Terry Jones, the Florida pastor threatening to burn a Koran tomorrow on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was a high school classmate of Rush Limbaugh.
The Cape Central High School (Missouri) website
has the perhaps unsurprising coincidence front and center, noting:
"Rush Limbaugh USED to be Cape Girardeau's most prominent export. One of his classmates from the Central High School Class of 1969 is dominating the news right now: Terry Jones, the Gainesville, FL, preacher who is threatening to hold an 'International Burn a Koran Day' on September 11."
Gregg Hopkins, a Cape Central alum, recalled Jones in a comment on the site:
"I knew him the early 70s. He graduated from Central (I think) in 69. He was a funny, friendly guy back then, when he was dating my friend, Lisa. My how the years change some people. Every picture I've seen of him, he's wearing an intense scowl."
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was one of the first to call attention to the Limbaugh/Jones nexus when he posted news of it on Twitter overnight: " 'Rev.' Terry Jones was classmate of none other than Rush Limbaugh (Cape Central class of '69). Coincidence?"
Jones has been the flaming center of controversy this week as he first held fast to his plan to burn a Koran at his 50-member Dove World Outreach Center, despite calls from President Obama, Gen. David Petraeus
and even Sarah Palin
that he abandon the idea.
Petraeus said such action would put U.S. troops overseas in harm's way: "Images of the burning of a [Koran] would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan -- and around the world -- to inflame public opinion and incite violence."
On Thursday, Jones said he was canceling plans for his protest against Islam, then back-pedaled
and said he was just putting them "on hold." On Friday he told NBC's "Today" show
his plan is still up in the air and contingent on an expected meeting Saturday with the man behind the so-called Ground Zero mosque in New York.
On Thursday, Jones claimed he had been promised that the planned Islamic center would be moved from a site near Ground Zero, but Thursday night he said he'd been given false information. He told reporters that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf had assured him he would move the mosque, and Jones said he would fly to New York on Saturday for the ninth anniversary of 9/11 and meet with Rauf.
Shortly after Jones spoke, Rauf released a statement insisting there was no deal to move the Islamic center, known as the Cordoba House, or Park51.