Pastor ( Terry Jones ) wins car for canceling Quran burning – With the passage of time, the antics of Terry Jones — the grandly mustachioed Christian fundamentalist preacher who threatened to hold a Quran-burning on 9/11 — are beginning to look more and more like a real-life episode of “Let’s Make a Deal.”
Back in the days leading up to the 9/11 anniversary, a New Jersey car dealer named Brad Benson made Jones a peculiar offer: call off the Quran-burning in exchange for a new car. Even though Jones did eventually cancel the universally condemned plan, Benson didn’t actually expect Jones to take him up on the offer. Benson is something of a specialist in putting together outlandish publicity stunts in order to get people chattering about his dealership–for example, he’d previously offered Saddam Hussein a new car if the dictator would flee Iraq.
Jones’ representative “said unless I was doing false advertising, they would like to arrange to pick up the car,” Benson told the AP’s Brad DeFalco. Thinking that the whole thing might be a hoax, Benson asked to see a copy of Jones’ driver’s license. Sure enough, the regionally renowned publicity stunt artist was indeed being contacted by the world-famous publicity stunt artist, seeking to take ownership of a new car.
After some deliberation, Benson–a former lineman for the New York Giants–resolved to stay true to his word and hand over a 2011 Hyundai Accent, which retails for $14,200. The Islam-baiting pastor will have to travel to South Brunswick, N.J., to claim it at the dealership. Since all Benson promised Jones was a new car, some of the locals are suggesting he prank the wacky preacher by painting something on the car that’d get under his skin–something like, say, a few passages from the Quran.
He may want to rethink that plan, though. After all, officials in Jones’ home city of Gainesville, Fla., are seeking to collect more than $200,000 in expenses associated with the increased security efforts sparked by Jones’ antics. If nothing else, Jones might be able to use a spacious new car to beat a hasty retreat when city auditors come to collect. ( Associated Press )