A pastor in Florida says he plans to burn hundreds of Qur'ans on September 11th, and it's created a lot of controversy worldwide. Big 2 was out in Midland on Tuesday to hear what residents of the Permian Basin have to say about it.
The Qur'an is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind. The Qur'an is to Muslims what the Bible is to Christians, and the fact that someone plans to burn it has created an interesting question: Even though the Constitution says he has the right to do it...is it right?
Pastor Terry Jones is the man of recent controversy, saying he will burn hundreds of Qur'ans on September 11th.
"We have thought very much about it. We have prayed a lot about it. Yes...it's one of the things we think about all the time," Jones said.
But he's not the only one thinking about it.
"It's kind of mixed feelings on this. It's his constitutional right to be able to do that. I don't agree with it. I don't think anybody's religion should be bashed," Scott Simmons said.
"He's got the right to do it, but he's got consequences behind it. And the consequences are him and the Lord up above," Irwin Darby said.
"It's protected free speech. It's offensive to a lot of folks. The reaction that Americans have when folks burn our flag and what Christians have when folks mistreat the Bible...it's understandable that there would be a reaction to that," Representative Mike Conaway said.
And the reaction is being heard worldwide, with many political leaders asking Jones not to go through with it.
"I think it's another example of extremism on either side. Whether you're looking at it from a Christian perspective or an Islamic perspective, but I think it also speaks to larger discussion of what's taking place in America related to rights," Patrick Payton, Pastor of Stonegate Fellowship in Midland, said.
Payton says we have rights, but we also have responsibilities.
"I have a right to do just about anything I want to do, but if it's not doing something better for others, for the community, for the state, the nation, and the world...then I'm really abusing a right. And too much American blood has been shed for people to abuse rights," Payton said.
This also brings up the question: Could the burning of Qur'ans affect our troops overseas? Many, including General David Petraeus, warn yes...it will make things much worse for them, possibly leading to attacks against the troops. But Pastor Payton believes it may not make a difference. He says no matter what we say or do...our enemies will find a way to use it against us.