Contact: Peggy Nienaber, Faith and Action, 202-236-0953
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Rev. Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), president of Faith and Action in Washington, DC, is a critic of Pastor Terry Jones, the Gainesville, Florida, minister who has publicly burned Korans and promoted an anti-Islam film that has incited the Muslim world. Rev. Schenck met with Pastor Jones and convinced him to call off his first Koran burning on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2010. A colleague of Rev. Schenck, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, later retrieved the condemned Korans for safe keeping. Schenck still has one of those Korans defaced by the words "Burn It" in his office. Still, Rev. Schenck today defended Jones' right to free speech, even if it is offensive and abhorrent. He denounced the issuance of arrest warrants in Egypt for Jones and other Americans associated with the offensive film.
Rev. Schenck commented, "For Egypt to issue this arrest warrant for an American citizen exercising his constitutionally protected, God-given freedom of speech is an outrageous insult. America has come to Egypt's aid numerous times and has poured billions of dollars into its economy. I've traveled to Egypt and I've seen first hand how its citizens have suffered because they are denied basic human rights such as the right to air one's opinion. This is why so many Egyptians seek to live in the United States. Here we are free to say what we want, even if it is offensive."
Rev. Schenck made it clear he does not support Pastor Jones or his opinions on Islam, but he defends Jones' right to speak his mind, even if it is insulting to others.
Schenck continued, "It is sad and reprehensible for a Christian to mock and deride others as Terry Jones has done. Jesus taught that we are to treat our neighbors as we ourselves would be treated. Terry Jones doesn't want to be painted as a killer because certain Christians have killed in the name of Christ. For that reason, he should not paint all Muslims with a broad brush. Neither would he want his faith mocked or disparaged. By doing exactly that to Muslims, he violates the law of Christ. His actions are definitively un-Christian and maybe even anti-Christian. Nevertheless, he has an inherent right to air his opinions, regardless of how preposterous they may be."
Rev. Schenck is available for comment at 202-236-0953.