N.C. pastor stands by sign saying Quran should be flushed
The Associated Press
FOREST CITY, N.C. -- A Baptist minister refuses to apologize for a church sign saying the Muslim holy book should be flushed.
"I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong," said the Rev. Creighton Lovelace of Danieltown Baptist Church. "I knew that whenever we decided to put that sign up that there would be people who wouldn't agree with it, and there would be some that would, and so we just have to stand up for what's right."
Seema Riley, a Muslim born in Pakistan and reared in New York, said she moved to Rutherford County, about 60 miles west of Charlotte, for the "small-town friendly" atmosphere.
The church sign reading, "The Koran needs to be flushed," angered her and made her feel threatened, she said.
"We need a certain degree of tolerance," Riley said. "That sign doesn't really reflect what I think this county is about."
The sign is an apparent reference to a recent Newsweek magazine article that said U.S. investigators found evidence that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay placed copies of Islam's holy book in washrooms and had flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk.
The account has been blamed for protests in Afghanistan, where more than a dozen people died and scores were injured in rioting earlier this month, and demonstrations elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Lovelace said he expected the sign in front of his 55-member church to also stir anger in some people.
"If we stand for what is right and for God's word and for Christianity then the world is going to condemn us and so right away when I got a complaint I said, 'Well somebody's mad, somebody's offended, so we must be doing something right,'" Lovelace said.
Danieltown Baptist Church belongs to the Sandy Run Baptist Association. Each church in the association is autonomous, said the Rev. Jim Diehl, the group's director of missions.
"Each church can develop a stance on doctrinal issues and can develop its own stance on moral issues," he said.