Church: Koran Needs to be Flushed

A North Carolina Baptist church has sparked national controversy with a sign reading, “THE KORAN NEEDS TO BE FLUSHED.”

Church sign sparks debate (Digital Courier)

Photo: This sign posted in front of Danieltown Baptist Church has sparked debate in Rutherford County about religious tolerance.  THE KORAN NEEDS TO BE FLUSHED (Josh Humphries/Daily Courier) A sign in front of a Baptist church on one of the most traveled highways in the county stirred controversy over religious tolerance and first-amendment rights this weekend. A sign in front of Danieltown Baptist Church, located at 2361 U.S. 221 south reads “The Koran needs to be flushed,” and the Rev. Creighton Lovelace, pastor of the church, is not apologizing for the display. “I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong,” said Lovelace. “I knew that whenever we decided to put that sign up that there would be people who wouldn’t agree with it, and there would be some that would, and so we just have to stand up for what’s right.”

Seema Riley, a Muslim, who was born in Pakistan and reared in New York, was one of those upset by the sign. She moved to Rutherford County for the “small town friendly” atmosphere, she said. When she saw the sign on the side of the highway Saturday she felt angered and threatened. “We need a certain degree of tolerance,” said Riley. “That sign doesn’t really reflect what I think this county is about.” She said that according to Islamic faith, a follower does not even touch the Koran without going through a ritual cleansing. Muslims believe the physical book to be a sacred item that is treated with respect and reverence, much like the image of Jesus in Christianity, according to a report on National Public Radio. “For someone to put that sign up — the person just didn’t understand — didn’t take into consideration what putting up that sign means,” said Riley. “I don’t think it should be posted on a sign in public viewing on the highway to create a hostile environment for me.”

Riley’s views reflect my own preferences. Still, a Baptist church has every right to express the deeply held views of its congregation on road signs. Tolerance works both ways.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. whatever says:

    This story would get zero play – and the pastor wouldn’t have even thought about posting the sign – if it weren’t for the Newsweek story. I am not blaming Newsweek, but just another example of unintented consequences.

    And if Riley doesn’t like the sign she should ignore it. I have to ignore a lot of stuff I don’t like.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Presumably, the Newsweek story was the impetus for the sign.

  3. Rey says:

    The bravery shown by that little church and its pastor beats all I’ve seen from the limp-wristed, timid leaders of the faith. Go, go, Bro. Lovelace. I can’t possibly know whether you’re faithful to Christ under the Baptist Creed, but I can sure see you scorn Satan’s (they call him allah, I do believe) book of Muhamed’s vile screachings and virgins. May God protect you from his eartly minions (Muslims). My donation to your church is in the mail as I type.

  4. carpeicthus says:

    Rey should be flushed. What? I’m just being “brave.”

  5. Brian J. says:

    Glad they worked the address into the story.

    In case anyone, you know, wanted to drive by.

  6. ken says:

    The Reverand Lovelace is, of course, an ass. His in your face confrontational behavior is the exact opposite how a good Christian should behave. But here in America even assholes have the right to be assholes, whatever their excuse.

    Where I draw the line is in institutionalizing these attitudes in government agencies and civic entitites. Our founding fathers, although deists themselves, wanted a strictly secular government. They knew they had to protect not only themselves but also all posterity from true believers like Lovelace ever being able to weild the powers of government to further their narrowminded religious beliefs.

  7. Just Me says:

    I wonder if it would get so much criticism if he argued it was an artwork.

  8. Clint says:

    I am a Southern Baptist Minister. I am appalled by the sign. It is ridiculous. I am every bit as committed to God’s Word as anyone else, but I think that signs like that cause greater damage to the cause of Christianity than they do for good. Sure there were times in Scripture where Jesus was brash and bold and made some harsh comments, but it was always directed at the “religious leaders” of his day. I believe that the Bible is truth, but certainly Mr. Lovelace’s sign is certainly no way to foster interest in that truth or in Jesus Christ, who we preach.

  9. Matt says:

    There is only one Truth just as there is only one God, and there are myriad paths to the One Destination . The world’s religions are nothing more than various paths created by those who have gone before us. There is only One Thing and One Mind and its name is neither Jesus nor Mohammed. And its certainly not Baptist!

  10. Matt says:

    There is only one Truth just as there is only one God, and there are myriad paths to the One Destination . The world’s religions are nothing more than various paths created by those who have gone before us. There is only One Thing and One Mind and its name is neither Jesus nor Mohammed.

