Evangelical leaders blasted a Gainesville, Florida, church's plans to burn Qur'ans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm - 9pm, we will burn the Koran," Dove World Outreach Center announced on its Facebook page, "in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!"
"Dove World Outreach Center, shame on you," responded Angel Nuñez, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
"If I want to win a Muslim to Christ, I surely won't do it by burning the Qur'an in public and provoking them to hate us more," said Nuñez. "The greatest weapon a Christian has is godly love."
The National Association for Evangelicals released a statement Thursday urging the church, which averages 50 attendees each Sunday, to call off the event.
"It sounds like the proposed Qu'ran burning is rooted in revenge," said NAE president Leith Anderson. "The most powerful statement by the organizers of the planned September 11th bonfire would be to call it off in the name and love of Jesus Christ."
"I think it is appalling, disgusting, and brainless," said Richard Land, director of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I think that those of us who find what they are doing abhorrent should say so, and say so publicly and often."
Land added that the church's actions "besmirch the reputation of our Savior, and that makes it blasphemy."
"Followers of Christ and Americans don't burn books. Nazis burn books," said Chris Seiple, president of the Institute for Global Engagement.
"Christians are commanded to 'love because he first loved us,'" Seiple said, quoting 1 John 4:19. "Religious freedom is the essence of America—the ...