Quran Burning Pastor Was Expelled From German Church He Founded After His Radicalism Alienated Congregation
This post originally appeared on Think Progress.
Before Rev. Terry Jones was being condemned by the White House and military commanders in Afghanistan for his planned “International Burn a Quran Day,” he was a pastor at an evangelical church he founded in the 1980s in Cologne, Germany. Jones grew the congregation of the Christian Community of Cologne to as many as 1,000 members, but his radical, hate-filled preachings eventually got him expelled from the church. According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, Jones ruled the church like a tyrant, even as his sermons became increasingly Islamaphobic and hateful, prompting his congregation to kick Jones and his wife out of the church last year:
Various witnesses gave SPIEGEL ONLINE consistent accounts of the Jones’ behavior. The pastor and his wife apparently regarded themselves as having been appointed by God, meaning opposition was a crime against the Lord. Terry and Sylvia Jones allegedly used these methods to ask for money in an increasingly insistent manner, as well as making members of the congregation carry out work. [...]
Jones became increasingly radical as the years went by, former associates say. At one point he wanted to help a homosexual member to “pray away his sins.” Later he began to increasingly target Islam in his sermons. A congregation member reported that some members were afraid to attend services because they expected to be attacked by Muslims. “Terry Jones has a talent for finding topical social issues and seizing on them for his own cause,” says Schäfer.
Former members of Jones’ German church described a “ climate of fear and control” and said Jones insisted on “blind obedience.” Some former congregants are even “still undergoing therapy as a result of ’spiritual abuse.’” A German Protestant Church official familiar with Jones even said the pastor has a “delusional personality.”
In a heated interview on Thom Hartmann’s radio show, Jones confirmed that he had been the head of the Christian Community of Cologne, but refused to respond to Der Spiegel’s allegations, telling Hartman, “If you want to discuss 9/11, that will be fine, if not, I guess we will have to end this conversation”:
In response to his plan to burn Qurans, Jones’ old church, said, “We want to distance ourselves fully from this plan and from Jones.” “We are as shocked as the rest of the world,” said Jones’ successor Stephan Baar, adding, “This has nothing to do with us and nothing to do with our beliefs.”