  11. legion says:

    Hmmmm. I wonder why so many Moslems around the world worry that the War on Terror might be just a thinly-veiled excuse to try to destroy the entire religion of Islam.

    Could it be…. assholes like this? Yeah.

  12. Clint says:

    I am saddened that you feel that way, I acknowledge this is no forum for a religious discussion, but there is only one way.

  13. Anderson says:

    There is only One Thing and One Mind and its name is neither Jesus nor Mohammed.

    Would Its name possibly be “Matt”?

    And my appreciation to the Reverend Clint; my 1st unworthy reaction to the story was that Southern Baptists should be allowed to act like So. Baptists, so as to warn the rest of us; but Clint reminds me of the good Baptists.

    Btw, if you want to be outraged by a different denomination, check this story out: Catholic school won’t let pregnant senior walk at graduation … but will let the guy who’s the father collect his diploma at the ceremony. Pro-life or pro-misogyny?

  14. Nathan says:

    I’m fairly sure the Bible doesn’t say “Being a bigot will reveal the true nature of the Kingdom of God”. At least not in my Bible.

    For all of those (including “whatever”) who agree with the sign or defend the pastor, let me turn the situation on you:

    What if you drove by a mosque and the sign said “The Bible needs to be flushed!” Would you just “ignore it”?

    Just a (snarky) thought…

  15. Muhammad says:

    Of course this pastor has the constitutional right to say whatever he wants but people should know that whoever preaches hate does not preach the message of God. Mr. Creighton Lovelace the pastor of this church is no different the Taliban who destroyed the Buddha statues. And if our government didn’t have double standards it would ostracize such people the same way we have ostracized the Taliban.

  16. Just Me says:

    “What if you drove by a mosque and the sign said “The Bible needs to be flushed!” Would you just “ignore it”?”

    What do you mean by “just ignore it?” Would I be offended? Yes, but I don’t know that I would go into fits. After all, as my joke intimated earlier, I have seen far more offensive things done to my religious beliefs, or images of Christ/my beliefs in the name of artwork/freedom of speech, and defended by the liberal left and then some that I figure a person can put a message like this on a sign. Certainly doesn’t speak well for the pastor or his church, but I figure he has the right to be offensive. Just as some artist has the right to toss a crucifix in a jar of piss and call it art, and get taxpayers money to do it.

  17. whatever says:

    Actually Nathan if I saw a Mosque with that sign I would say “whatever” and go about my business. I wouldn’t go onto NPR and whine about it, that’s for sure.

    For every belief I hold there is someone out there who would put up a sign that would offend that belief. And if I got upset about it, I would go around upset all the time. Plus, in this country, people can post signs I don’t agree with, so why worry about any of them?

  18. Jenny says:

    I think the sign is deliberately offensive and disrespectful. I don’t see intolerance as a sign of being a true Christian. I do, however, see it as typical of many people who call themselves Christians.

    Sure, he has the right to say whatever he wants. It doesn’t make him any less of a jackass.

  19. writing_here says:

    FYI to “Rey” – in some languages the English word “God” is translated “Allah” in the Bible. The Bible just paints a different picture that the Koran, but Allah still equals God. So, I’d be careful about going around and saying that the word for God in another language was Satan’s name, cause I don’t think God likes that.

  20. AlanDownunder says:

    What Rev.Clint said. Also, the US is in Iraq & Afghanistan to win hearts & minds, to foster democracy. Things like Rev.Lovelace’s sign and this are unhelpful. They put US troops and reconstruction workers in greater danger.

  21. McGehee says:

    That sign demonstrates that God isn’t the only one who moves in mysterious ways. The only thing coming out of that church is mischief.

  22. Jazz says:

    It’s things like this that make me turn away from Christianity. The pastor was just thinking about himself. These things incite anger and fear, and that is what he has done. I wouldn’t call this doing God’s work. What a hypocrite.

  23. Rey says:

    The question of weather a mosque put up a sign is less relevant than if it preached that I and my children should be beheaded or mutilated in some hideous way that pleased their allah god. The quesion would be should I worry that Muslims (satan’s children) push for strap-a-bomb on their own to kill others. Would I, a Christian, care if they put up some sign? Did I panic with crosses in urine as art or workplaces full of God’s name used in vain? Most of us Saints are quite jaded to Sodom, and as Lot did, we mind my own business. How silly to think a mere portable sign, in an age of the dead pedofile-prophet Muhammed’s modern-day wack-job deciples’ slaughter, should even gain a glance. Oh, that they would just use rented signs to make their point!

