Skip to comments.Baptist pastor's words shock Muslim leaders : "Mohammad a 'possessed pedophile"
Posted on 06/12/2002 12:00:31 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
ST. LOUIS - A former Southern Baptist Convention president stirred interfaith tumult when he described Muhammad, Islam's revered founder, as a "demon-possessed pedophile."
The Rev. Jerry Vines made the comments Monday night at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference, drawing strong denunciation from Muslim leaders Tuesday when his statements were publicized.
But the Rev. Jack Graham, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Rev. James Merritt, outgoing president, supported Vines.
Hodan Hassan, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Council for American-Islamic Relations, said Vines' comments were divisive and inaccurate.
"This kind of hate-filled rhetoric is very shocking," Hassan said. "It is especially surprising to see it coming from someone of that stature making such a statement concerning a religion that is practiced by one-fifth of the world's population."
Vines, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., deplored the rising tide of pluralism.
"Today, people are saying all religions are the same," Vines said. "They would have us believe Islam is just as good as Christianity. But I'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that Islam is not as good as Christianity. Christianity was founded by the virgin-born Lord Jesus Christ. Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives and his last one was a 9-year-old girl."
Muslims maintain that they are the descendants of the Judeo-Christian progenitor Abraham and serve the same God as Jews and Christians, even though they call him Allah.
But Vines said: "Allah is not Jehovah. Jehovah is not going to turn you into a terrorist that'll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people."
Hassan said, "I would hope that responsible people of the Southern Baptist Convention would deliver a strong denunciation of Reverend Vines' comments."
But during a news conference Tuesday, Graham quoted from Unveiling Islam, which was written by two former Muslims who are professors at conservative Baptist theological schools. Authors Ergun Caner, an assistant professor at Criswell College in Dallas, and Emir Caner, an assistant professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., said Muhammad had numerous concubines and 13 wives, including the 9-year-old girl, Graham said.
Syad Ahsani of Arlington, Southwest regional chairman of the American Muslim Alliance, said Muhammad was betrothed to the child, which was a common practice; however, such marriages weren't consummated until children reached adolescence.
Hassan said it is not known when Muhammad's marriage was consummated.
Muhammad was involved in polygamy, but so were early Jewish leaders, others said.
Selod Faroog, an orthopedic surgeon and an Islamic spokesman in Fort Worth, said: "People who can't face the truth come out and make accusations like this. If Muhammad was heavily involved in multiple wives, he wouldn't have had time to spend all night praying like tradition says."
Reaction to Vines' comment came as the annual meeting formally began with about 9,600 messengers, or delegates. President Bush addressed the Baptists by satellite Tuesday morning, praising them for their belief that religion should not be separated from political life.
Later, 12 gay activists from the California-based SoulForce, perennial protesters at the convention, were arrested as they tried to disrupt Merritt's convention message. Some protesters shouted, "Please hear us. ... God loves his gay and lesbian children," before they were carried away by police and charged with trespassing motivated by religious discrimination.
Outside, 37 people were arrested when they refused to obey a police order not to turn away from the America's Center. They were charged with failing to obey a police officer.
Merritt worked the protesters into his sermon, saying they are examples of the nation's "culture war" going on in the nation.
"We love homosexuals," he said. "God loves homosexuals, but he loves them too much to leave them homosexuals."
Still, some Southern Baptists said Vines' comments could hurt efforts for Muslims and Christians to work together.
"That language is so offensive that it tears down any bridge we might have to speak to Muslims about Christianity," said Bruce Prescott, executive director of Oklahoma Mainstream Baptists, a moderate group.
Even some conservatives who agree with Vines' assessment had reservations about his statements.
Richard Land, director of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said, "I agree with Dr. Vines: There is no way to salvation except through Jesus Christ." But Vines' language differed from what he would use, Land said.
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said that Muhammad is a complex figure and that he did not know enough about his life to comment on the pedophile accusation.
Baptists have angered other religious groups with their statements and tactics. Some Baptist congregations prayed for the conversion of Muslims to Christianity during Ramadan, a period for religious observances in Islam.
Baptists distributed literature on how to convert Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, which they describe as "cults," in 2000.
In 1999, some Baptists publicly called for prayers during Jewish holy days for conversion of Jews to Christianity.
In other action Tuesday, Baptist moderates asked that Southern Baptist missionaries who were hired under older Baptist Faith and Message Statements be allowed to continue serving even if they refuse to affirm the newer, more controversial 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.
The requests were referred to the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, effectively killing them.
Another motion asked the Southern Baptist Convention to recognize only one state convention in each state. Texas, Virginia and Missouri have competing state conventions.
If approved, it could severely affect the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which is controlled by moderates. An alternative convention, the Southern Baptists of Texas, led by conservatives, is strongly supported by the national Southern Baptist Convention.
Staff writer Brett Hoffman contributed to this report.
Gotta love those 'tell it like it is' preacher-men! LOL!
Huh? Is this a valid charge? "Religious Discrimination"? No, perhaps "tresspassing motivated by the preaching of God's truth". And, why does the motivation for the tresspassing matter?
Finally somebody with the guts to state the obvious! Islam is a cult founded by devil worshippers.
Israel, tear down those domes and expel the evil ones from your nation!
This pastor hasn't said anything that isn't the truth, but now what he says is hate filled. I'm glad that my fellow Southern Baptists got one right about Islam and the homo crowd.
You forgot that he went beyond the black stump! (common Aussie phrase for all yours above)
Let them get mad...or have ill-will. For way too long we've had to be concerned about how the other guy feels. If they think we dissed their religion, then maybe they ought to take a good hard look at what their religion being used to do. My catholic friends are having a serious test of faith now, and I think all muslims need to look a who has hijacked their religion and what is being done with it.
They are alike. They are both people of the lie.
How can one "work together" with someone who seeks to destroy you? Why is the truth always so offensive to the spineless? I have faith that speaking the truth to Muslims - not watering it down - is the only way to win them to Christ.
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