THE BLOG
04/04/2011 01:12 pm ET Updated Jun 04, 2011

I Cannot Keep Silent Any Longer: An Open Letter to Pastor Terry Jones in Florida

There is not much that needs to be said, Rev. Jones, but what follows must be said. I can no longer sit back and quietly grumble to myself at your misguided Quran burning with an equally misguided flock in Florida.

There is something I must say:

I abhor your actions and, as a devout follower of Jesus Christ, I am embarrassed and ashamed that you would tarnish the larger Christian family with actions so obviously contrary to both Jesus' spirit and teachings.

Were he here now, I have no doubt but what he would show love and compassion to you in spite of your hateful behavior. But I'll confess: I'm struggling to find much forgiveness or tolerance for you whatsoever. I'm working on it and I'll get there. But I don't mind admitting that, at this juncture, it has been difficult for me.

And, frankly, I find it strikingly ironic that other Christians in this country, many of whom are constantly calling on moderate Muslims to denounce the bloody actions of the extreme elements within their fold, are so seemingly silent in publicly denouncing your actions as an extreme element within the Christian fold.

Maybe it isn't entirely their fault. Perhaps the media bears some of the responsibility for this. Mr. Jones, I travel all over this country consulting with church and parish leaders and speaking to religious groups of virtually every faith tradition imaginable. Most people of varied faith traditions that I meet, and none more so than other Christians, are repulsed by your actions and they wish the world to know that you represent neither the best in Christianity nor in any of them.

So it may just mean that the media is giving too much attention to the extreme behaviors of people in our culture. I'm clueless, too, as to whether anything can be done about it. But I want to go on record as voicing my disapproval of your actions and my deepest desire that your intolerance of other faith traditions and the violence you are perpetrating cease and cease now.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. But, like many other believing people in this country, I am open to and respectful of all spiritual traditions. Furthermore, I am an ardent student of Buddhist philosophy, as well as that of Lao-Tzu and others. And I stand side by side with the streams of tradition they and others represent. Furthermore, I stand with Desmond Tutu, Thich Naht Hanh, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and other contemporary spiritual masters whose calls for peace, justice, tolerance and cooperation have been heard and are being heeded by many of us.

Mr. Jones, this world cannot tolerate your hate. It may be your Constitutional right to express yourself as you do, but it is anything but appreciated. You may think you are justified in doing so, but you are not. You may feel you're helping usher in the "end of the world" or some kind of apocalyptic notion of armegeddon, but you will not. It is time that you, and the minority fringes in every religion like you, end your madness of believing, "We're right! You're wrong!" "We're in! You're out!" "We're the chosen ones, you're not!" The survival of humanity is at stake.

If you would but take time studying the religions you so hatefully abhor, you would discover there is far more that unites us than distinguishes us. So I would plead with you to end this madness. You actions are clearly contrary to Christ, whom you claim to represent. This kind of insanity must end. The Dalai Lama is right. "Until there is peace among the religions, there will be no peace in the world."