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Church defends sign that says koran needs to be flushed

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By JOSH HUMPHRIES Daily Courier Staff Writer

FOREST CITY -- A sign in front of a Baptist church on one of the most traveled highways in the county stirred controversy over religious tolerance and first-amendment rights this weekend.

A sign in front of Danieltown Baptist Church, located at 2361 U.S. 221 south reads "The Koran needs to be flushed," and the Rev. Creighton Lovelace, pastor of the church, is not apologizing for the display.

"I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong," said Lovelace. "I knew that whenever we decided to put that sign up that there would be people who wouldn't agree with it, and there would be some that would, and so we just have to stand up for what's right."

Seema Riley, a Muslim, who was born in Pakistan and reared in New York, was one of those upset by the sign.

She moved to Rutherford County for the "small town friendly" atmosphere, she said. When she saw the sign on the side of the highway Saturday she felt angered and threatened.

"We need a certain degree of tolerance," said Riley. "That sign doesn't really reflect what I think this county is about."

She said that according to Islamic faith, a follower does not even touch the Koran without going through a ritual cleansing. Muslims believe the physical book to be a sacred item that is treated with respect and reverence, much like the image of Jesus in Christianity, according to a report on National Public Radio.

"For someone to put that sign up -- the person just didn't understand -- didn't take into consideration what putting up that sign means," said Riley. "I don't think it should be posted on a sign in public viewing on the highway to create a hostile environment for me."

The appearance of the sign follows a national news story from last week. Newsweek magazine retracted a story reporting that military guards at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay flushed a copy of the Koran down the toilet during interrogation of a detainee. The Newsweek story sent Washington in a frenzy and was blamed for igniting Muslim riots and deaths abroad, including a particularly violent outburst in Afghanistan.

"Our creed as a Christian, or a Protestant, or a Baptist church -- of course we don't have a creed but the bible -- but we do have the Baptist faith and message that says that we should cling to the 66 books of the Holy Bible and any other book outside of that claiming to know the way of God or claiming to be God's word is automatically written off and is trying to defeat people from the way of true righteousness inside of our viewpoint in how we view the word of God," Lovelace said.

"Putting such a sign in a public place is an un-American example of intolerance, of aggressive disrespect for other citizens' deeply held views," said Donald Searing, Burton Craige Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "This is the sort of attitude and action that seriously endangers the liberty which lies at the heart of our democracy. It is also a good reminder that just because one may have the legal right to say something, doing so may not be morally, socially or politically desirable."

When Lovelace was asked whether he considered before he put the sign up that there may be some consequences or that some people may be angered, he said he was aware of the likelihood of angering some people.

"Well, I thought about it and I said there may be people who are offended by it but the way I look at it, Jesus told his followers that if the world hates you, don't feel bad because they hated me first," said Lovelace. "If we stand for what is right and for God's word and for Christianity then the world is going to condemn us and so right away when I got a complaint I said 'well somebody's mad, somebody's offended, so we must be doing something right.'"

Danieltown Baptist Church belongs to the Sandy Run Baptist Association and the association's Director of Missions the Rev. Jim Diehl said that Lovelace's opinion does not necessarily reflect that of that organization.

"Each of the churches of the Sandy Run Baptist Association are autonomous bodies," said Diehl. "Each church can develop a stance on doctrinal issues and can develop its own stance on moral issues."

The Rev. Billy Honeycutt, of the Green River Baptist Association said that he hopes that those who see the sign keep tolerance in mind.

"Respecting religion is important and respecting other people is important," said Honeycutt. "Hopefully, a lot of people will have that thought when they see the sign."

Following the religious controversy at a church in Waynesville where several members were asked to leave in what was termed a dispute over politics, several groups threatened to boycott the entire town due to the actions of one preacher.

Director of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Bill Hall said he does not think that the Danieltown sign will have a negative impact on the county's tourism or economic vitality.

"It is unfortunate that things like that happen and it certainly doesn't represent Rutherford County," said Hall. "I think that most people will understand that that is not a common attitude in this community."

Lovelace said he felt it was the work of God to display the sign and that no one in the church has spoken up against it to him.

He said the church has 55 members on the roster and he has only received one angry phone call since the sign was posted.

"We have a good group of people," said Lovelace.

Lovelace said the sign changes every week.

"About Friday or Saturday we will have a new sign," he said. "It should state to some effect 'Where are your treasures? Are they at the flea market or are they in heaven?'"

Lovelace said that he does not have anything against the flea market that recently opened up down the street from the church.

"I enjoy a good flea market, but if people can be down there at eight o'clock why can't they be at church at 11," he said.

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I'm not surprised that a preacher in a small town would have the audacity to post something so disgusting but what's even more shocking is that they received only 1 phone call criticizing the sign. I'm surprised that more people weren't outraged. Isn't Christianity supposed to be about love and tolerance?

