PALM CITY, FL (WFLX) - A Gainesville pastor is refusing to back down from a plan to burn copies of the Koran on 9-11. Pastor Terry Jones says he wants to send a message that radical Islam should not be tolerated.
Not even warnings from government and military leaders have been enough to convince him to call it off. They worry it could incite violence on our military troops.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the calls for Jones to reconsider Wednesday. "It doesn't, in any way, represent America or Americans or American government, American political or religious leadership."
"It is possibly time, in a new way, to actually stand up and confront terrorism. There is something very much wrong with our policies," said Pastor Jones. He's become a target in this burning controversy, and is now carrying a gun after receiving more than 100 death threats.
But, a little more than 200 miles away from the controversial planned Koran burning at a Florida church, a different congregation in Palm City prays for peace and American service men and women overseas.
In the Bible study sits Lorilei Lust. She's a mother of two servicemen, Brian and Chris. Brian is about to head to Afghanistan for his fourth tour of duty. "My heart's already overthere," said Lorilei
She says there is no excuse for the mass Koran burning that Terry Jones, the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, has planned for this Saturday, September 11 at his church.
If he follows through with his plan, it will make it even harder for her to say goodbye to her son. "There's no one in his family that can be military, or anyone he knows, because if he did, he'd think about what he is doing," she said.
World leaders from the pope to the top U.S. military commander have said the firey demonstration will put our troops at an even greater risk of harm. "What we are aiming at is that radical element," said Jones.
Still, Jones says, he will not to cave into the pressure to halt his public and controversial condemnation of the Muslim faith.
In downtown Stuart, preparations are underway for their annual 9-11 Memorial. Organizer Dennis McKenna also has a son headed to war, and he was a first responder to the World Trade Center attacks nine years ago.
He says if Jones is not going to listen to world leaders, he should listen to people, like him and Lorilei Lust, who have a lot more to loose. "I think it's a sad day when you have a preacher looking to burn spiritual literature. There's something wrong there."