A Florida pastor has hung an effigy of President Barack Obama on the grounds of his church, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla.
A dummy with an Obama mask was hung from a wooden, gallows outside the church, which numerous media reports describe as cult-like. In the foreground of the display, Jones planted a rainbow flag and erected an “Uncle Sam” stick figure holding an American flag. In the background was a trailer draped with a sign reading “Obama is killing America.”
Dove pastor Terry Jones said he was protesting the president’s positions on abortion rights and gay marriage.
He announced the display with a press release that called the president anti-American, anti-Christian and a proponent of “radical Islam.” Jones said he was “hanging (Obama) high as a symbol of what America needs to do.”
The pastor denied he was making any racial statement with the display.
He told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, “We are not looking at him as a black man. He is not black; he is not white; he is the president of the United States,” he said. “And the noose, of course, was to represent the death of his presidency and political career. Not at all to represent his race… His race has absolutely nothing to do with it.”
Jones said he has been contacted twice by the Secret Service about the display.
Jones grew up in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where he attended high school along with Rush Limbaugh. He founded a church in Cologne, Germany, where he was fined by a court for falsely using “Dr.” in his title. The Gainesville Sun has reported that Jones left the church in Germany facing an allegation of fraud.
In Florida, as the head of the Dove World Outreach Center, Jones made headlines for burning the Quran, sparking deadly riots in Afghanistan.
Last fall, he announced plans to run as an independent for president.