September 9th, 2010
02:27 PM ET
12 years ago

White House blasts Florida church's plan to burn Qurans

Washington (CNN) - A Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks is a "monumentally terrible idea," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

The "hateful" and "offensive" act would be a "recruiting bonanza for al Qaeda," would endanger U.S. troops and "goes against every one of our values," he said.

Gibbs said there are discussions inside the Obama administration about intervening with the Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of Gainseville's Dove Center, which is organizing the planned Quran burning.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters Thursday it is possible that a senior administration official will call Jones.

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Filed under: Robert Gibbs • White House
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Voice of Reason

    While Terry Jones IS a complete idiot, i think the White House and Pentagon are going about this all wrong. The point is not that it will endanger American troops in Afghanistan – they are already in harms' way, and they know it. The point is that it is morally wrong to burn the Quran to protest 9/11. To paint the entire muslim world with that one, broad stroke is the moral equivilent of someone pronouncing Jihad against Americans due to the actions of the KKK. It simply isnt reasonable, and it is a narrow-minded, bigoted view of the world.

    To say, "Dont do this Quaran-burning thing, someone might get upset at us, and maybe do scary things..." makes us look like cowards. Rather take the moral high road, and say, "Dont do this thing because we are Americans, and we are better than that."

    September 9, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When we've got people like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck getting attention holding so-called religious rallies, Pastor Jones wants his day in the spotlight also. Who will be next.

    September 9, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. duffey

    This man (pastor) and his hillbilly flock can not be swayed from this offensive and inappropriate behavior. I hope the Media don't bother to show up when he does such a thing. This would prevent copycats (which is inevitiable) from doing similar things; however the targets may be Jews, Catholics, Racial Groups etc.

    I think the IRS should take a hard look @ the tax returns of all the members of this so called church. I think they might just find some irregularites with their tax filings!

    September 9, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Boston Guy

    This only goes to show how much hate Christians have towards anyone who doesn't bow down to their beliefs. There is NO difference in this Florida church than the crazy terriorist themselves.

    September 9, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Rob

    When the nutty Repubs take over, this Christian idiot will be the accepted norm in society. A bunch of racists.

    September 9, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Phil

    Why don't we see and hear the Republican and Tea Party leadership coming out strongly against this possible indicent Sat., 9/11?

    September 9, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. BILL, WI

    Now would be a good time to show intolerant and illiterate Muslim's a better way to express their outrage. Muslims are upset about a threat to burn the Koran....EDUCATE THEM ON FREE SPEECH. Why should we wet our pants if some illiterate loud mouth goes on a rant. We should point to the criticism that moronic Florida preacher has generated on how leaders of Muslim communities to use as examples of dealing with freedom of expression.

    September 9, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    I've got an awesome idea! Let's burn a big pile of bibles on July 4th! After all, Christianity is a terrorist religion. Just ask all the dead Native Americans. Have a nice day!

    September 9, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. mzmm

    couldn't the feds be standing by to arrest the minister for a "hate crime"? or maybe they could sic the IRS on him tonight, and have him under arrest for tax fraud by morning. that might keep him busy for awhile

    September 9, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Challenging Ignorance

    Wouldn't it be grand if at Beck's and Palin's 'fundrasier' on 9/11, if they weigh in on the Qaran burning by the bozos from Florida? Beck especially has fed this fire for years, and Palin is obviously fanning the flames.. Beck and Palin are the perfect representatives for this band of religious psychos.

    September 9, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Mitch Dworkin - Dallas, Texas

    The Koran burning scheduled for 9/11 by some kook should NOT be considered covered by First Amendment "free speech" in my opinion because it is a serious national security threat where many lives could be put in serious danger.

    Just like how First Amendment "free speech" does NOT legally cover someone shouting "fire" in a crowded theater which could cause a massive panic along with injuries, someone being able to talk about guns or hijacking at an airport, and someone talking about harming the President because all of these actions could lead to serious consequences and could also lead to copycats who will want their 15 minutes of fame; First Amendment "free speech" should also NOT legally protect that kook from publicly burning Korans on 9/11.

    When the top leaders in our government and the top generals are publicly calling this planned 9/11 Koran burning a serious threat to the lives of our troops, then a clear line is drawn in my opinion where I think that the law needs to step in and stop that kook from burning Korans in the best interest of our troops and the country just like how the law would step in and punish someone who shouted "fire" in a crowded theater, someone who talked about guns or hijacking at an airport, and someone who talked about harming the President.

    Mitch Dworkin
    Dallas, Texas

    September 9, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Norm

    Too bad that this idiots 15 minutes of fame will cost American lives.
    I wonder what would happen if the media didn't show up for the burning?

    September 9, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Independent

    MEDIA, just turn off your cameras and all reporters leave the area and see how long he stays out there.....NO film at 11 !!!!!!!

