If there’s anything more unnecessary than religious rivalries and strife, I have no idea what they are. But religious conflict persists even though, in the United States in the 21st century, we know all too well how maladaptive, counterproductive, and even outright dangerous it can be. There are always religiously-inspired demagogues, it seems, willing to go after “enemies of the faith,” for no other reason than to go after them.

Example: A church in Gainesville, Florida which put a sign up on its lawn that says, “Islam is of the Devil.” The Gainesville Sun reports on the controversy:

The dozens of protesters who came and went from the sidewalk in front of the Dove World Outreach Center on Thursday had one thing in common. They each expressed — in varying degrees — their disapproval of a sign outside the church on Northwest 37th Street that proclaims “Islam is of the devil.”

The church’s reason for putting up the sign? Incredibly, it’s “love.” Yes, “love.”

The pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, Terry Jones, and his followers have said the sign is their way of expressing love for followers of Islam by letting them know that Christianity is the way to heaven.

Put simply, there is no “love” to be found in telling someone that they’re “of the Devil.” None. Not a speck. Fortunately these protesters know better, and they aren’t relenting:

None of the protesters who spoke to The Sun thought their efforts alone would convince the church to remove the sign. However, several expressed an opinion similar to John Fullerton’s.

“The idea of having this sign here without anyone saying anything makes us all complicit,” said Fullerton, a member of Veterans for Peace.

CNN did a report on this, as well, which you can see here:

The idea of “complicity by silence” is an interesting one, and something I rarely see acknowledged. All too many Americans — even some who do not agree with them — have, by their silence, allowed the Religious Right to drive the country closer to the theocracy they demand it to be. Their refusal to speak out against it, represents tacit permission to proceed.

In Gainesville, it seems, some have figured out that they cannot remain silent.

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