Repent Amarillo’s David Grisham says attempt to burn Koran cost him job at nuclear plant

David Grisham

David Grisham, the whacko preacher who serves as director of Repent Amarillo, says his attempt to burn a Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 last year has cost him his job at Pantex, a nuclear power plant where he worked as a security guard for the last 25 years.

Repent Amarillo goes by the moniker “Army of God” and refers to itself as the “special forces of spiritual warfare.” The group launched a boycott of Houston after the city elected on openly gay mayor, Annise Parker. Repent Amarillo has also gained attention for a campaign to shut down a local swingers club, as well as a “warfare map” posted on its website identifying its enemies in Amarillo.

Grisham is currently running for mayor, and his campaign inspired transgender woman Sandra Dunn to enter the race.

MyHighPlains.com reports:

Grisham says on Wednesday, an official at Pantex Guards Union told him a termination letter was on its way. Grisham was placed on paid administrative leave December 23, 2010 after being placed on restricted duty for trying to burn the Quran in Sam Houston Park on September 11, 2010. The planned burning was stopped by a group of protesters. …

Grisham claims Pantex told him because he’s been gone from work more than 90 days, he no longer has a security clearance, so he no longer has a job. …

“They tried to find an administrative way by the stroke of a pen to take away my right to free speech,” says Grisham.

Really? Free speech? Last we checked, the First Amendment doesn’t include the right to work at a nuclear power plant.

—  John Wright

Would-Be Koran Burner Gets Free Car

Florida Pastor Terry “Burn The Koran” Jones is getting a free car from a New Jersey dealership that is making good on their promise to give him one if he didn’t follow through on his plan.

Car dealer Brad Benson made the pitch to Florida pastor Terry Jones in one of his quirky radio ads: If you don’t burn a Koran, I’ll give you a new car. He was surprised, though, when a representative for Jones called to collect the 2011 Hyundai Accent, retailing for ,200. “They said unless I was doing false advertising, they would like to arrange to pick up the car,” Benson recalled. At first he thought it was a hoax, so Benson asked Jones to send in a copy of his driver’s license. He did. Jones, of Gainesville, Fla., told The Associated Press that the free car wasn’t the reason he called off the burning — and that he didn’t even hear about the offer until a few weeks after Sept. 11, when he had threatened to set the Muslim holy book on fire.

At least it’s their cheapest car.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Who’s the bigger threat to U.S. national security, Terry Jones or Dallas’ own Robert Jeffress?

Terry Jones is pastor of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., which plans to burn Korans to mark nine years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Robert Jeffress is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Dallas, which has been promoting a video (above) in which Jeffress calls Islam a “violent” and “evil” religion that, among other things, “promotes pedophilia.” WTF?

While Jones is making headline news for his dangerous bigotry, Jeffress’ rant seems to have gone largely unnoticed. Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News had a good column about Jeffress’ rant this weekend, but other than that we haven’t seen much coverage. (UPDATE: Robert Wilonsky notes that Unfair Park covered this before The DMN.)

Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Afghanistan, has warned that Jones’ church’s plans to burn Korans will jeopardize U.S. military efforts and put us and our troops in greater danger. As Blow pointed out, Jeffress statements do essentially the same thing.

Seriously, folks, someone needs to muzzle Jeffress, who is perhaps best known to the LGBT community for his “Why Gay Is Not OK” sermon a few years back. The scary thing is that while Jones’ church has only 50 members, First Baptist has umpteen thousands.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Talking Points Memo has a post up noting that Jeffress responded to Blow’s criticism during his Sunday sermon:

“Uninformed, I am not,” Jeffress said in his sermon on Sunday as a response.

“It does incite violence. It is used to oppress women around the world,” he added, continuing that he “was not talking about this country” when referencing pedophilia. But, Jeffress said, “the worst thing about Islam is that it is a deception that leads people from the true God.”

Jeffress contended that “we do not hate Muslims” and noted: “I have a very good friend here in Dallas who is a Muslim.”

—  John Wright

Tell me what you think …

What constitutes “hate speech”?

A large number of religious leaders opposed the recently-enacted Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Law because they said it would make it a criminal offense for them to preach in their churches that homosexuality is a sin. But is that hate speech, or a reasonable expression of religious beliefs?

I don’t think the new law encroaches on anyone’s ability to preach that kind of sermon. I don’t think it’s hate speech, although I know plenty of people disagree with me on that. Many, many people do believe that homosexuality is a sin, and surely they have the right to express that belief.

But if a preacher stands in his or her pulpit on a Sunday morning and tells the congregation that God says homosexuals should be put to death and then encourages the members of that congregation to carry out God’s word — is that hate speech? Is that constitutionally protected?

Would your opinion of whether or not someone expressing their religious views constituted “hate speech” change if the person were an Imam in an Islamic extremist sect saying that the Koran teaches that the U.S. is “the great Satan” and that Allah decrees Americans should be killed, and then encouraging his followers to stage attacks to carry out Allah’s decree?

Where do we draw the line? Do we draw a line at all? Should people be able to say whatever they want just because they believe a religious text tells them to? How do we decide what is “valid” religious text? Is the Bible more valid than the Koran or the Book of Mormon or the teachings of Buddha?

Tell me what you think.

—  admin