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Think inquisition, crusades, witch burning, etc.

good point...please remind us again when that happened?

We should burn that church down.........I mean after all, their repulsive sign and disgusting intolerance may lead some Muslims to get mad, and cause suicide bombings, and beheadings, and persecution of Christians in Muslims lands, and teachings of intolerance and hate in mosques and religious schools......

And maybe even worse, Arab and Muslim govt may even encourage that type of behavior, or use state controlled media to offer up anti-American, and "non-believer" type of propoganda.......

I think American society needs to be more "progessive", and single out, and diminish these extremist elements in our society....I wonder why we never do that......we should take a page from the Midlde East on that approach....

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good point...please remind us again when that happened?

We should burn that church down.........I mean after all, their repulsive sign and disgusting intolerance may lead some Muslims to get mad, and cause suicide bombings, and beheadings, and persecution of Christians in Muslims lands, and teachings of intolerance and hate in mosques and religious schools......

And maybe even worse, Arab and Muslim govt may even encourage that type of behavior, or use state controlled media to offer up anti-American, and "non-believer" type of propoganda.......

I think American society needs to be more "progessive", and single out, and diminish these extremist elements in our society....I wonder why we never do that......we should take a page from the Midlde East on that approach....

?HUH?

I think your reply was directed at the thread and not me. I was reminding the guy homer that christianity was not always a religion of peace.

And why does the right ALWAYS insist on comparing and using the Middle east as a standard, when it is also sees it as backward? The US is supposed to be a democracy with tolerance of religions, and comparing it to the ME and saying "they do it, so can we" is silly to the extreme.

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good point...please remind us again when that happened?

We should burn that church down.........I mean after all, their repulsive sign and disgusting intolerance may lead some Muslims to get mad, and cause suicide bombings, and beheadings, and persecution of Christians in Muslims lands, and teachings of intolerance and hate in mosques and religious schools......

And maybe even worse, Arab and Muslim govt may even encourage that type of behavior, or use state controlled media to offer up anti-American, and "non-believer" type of propoganda.......

No, we should be repulsed by the sign because its against what the US stands for - who gives a fuck about anything else. Just because you have freedom of speech does not mean you should do anything you want. Just because I can have a sticker on my house saying "Hitler was right" or "Stalin is my hero" does not mean that I should.

Disclaimer: This is just an anology and does not represent my opinion.

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?HUH?

I think your reply was directed at the thread and not me. I was reminding the guy homer that christianity was not always a religion of peace.

And why does the right ALWAYS insist on comparing and using the Middle east as a standard, when it is also sees it as backward? The US is supposed to be a democracy with tolerance of religions, and comparing it to the ME and saying "they do it, so can we" is silly to the extreme.

The "right".... :rolleyes:

No one is saying "they do it,so can we"....not all--couldn't be further from the truth.......

The point, which the LEFT simply can't get thru their fucking heads-- stop making the exception appear to be the norm when it comes to the U.S..

Just like you did with your statement "The U.S. is "supposed"..................

I wish the view of the left could be called only "silly", but it is much worse than that.....

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No, we should be repulsed by the sign because its against what the US stands for - who gives a fuck about anything else. Just because you have freedom of speech does not mean you should do anything you want. Just because I can have a sticker on my house saying "Hitler was right" or "Stalin is my hero" does not mean that I should.

Disclaimer: This is just an anology and does not represent my opinion.

We are repulsed by the sign--that is my fucking point, and my sarcasm. We mock, ridicule, diminish, marginalize, frown upon, ignore, discount, expose, etc extreme elements in this country.....

By the way--does your freedon of speech rant (which I agree with) apply to journalistic standards and integrity as well....just curious

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The "right".... :rolleyes:

No one is saying "they do it,so can we"....not all--couldn't be further from the truth.......

Your sarcastic first post definitely conveyed that impression.

The point, which the LEFT simply can't get thru their fucking heads-- stop making the exception appear to be the norm when it comes to the U.S..

Just like you did with your statement "The U.S. is "supposed"..................

Jesus fuckin christ! There, picking at straws "supposed to" "is" - a fuckin misuse of words. Though, if the right had it their way, it definitely would NOT be a democracy anymore. Maybe they should vote Ann Coultor for president!

:rolleyes:

I wish the view of the left could be called only "silly", but it is much worse than that.....

Unfortuntely, when one is so far right, eveything else seems "left".

;)

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We are repulsed by the sign--that is my fucking point, and my sarcasm. We mock, ridicule, diminish, marginalize, frown upon, ignore, discount, expose, etc extreme elements in this country.....

By the way--does your freedon of speech rant (which I agree with) apply to journalistic standards and integrity as well....just curious

Then why bring the Middle East into this? That was not the topic of this thread - the only common ground being that the religion ridiculed here happens to be one that is practiced over there. This thread is about tolerance in the United States.

