“The Koran needs to be flushed!” is the message a Baptist church in rural North Carolina is sending to the world. And the Christianist extremist preacher who runs the Danieltown Baptist Church says he would have no regrets if his message enflames violence in the Moslem world.
Rev. Creighton Lovelace told MSNB’s Keith Olbermann on the May 24, 2005, edition of “The Countdown” that the violence won’t be his fault because God gives people free will, and angry Moslems would be making a wrong choice if the sign’s message angered them so much that they became violent.
Not that it would matter. Moslems are all going to hell anyway because the Koran is an instrument of Satan, Lovelace said on Olbermann’s air.
In published reports, Lovelace adopted a softer tone:
“I don’t hate Muslims. I don’t hate Islamic people. I just hate the false doctrine.”
Lovelace, 23, says he chose to demean the Koran, the holy book for the world’s second largest religion because Moslems “don’t worship Christ as the son of God.” He was also quoted in a local paper as saying:
“I believe that it is a statement supporting the Word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as Savior and Lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong,” said Lovelace. “I knew that whenever we decided to put that sign up that there would be people who wouldn’t agree with it, and there would be some that would, and so we just have to stand up for what’s right.”
Lovelace posted the message on a portable highway sign outside his church near Forest City, N.C., as a reaction to a Newsweek report that U.S. interrogators in Guantanamo had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet in order to torture Moslem detainees. The Newsweek story reportedly further enflamed protests already planned in Afghanistan, during which more than a dozen people were killed. President Bush’s spokesman all but laid the blame for deaths caused by rioting in Afghanistan at Newsweek’s door.
The head of the Southern Baptist Church was quick to disavow the sign and its hateful message. Morris H. Chapman said, “Of course, the Koran does not support the beliefs of Southern Baptists, but we recognize and respect the rights of Muslims to believe as they choose. Furthermore, Southern Baptists wish to relate to our Muslim neighbors in a respectful manner that allows mutual sharing of our beliefs.”