The Koran-Burning Pastor Connection

The Koran-Burning Pastor Connection

Um, did I tell you that I am strangely sort-of linked to the church in Gainesville where the crazy Rev. Terry Jones wants to burn Korans (Quran??) is from?

It all began back in 1996 when I got accepted into the University of Florida, Home of the Fight Gators (GO GATORS, BEAT TENNESSEE!!). I started college that fall and immediately changed my major from BioChemistry, (uh, don’t ask- my mom had high hopes for me and signed me up for that one), to Sociology.

One of my Sociology courses in 1997 was a Religion course I took. The only grade of the semester was a ten page term paper about a religion that we were to “investigate” for the 18 weeks we were in the class. I chose a small Pentacostal church there in Gainesville cause, well, I saw a documentary on snake handlers in the back wood mountains of Georgia and I thought it was interesting. Ok, honestly I thought it was INSANE, but I’m trying to be nice and not judge here.

Actually, here’s a little fact you may not know about the Dove World Outreach Center– they call themselves a non-denominational “Charismatic” Christian church. But, if you look up “Charismatic Christian” on google, you will find that it is just another term for Pentacostal. They are well known for speaking in tongues, speaking to the Holy Spirit, and miracles such as healing. They (as in Pentacostals, not the Dove World Outreach Center) are also known for snake handling in back wood mountains. But, I digress…

I chose to go to the Dove World Outreach Center and I brought along one of my bestie sorority sisters, Brooke, for good measure and safety precautions.

Imagine a little girl with the “Rachel” haircut. You know….this one:

Ok, there’s me with that hair, and Brooke’s was pretty similar. Ahhh, don’t give me crap! You know you had it or some variation of it, too. OR you wanted it, whatever!

Anywho, both of us came with our trendy do’s and black slacks and a cute top. Very classic.

Apparently, not the right choice of hair or outfit for the conservative “Charismatic Christians.” They prefer their women with long hair down to their butt and skirts to their ankles. No pants. (think Duggars)

Yep. And, since this is a small congregation (they say 50 now, but I’m sure it was less then), it was obvious we were outsiders. I will say that the men were extremely friendly, but the women were not so much. While the men would come and introduce themselves and welcome us, the women shunned us and shot us silent eye daggers.

What was most interesting, though, was the “missionary” work they do. They’d go to the penitentiary in old Starke (home of Sparky- Florida’s electric chair) various times a week to give sermons and recruit new members.

So my point here is, should we be surprised that they want to hold a Koran burning ceremony tomorrow evening? Uh, no. The congregation has a strong convict population/influence.

I remember writing in my paper that it was ironic how they tended towards shunning me and my friend, educated women with no criminal records, and yet they had no problems going to the jails to recruit new members- specifically males.

I’m not sure what they’ll do tomorrow. Obviously, the City of Gainesville is not behind this, but you never know what people are capable of. My personal opinion is that it would be bad. Not all Muslims are terrorists and they don’t deserve to have their sacred religious documents burned. I’ll just stop here cause I’m not one to start political or religious arguments, and I’m not about to start one on here.

Just my two cents and my weird connection to this church.

PS- On a totally different side note here, one of my students brought a hair straightener to school and actually straightened her bangs three times in my class. I have her for two back-to-back periods so she did it before 3rd period, in between 3rd and 5th period, and after 5th period. She’s lucky she still has bangs, if you ask me. Remind me to search Tiny’s backpack for hair straighteners when she gets to high school.

One thought on “The Koran-Burning Pastor Connection

  1. Oh my word. This story has driven me crazy this week! I hate it that our sweet Gainesville has been brought to the national attention in such a negative light!And I remember Starke and Old Sparky. Never knew when a convict was wandering around Gainesville.And I remember when you had that haircut!!


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