My so called "rant" obviously does not apply to journalistic standards. Don't know what you're trying to get at but journalists are supposed to report facts that are going on in the world, not their opinions (where free speech would come in). Of course, the standards will be different.

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Why can't you just condemn this action of the priest or pastor without trying to take a shit all over my faith? I think what she did is markedly un-christian and she should be ashamed. oh any Every teenager in germany at the time had to become part of the nazi youth you didn't have a choice. learn your history moron

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Not surprised...when we can have a NAZI for a pope...whats the limit?

Thats really dumb

The article just shows how extremists in each religion are all stupid, and obviously do not understand the real word of God. I know i would not want to be worshiping a God who would condon this type of behavior.

Could you just imagine the outrage if a mosque placed a sign out saying its ok to flush the bible?

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Your sarcastic first post definitely conveyed that impression.

Jesus fuckin christ! There, picking at straws "supposed to" "is" - a fuckin misuse of words. Though, if the right had it their way, it definitely would NOT be a democracy anymore. Maybe they should vote Ann Coultor for president!

:rolleyes:

Unfortuntely, when one is so far right, eveything else seems "left".

;)

(1) If you knew it was sarcastic, then should have know the difference

(2) Picking at straws.....misuse of words....BULLSHIT...you, and others, revel in posting negative shit to "show" that this country., or democracy, or anything U.S. has warts too...NO FUCKING SHIT...but in your endless quest to prove we are not perfect (i.e. constant elevating of the exception as the norm), you are symbolic of misguided moral equivalency which happens on a greater scale in this country (BY THE LEFT), and a lack of understanding of how that shit playes overseas (BY THE MEDIA)

(3) Far right :jerkoff: ...the problem is anyone who applies some common sense is "right" to anyone on the left

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Then why bring the Middle East into this? That was not the topic of this thread - the only common ground being that the religion ridiculed here happens to be one that is practiced over there. This thread is about tolerance in the United States.

My so called "rant" obviously does not apply to journalistic standards. Don't know what you're trying to get at but journalists are supposed to report facts that are going on in the world, not their opinions (where free speech would come in). Of course, the standards will be different.

I bring the Middle East into this because it is relevant........

The left, the misguided, and the lost once again, will take something like this, and pound it excessively......elevating the exception and representing the fringe as the norm, in their endless quest to show that this country is not perfect (no fucking shit)....

And when you do that, you do not project in other countries how we marginalize and ridicule these extremists, while also protecting their right to free speech and freedom of worship .........instead you project a false image that all Americans, or all those in the military are guilty of the same behavior as the minority........you bury what is our greatest strength........you would think some would get the fucking hint already...

And at worst, a repulsive brand of moral equivalency is applied.......I can picture it now...An influential Muslim cleric ranting on AL Jazeera how hypocritical the Americans are.....who are the Americans to demand we treat our women as equals, or stop persecuting Christians, or stop preaching intolerance and hate in our mosques, or stop encouraging suicide bombings and beheadings, when America and their churches are teaching their followers to flush the Koran down the tiolet............

You rant you should also have applied to journalistic standards.........while journalism has a responsibility to report the truth, it is to do so based on FACTS, with a balance of common sense and moral responsibility......if you can not see that you are lost my friend

Unfortunately, expecially over the past three years, that has been lost on the mainstream Western media with their bias, unbalanced shady reporting, OPINIONS, and agenda that can not be ignored, which at times is completely repulsive

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Why can't you just condemn this action of the priest or pastor without trying to take a shit all over my faith? I think what she did is markedly un-christian and she should be ashamed. oh any Every teenager in germany at the time had to become part of the nazi youth you didn't have a choice. learn your history moron

Amen

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The right will never ever admit any of the admininstration's or US policy failings. Thats the problem - they just gloss over them, ignore them, and always think the US can do no wrong, and anyone who opposes Bush's God-given doctrine is an enemy. A very dangerous path.

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The right will never ever admit any of the admininstration's or US policy failings. Thats the problem - they just gloss over them, ignore them, and always think the US can do no wrong, and anyone who opposes Bush's God-given doctrine is an enemy. A very dangerous path.

right raver....it is just the "right" that is on a dangerous path :rolleyes: .....

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right raver....it is just the "right" that is on a dangerous path :rolleyes: .....

no I agree. There are some on the left, who're equally on a dangerous path. There are some who's sole purpose of existence is to decry the US at every possible opportunity, and thats pathetic IMO. It also makes people lump all on the left with these fools and gives everyone a bad name.

I prefer center.

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no I agree. There are some on the left, who're equally on a dangerous path. There are some who's sole purpose of existence is to decry the US at every possible opportunity, and thats pathetic IMO. It also makes people lump all on the left with these fools and gives everyone a bad name.

I prefer center.

:aright:

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