqis killed by a civil war, or the untold 1000's of innocent civilians killed in the crossfire and say "Yep, this was worth it"?

When time turns the deaths into statistics, and if Iraq turns into a stable democratic society, then maybe. But not now.

report   
Posted by 38103 on 09/15/2010 at 3:32 PM
Showing 1-25 of 29

Add a comment