Crackpot pastor Terry Jones, whose Florida (where else?) church's stunt-burning of a Koran last month led to at least two-dozen deaths as a result of angry Afghan riots, responded yesterday to Bill O'Reilly having called him an "insane Christian" with "blood on his hands" on Monday's O'Reilly Factor. He predictably denied any responsibility, saying:
"We reject Mr. O'Reilly's statement. The responsibility should be laid upon the people who committed the acts. The recent events are an example of the violent nature of Islam. Just because a book was burned, they used this as an excuse to retaliate. We should not in any way condone their actions."
This is a classic case of be-careful-what-you-wish-for. Jones and his little church were desperate for attention, and they got it in a big way. While he's a douchebag with deep-seated issues, the blame for the tragic violence cannot be laid solely on his shoulders. American flags are routinely burned in Muslim countries, and we don't react by running amok and killing people over here. The falsely reported Koran-flushing incident at Guantanamo Bay a few years back led to similar mayhem. Radical Islamic elements would have just found another excuse, had Jones refrained from his reckless publicity stunt.
Jones and his co-pastor, Wayne Sapp (the one who actually set the Koran on fire), are receiving death threats by the score and are, unbelievably, considering putting the prophet Mohammed on trial next, as opposed to going into hiding. They may have to find another church in which to carry that out though, because the security bills have become so high that Jones had to list his Dove World Outreach Center building (how's that for an ironic name?) on Craigslist.