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Burning snuffed out

"Burning snuffed out" Continued...

The British-based group Barnabas Fund, which works in predominantly Muslim countries, also decried the event, as did Bob Blincoe, head of the Muslim outreach group Frontiers. In a blog post on Thursday, Blincoe said he had emailed Jones, telling him, "It's not too late for you to take counsel from the Christian community and change your mind."

On Thursday, prominent local Florida pastors also joined the chorus, telling Jones that "pastors and Christian leaders have the opportunity to model civility in the public square and reclaim the purpose and mission of the church." The pastors told Jones that Americans "have freedom to perform acts with which others disagree or deem despicable, but our citizenship as Christians calls us to a higher standard-one of love and respect for all humanity-which supersedes our 'rights.'"

The 10 pastors who signed the statement represent some of the state's largest churches, and its most conservative, including Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel and Tullian Tchividjian of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, both in Fort Lauderdale.

But the pastors acknowledged what U.S. political and church leaders already know: That whether or not the burning ceremony in Gainesville had gone forward, the damage already was done. "The mere threat of carrying out such an insensitive and uncivil act has already caused considerable damage to the reputation of the Christian church, the Bible, and the teachings of Jesus, as well as to interfaith relations among good people-and to the common good-around the world," they wrote.


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