I hope that this letter, and more importantly our actions as followers of Christ, will show the Muslim community of Santa Clarita that we desire to live the model that our Lord set before us - to love our neighbors and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. I also hope this encourages all religious leaders to righteously oppose the actions of those minorities who would commit offensive acts and claim to do them in the name of religion.
This open letter to the Muslim community of Santa Clarita originally appeared in the Santa Clarita Signal on September 10, 2010:
An open letter to the Muslim community of Santa Clarita:
Although it appears that the Quran-burning event planned by Pastor Terry Jones has been called off, we believe that the ethics behind the idea and the idea itself need to be righteously opposed.
We have followed with a heavy heart the developments in Gainesville, Fla., where the pastor of a small church announced plans to burn 200 copies of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11.
Despite the national and international outcry provoked by his outrageous plan, including opposition from Christian leaders across the country and around the world, Jones seemed determined to move forward.
We sincerely hope that his stated change of mind will hold, but believe that we need to speak out against his viewpoint.
We are writing this letter to assure you that Jones does not speak for the Christian community, and that he definitely does not speak for us, or for the members of the churches that we represent. His plans are offensive to us, and should be offensive to Christians everywhere.
We are embarrassed by his actions, and sincerely hope that the local and international Muslim community will see them for what they are: a publicity-seeking provocation by an unreasonable man of no standing in the Christian community.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are called to represent him by embodying his principles. The Jesus of the Bible did not burn the sacred books of other religions. He spoke the truth in love, prayed for his enemies and forgave those who persecuted him. We believe that his death on the cross made it possible for rebellious human beings to be reconciled to their Creator. This good news can sadly be obscured by offensive acts done in his name by people who claim to represent him.
Whether the burning ever takes place, the very thought of it has done damage around the world. We are grieved to see that damage, and will do all in our power to counteract it as we strive to represent the One who said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
We wish Jones would remember these words. We pledge to do our best to live by them, and hope that you, our Muslim neighbors, will notice the difference.
Pastor David Hegg,
Grace Baptist Church
Pastor Bob Childress,
Evangelical Free Church of the Canyons
Pastor Jim Ryan,
Heart of the Canyons Church
Pastor Scott Basolo,
Santa Clarita Baptist Church
Pastor Doug Main and
Pastor Luis Espino,
Cornerstone Church SCV
Pastor Scott Ardavanis,
Placerita Baptist Church