What if Pastor Jones Held a Rally and Nobody Came?
His notoriety is such that, upon hearing his name, you might be tempted to ask, "Pastor who?" On this date one month ago, the name of Pastor Terry Jones had maxed-out the search engines of planet Earth.
The pastor who remained steadfast and unwavering in his plan to publicly burn copies of the Koran, brought to mind images of a famous Ray Bradbury classic and brought to reality mass riots in Indonesia. To the relief of all humans who do not reside in a cave, Jones backed off the book burning.
No matter. His cause had gone viral which meant his name was no longer confused with that of the Monty Python cast member, having rolled off the lips of anybody who might even know somebody with access to news media of any kind. Perhaps hoping to ride that publicity wave a bit longer, the Gainesville, Fl.-based pastor decided to hold a rally in a bigger city, at a bigger venue.
Off to Tampa went Pastor Jones where he rented a convention ballroom to accommodate at least 500 supporters for the "Stand Up For America" rally on Sunday. He even hired off-duty policemen for ample security. Security wasn't necessary, it turns out. Neither was the ballroom. Security staff outnumbered all ten rally-goers in attendance.
That big wave Pastor Jones was riding crashed sooner than anyone expected. News sources quoted him: "We are in a pitiful condition in our country," Jones said. "This proves that. I don't know if they're scared off by the police or scared off by me."
The only available photo of the event, taken by Scott McIntyre of the St. Petersburg Times, shows the dark-suited and tall Pastor Jones standing on a stage, solo, as though taking questions from the handful participants. An American flag graced the stage at the other end, unfurled and calmly displayed from a pole with a golden eagle at the tip.