WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama is exhorting a Florida minister to “listen to those better angels” and call off his plan to engage in a Quran-burning protest this weekend.
Obama told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview aired Thursday that he hopes the Rev. Terry Jones of Florida listens to the pleas of people who have asked him to call off the plan. The president called it a “stunt.”
“If he’s listening, I hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans,” Obama said. “That this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.”
“And as a very practical matter, I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women who are in uniform,” the president added.
Said Obama: “Look, this is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaida. You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan.” The president also said Jones’ plan, if carried out, could serve as an incentive for terrorist-minded individuals “to blow themselves up” to kill others.
“I hope he listens to those better angels and understands that this is a destructive act that he’s engaging in,” the president said of Jones.
Although an elemental part of me understands the base desire to, via the burning of Korans, strike back at radical Islam and all the terror it has brought both to our shores and the international community for decades, the Christian part of me says there’s a better way for this Christian pastor and his church to both strike back at Islam and commemorate 9-11: Celebrate the lives of the victims, mourn their passing and, most importantly, preach the word of God. There is NO better way to ultimately counter and defeat radical Islam than by preaching God’s word.
So, in essence, I pretty much agree with BO’s call to the pastor to not carry through with his Koran burning. BO’s reasons, of course, have little to do with appealing with the pastor on a Christian level but instead by trying to get him to understand that something like this – which is needless coming from any Bible-believing church – could put our men and women in uniform in even more danger. Sure, Pastor Jones has the right to do it, but as I’ve said before, having the “right” to say/do something doesn’t always make it right to say/do. I have “the right” to take an evening walk in a bad neighborhood in the middle of the night alone, but why would I do that? I would be unnecessarily putting myself at risk. I can easily accomplish my relaxation goal by taking a walk in a much safer neighborhood with friends.
But I’m trying to figure out exactly where the President’s concern for the welfare of our troops was when he was busy last year making available for public (read: enemy) viewing papers on the aggressive interrogation techniques the CIA was using to obtain information from the enemy, and other classified documents related to Bush-era counterterrorism measures that should have remained secret. While I’m glad to see the President is worried that the actions of the pastor could harm the mission, and also further endanger our men and women in uniform already in harm’s way overseas, I sure would have liked to have seen more of this concern last year when he was eagerly showing how “transparent” his administration was going to be – with secret documents from previous administrations. Not only that, but to be frank, if he’s going to argue this from purely a “rights” perspective” – as he did when he announced how it was “essential” to protect the rights of Muslim Islamists in the US and why we should “respect” their “right” to build the Ground Zero mosque, he should know that the pastor and his congregation have just as much right to burn Korans as the radical imam and his cult like followers have the right to tap dance on the footprint of the World Trade Center.
In both instances, again – having “the right” doesn’t make it “right.” Something neither this President, nor Pastor Jones, clearly understands.
Oh – and BTW, don’t think the Christian bashers in the MSM aren’t milking this for all it’s worth.