St. Petersburg, Florida (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday called this weekend’s planned Quran burning in Gainesville “deplorable” but said there is little he can do to stop the protest.
“We have freedom of speech at work here, but I think common decency would dictate that this would not occur and that we would be respectful and are a respectful people of all religions,” Crist told reporters during a tour of a Veterans Affairs facility in St. Petersburg.
The governor said he had attempted to contact Pastor Terry Jones, the man behind the protest, to dissuade him from moving forward, but has so far been unsuccessful. He said he left messages with one of the church’s associate pastors, Stephanie Sapp.
“I left voicemails to try to communicate and express the concern on behalf of all Floridians about not doing this Saturday in Gainesville,” Crist said. “That having that kind of disrespect for any religion is inappropriate anywhere in America. So I am hopeful to be able to get in touch with them and share that plea.”
Asked if President Obama should reach out to Jones in an effort to discourage him, Crist said, “I don't know why it would hurt for anyone to try and persuade this from happening. That's why I'm trying to get in touch with him. I think it's a good idea.”