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Quran-Burning Pastor Terry Jones to Debate Atheist on Bible Display Right at Florida City Council Meeting

Jan 22, 2014 08:13 PM EST

Last week, it was reported that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) spoke against the Pinellas Park City Council for its public display of the Bible. On January 23, the FFRF will debate this cause against Christian pastor Dr. Terry Jones at the city council's meeting.

The issue escalated when the FFRF opposed the Bible being on display in a government setting because it violated the Constitution and promoted one religion above all. In a press release by the Central Florida Freethought Community, the FFRF released the remarks against the Bible display will be brought up in court on their behalf. "To place a Christian bible on this dais - at the very seat of government - is to proclaim that Christianity, the religion of only one segment of the populous, as the religion for all," read part of the press release.

The FFRF has claimed that their voices-alongside millions of nonreligious Floridians has gone unheard by the council. Now the issue will be brought forth at the City Council meeting, but with the addition of the countering side present as well.

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Opposing the view of the FFRF, Dr. Terry Jones has come forth to defend the display of the Bible. In a press release announced on his Facebook page, Dr. Jones and Stand Up America will be present at the Council meeting to defend "local governments....which should be allowed to make their own decisions concerning the displaying of the Bible and acknowledging God."

Terry Jones
Terry Jones at a hearing about his right to protest in Dearborn, Michigan, in 2011. (Reuters)

Dr. Jones, who is the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, famously garnered attention in 2010 when he planned to burn the Qur'an on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The event was heard worldwide and was ultimately cancelled as many deemed the plan as an act of "islamophobia."

 

Along with Stand Up America, Dr. Jones will fight for the "vast majority of the people in the United States who believe in a God and a Creator."

President David Williamson will be speaking on behalf of the FFRF to "urge [the council] to stop dividing citizens and to unite them as one nation, indivisible." They will propose to remove the "Christian Bible" and display the Constitution instead for equality.

The New King James Bible in the council room has been displayed since 1975 during the formation of the council building. According to Pinellas Park City Manager, Doug Lewis, the Bible was a gift in part by the Kiwanis Club, and is considered as "part of the history of the building."

The City Council meeting will take place Thursday, January 23 at 7:30 p.m. Stay tuned for developing coverage. 

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