By Bob Allen
An attorney representing a Southern Baptist college president labeled individuals posting online videos undermining his client’s famous “Jihad to Jesus” ex-Muslim testimony as “cyber-terrorists” in oral arguments April 30.
Jonathan Autry — sued for copyright infringement after posting videos online showing discrepancies in different presentations by Brewton-Parker College President Ergun Caner claiming he was trained overseas to be a Muslim terrorist before coming the United States and converting to Christianity as a teen — repeated the lawyer’s comment in a legal document filed May 1 in U.S. District Court for Western Virginia.
Autry said Caner’s counsel also falsely told the court that Caner fired Autry, arguing that he is a disgruntled former employee set on ruining his former boss financially. Autry said he was employed twice by Liberty University, where Caner was president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary 2005-2010, but he wasn’t fired and didn’t work for Caner.
Autry was one of a number of bloggers and news outlets questioning statements by Caner including that he was born in Turkey, trained as a jihadist terrorist in Egypt, and that his father was a polygamist. “Jesus strapped a cross on his back so I wouldn’t have to strap a bomb on mine,” Caner said at the Southern Baptist Convention pastors’ conference in 2004.
Court documents indicate Caner was born in Sweden and moved to the U.S. when he was a toddler, growing up in an Ohio suburb with his Lutheran mother after his parents’ divorce.
Caner has admitted to “pulpit mistakes” but denies he ever tried to deceive anyone. A judge in Texas recently threw out another lawsuit filed by Caner to block online posting of videos of him speaking, determining that it was “fair use” as defined by U.S. copyright law.
Caner claims that unauthorized reproduction of lectures he is paid to deliver hurts him financially. Autry says the lawsuit isn’t really about copyright violation but is rather Caner’s attempt to silence his critics.