Gainesville is a really special place to me. I lived there several years while doing graduate work from the University of Florida. My wife and her family are from Gainesville. We were just there over the labor day weekend. It is a real shame that the whole community is getting a black eye over what Terry Jones is going to do there on September 11. Maybe he would do well to learn from Paul in Acts 17 where he didn’t smash and burn their idols and objects of worship. Instead, he used those things as a starting point to point people to Jesus and not away from him. The whole thing is distasteful. I have never known speaking the truth in love to be equated with burning something that is special to another person or committing inflammatory (no pun intended) acts. Freedom of speech and expression does not mean everything is permissible and we, as Christians, have to be especially mindful of our words and deeds. It is important that we pray that all parties involved can practice the second greatest commandment…to love our neighbor as ourselves and remove from our hearts any hateful attitudes and actions whether coming from Muslims or Christians.
It is important that we are informed about these things as our world becomes more diverse culturally and religiously. Evertt Huffard wrote a very helpful book called Christ or the Qur’an. It has been a while since I read this book but my memory is that Dr. Huffard says the real comparison is not the Bible and the Qur’an. The real parallel is Christ and the Qur’an based on how Muslims view the text and how Christians view Christ.