    The Koran calls for the death of those who will not submit to their allah god, the “suras” praise blood-letting. If some preacher wants to call for flushing that down the drain, then let me help throw the pages in. If others are of so little faith and are so afraid to defend the believers, they can surely find some place to hide.

  24. Rey says:

    As an aside, I should point out that “allah” was historically a pegan deity, sometimes a “moon-god,” that was worshipped among primitives in Arabia prior to Muhammed’s fantasies and flirtations with mono-theistic innovatins. I say the allah god is not God, Buddha is not God, Shiva is not God, Quetzequatl is not God… etc. What someone else believes is their problem, and one can write, as I do, what they please. Just don’t cut my head off should I declare my faith.

  25. Mayer says:

    I think the Rev. Creighton Lovelace and his supporters need to be flushed. Some are talking about the right of free speech as guaranteed by the constitution. Let me see, is that the constitution of the Jesus Christ or the Bible that says you are free to say whatever you want. If the rev. is so Godly then why does he follow the constitution that so many seculars follow. This is exactly why Islam is the true and complete religion of God, because Islam does not allow us to say or do such things about other religions. I know you are thinking about Taliban, but the Taliban were not elected by the people.

  26. americans suck says:

    I wipe my ass with the bible, fuck america and its inbred jesus freaks

  27. aqeel says:

    i feel sorry for those who are responsible for posting this sign.they are ignorant as they are not sincere with Jesus and Christianity.
    for their knowledge, in this Koran from the miraculous birth of Jesus (peace be upon him)to all aspects of his life, all are mentioned.
    in it along with his miracles making dead alive, curing leprosy patients and such others which also mentioned in bible, there is another miracle which is only one mentioned in Koran that he spoke in the cradle when he was born without a father.
    there is one whole chapter in Koran named ‘Mary’ mother of Jesus (peace be upon him) .
    it is so ridiculous that every Muslim believes Jesus is coming before day of judgment to bring peace in the world and his so called followers have this kind of behavior against book of God, the Koran.

  28. David says:

    Nice sign! Then Americans wonder why their sons and daughters are being targeted in Iraq and elsewhere with IED’s and Car Bombs. It would not suprise me in the least if his story sparks a whole new round of attacks against US Personnel overseas as it has now been picked up by Al Jazeera and broadcast across the Arab world. Thank you ignorant xians! Your arrogance has likely just caused another load of flag-draped boxes to be sent back to Dover AFB in the comming days. 🙁

  29. Mir Omar Ali says:

    Mir Omar Ali said…

    1. Why is the Prophet Muhammad-Allah bless him, mentioned 14 times in the Gospel of St. Barnabas [one of the 12 disciples]?

    2. Why did the Prophets of Allah, Adam, Nooh, Ibraheem, Yaqoob, Yoosuf, Daawood, Sulaymaan, Moosaa and Eesaa [Jesus, may Allah bless them all] never say that Allah has a begotten son, who is a part of Allah and his blood will forgive all sin?

    3. How will Allah, The Almighty and Just, judge Christians based on their faith in the “blood of Jesus” and the rest of mankind before him, based on their faith and actions according to it?
    That is not fair.

    4. Why was the “Bible” compiled >200 years after the Prophet Eesaa-may Allah bless him, and done so by 4 authors in third-person narrative? Why has the Bible been “revised” many times?

    5. What language was the Bible revealed in? Why is it not preserved in that language?

    6. Why are all the names of the Prophets corrupted into Latinized forms? Even Jesus’ name is not Jesus, it is Eesaa. The “J’s” are all Latinized corrupted additions; Eg. Jacob is really Yaqoob, Joseph is really Yoosuf, Jonah is Yoonus, etc.

    7. Why did Jesus use the word, Allah, and you “God”?

    In contrast to the above, The Holy Qur’aan is the literal Word of Almighty Allah, in first-person narrative, uncorrupted [as promised by Almighty Allah in the Qur’aan] till the Day of Resurrection, still present in the original language, word-for-word, letter-for-letter, memorized by millions, recited by ~2 billion [BBC statistic-Muslim Census] in their 5-times a day ritual prayer, every single verse of which is true, containing miraculous facts and scientific wonders from the past, present and future that are taking place even today in far-off lands.

    8. As regards to “Book of lies, father of lies.”: First put the Qur’aan next to your Bible and compare. Ask Almighty Allah for guidance and choose. That is, if ou are brave enough.

  30. osman says:

    what that church does is not a good thing. but anyway, they help the world understand how usa is thinking. thanx mr. hate!