    September 9, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Mark

    I do not support the burning of the Quaran.The preacher has the right to burn the Quran, but it is not a good idea. Just like the Muslims have the right to build a Center close to "Ground Zero", but that is not a good idea either. The difference is that the White House is avoiding the Ground Zero issue, but not the Quran buring issue. Why is it okay to ignor the strong feelings of 9/11 victoms and the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers/Americans about a Muslim Center being built around Ground Zero, but at the same time be so concerned for the burning of the Quran. I think both are equally important and both are wrong.

    September 9, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. RLK

    Someone in this Administration from Petraeus to Obama should do something really different and actually read the U. S. Constitution!
    Why is a politician (sorry, I mean Army General) telling a church what to do? These people are not very good at the jobs they are already in, so this looks like a convenient way to deflect attention from their own obvious failures.

    September 9, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Romney/Gingrich in 2012

    It is a dumb idea to burn the Quran. Why not do service to the community or share a message of love and charity?

    September 9, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Ron in Califonia

    I looked up the word Jackass in the dictionary and there was a picture of "Pastor" Terri Jones. This guy and the 9'11 Mosque Iman are such misguided zealot they can't see reason. They only hurt their own causes.

    September 9, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. JES

    This guy is just plain stupid.

    He must be sitting on his brain.

    If he cared for the lives of Americans and our Military people he would cancel this stupid idea.

    September 9, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  19. Elizabeth

    This idiocy on the part of these whackos in Florida should fall under the
    "hate crimes" statutes. They should be arrested for inciting a riot and /or terrorist acts. We sure have a lot of stupid and ignorant people in this country. Freedom of speech is one thing but they are creating a clear and
    present danger to US soldiers and possibly the American Public. This is not acceptable in any case. Lock them up! Better yet, send them to Afghanistan to serve their country, if they are such patriots. This is what all the hate speak in this country has spawned. You can thank morons, like Beck, Palin , Hannity and Limbaugh for all this hate.

    September 9, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. Naqib

    This guy is a nut...
    He is baiting the Muslims... they claim to be peaceful.... however that will be hard to establish when that church gets burnt to the ground... or worse.

    Although I believe he has a right... as much as a flag or a bible... it's a very stupid move... IMO

    September 9, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. Mike in Northern Virginia

    People seem to have a stereotype that ALL muslims are extremist. I am not a muslim myself, I am chrisitian even though I classify myself in the "spiritual but no religious" category. However, In my job as a Dept of Homeland Security Officer, I have come to the opinion that a lot of born again christians are just as twisted as any islamic extremist. This article proves it. In the past, people have said to me "well, at least the christians are'nt blowing things up". They might not have yet....YET....but they are stirring up the pot, so it's only a matter of time before they do start blowing things up. The rednecks in Tennessee who burned the mosque are yet another example of Christian extremism. My point is screwed up people are screwed up people regardless of religion. In other words,christians can be terrorists and criminals as well. Acts like burning the quran and burning mosques will only stimulate terrorist network recruitment by groups like al-qaida and al-shabab and many others, as well as increase violence

    September 9, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. JLA

    This is what the hate-mongering of the right wing has brought us. The extreme right headed by the likes of Palin, Gingrich, Beck and Fox "news" kept fanning the flames of hatred and bigotry toward Muslims and now it has cumulated in "Quran burning." This will put our troops and all Americans abroad at risk. Why? Because the right wanted another wedge issue to create hatred and division among groups of Americans. They know that this helps divert attention from the fact that they have absolutely no new ideas on the economy and some of the "solutions" being put forth by members of the GOP include getting rid of Medicare and Social Security. Thanks, Palin, Beck, Gingrich and Fox "news" for putting our soliders at greater risk and putting Americans abroad in danger by creating this monster.

    September 9, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. obama victim

    well, with Barry being a Muslim.....guess they would do this

    September 9, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. sharon

    PLEASE READ THE QURAN!! There is wrong or evil teaching in the Quran. The Quran teaching God's love for all, and have the same passage as in the Bible. Those people who want to desrtoyed the Quran is also destroying Gods words. PLEASE READ THE QURAN OR PARTS OF IT. once you've you would agreed. And no Iam not a Muslim. (CNN please post this..Thank you).

    September 9, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Many Conservatives will criticize and demonize President Obama for saying that the burning of the Quran is......... wrong. That's fine.

    However, the President like all presidents before him swore to uphold our Constitution, so he wont stop Jones from burning the Quran, but President Obama is free to voice his opinion.

    I too, condemn the burning of the Quran and the outright racism against Muslims! It is wrong to hate a group of people. Even though some want to kill us, this does not give us the right to ......hate them.

    SO many Conservatives love to point out that we are a Christian Nation! However, I wonder what Gospel they are reading?

    IF you are condoning the burning of the Quran, you are not living the message of Jesus Christ, who said "My command is love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you........" (Matt. 7:44)

    IF you are against the building of the NYC Mosque, you have not read the Gospels, in which Jesus clearly tells us that we are not the Judge of mankind; that we are to LOVE our neighbors. Even those who wish to kill us.

    "Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people." ~ Heinrich Heine, a Jew who converted to Christianity because of persecution.

    Hate is not a Christian value.

    September 9, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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