TAMPA, Florida - A local reverend is joining leaders in Afghanistan, Washington, and The Vatican in speaking out against the planned Quran-burning in Gainesville on September 11.
On Sunday, Rev. Fr. Andrew Heyes of St. Clement Episcopal Church will preach against a Gainesville church's planned protest of Islam.
"It shows a lack of Christian concept of grace and love that we should offer to all people, no matter of what faith or no faith," Heyes said. "The idea of book-burning is kind of the first-resort of a Totalitarian regime, rather than a free country, which the U.S. is."
Heyes says the extremists in Gainesville are a tiny portion of the population, but their acts will hurt the reputation of all Christians and Americans. He remembers the lessons learned from 2001 when racial riots exploded in his native England.
"I myself was subject to people throwing stones at me, threatening me with baseball bats, things like that," Heyes recalled. "So it wasn't an experience you wanted to wish upon anybody."
On Tuesday, the White House said the Quran-burning could endanger U.S. troops overseas, while the State Department called the plan "un-American."
The Vatican newspaper also published a critical story Tuesday with the headline, "No one burns the Quran."
But Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center maintains the "Burn a Koran Day" will go on to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
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