Quran-burning pastor upsets old German flock

Rev. Terry Jones' former parishioners in Cologne remember him as an authoritarian who preached hatred of Islam

Topics: Religion, Germany, Islam,

Quran-burning pastor upsets old German flockRev. Terry Jones

Too late, General Petraeus: The Rev. Terry Jones’s plan to burn thousands of Qurans at his “Dove World Outreach Center” in Gainsville, Florida on September 11 has already grabbed the world’s headlines this week, regardless of what actually does or doesn’t happen on Saturday. It has attracted particular attention in the German city of Cologne, where the pesky pastor first got his big break. But his former parishioners want nothing to do with the man.  

Today, Stephan Baar, deputy chairman of the charismatic “Christian Congregation of Colognetold journalists that “We distance ourselves from this action and do not want to be associated with it. We are very disturbed by [the plan]. Jones himself embodies the spirit he condemns – this propensity to violence, this fanaticism – within himself.” This is strong language coming from a church that Jones founded in Cologne in the 1980s after receiving a “sign from God.”    

You Might Also Like

For a time, Jones had up to 1,000 followers in this predominantly Catholic city. However, according to Baar, Jones did not project “biblical standards and values” to the outside, but instead sought to establish himself as a personality. Members recall him as a charismatic but extremely authoritarian personality who “brainwashed” his parishioners, urged them to beat their children if they got out of line, and established strict hierarchies. To this day, some members of his flock are supposedly still in psychiatric care. He may also have exploited them financially.

In later years, Jones identified Islam as his greatest enemy and preached against it in the most extreme terms imaginable. Things got so bad that some members claim they avoided attending services for fear that Muslims would attack them on the way to church.

In 2002, a Cologne court sentenced Jones to a 3,000 Euro fine for claiming a fake doctoral title. The church finally kicked Jones out in 2008 for “financial irregularities in the congregation.” He appears to have left the group after paying a four to five-digit sum. They haven’t had any contact with him since.   

Will Jones bow to pressure from the US Government and General David Petraeus, who fear that his planned Quran burning will unleash a firestorm of Muslim aggression against US citizens and interests? Don’t count on it, Baar says. “Terry Jones is someone who completes what he sets out to do when he views it as God’s will.”  

The Christian Congregation of Cologne, which has since shrunk to a mere sixty to eighty members, is delighted to be rid of Jones. “Thank God we’ve got nothing more to do with him,” says parishioner Diana Breuel. Still, the group isn’t taking any chances. They’ve decided to change their name — immediately. 

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>