Mailbag: If Not Mosques, Why Churches?

Part of what I’d like to offer here at Fumbling Towards Eternity is a Q & A mailbag. If any of you have questions that you’d like to ask, or items for discussion, feel free to email me at falantediosATgmailDOTcom. I’ll offer my ideas and open it up for discussion, and we’ll see what happens. Sound good? Alright, let’s get started.

A dear friend and extended member of the Fumbling family, a conservative leader in the church, sent me this email.

What do you think about the Islamic center being built near Ground Zero? It is 15 stories and will ostensibly look down at what is left of the WTC’s. My guess is that you don’t see anything wrong with it. Yet, you have your own views. 🙂

You’re right, I don’t have any problem with it, for at least two reasons – one political and one spiritual.

Politically, I would consider its construction as a victory for the American way of life. The 1st Amendment absolutely guarantees the freedom of any religious group to assemble anywhere. We claim to be the freest nation on earth – we need to live up to that claim rather than undermining it with Patriot Act-type suppressions of liberty. Some opponents mention how difficult it is for Christians to establish worship centers in Islamic countries, to which Jon Stewart sarcastically responds, “Why should we as Americans have higher standards of religious liberty than Saudi Arabia? It makes no sense.”

The goal of terrorism is to make free nations betray their own principles – to destroy freedom in the name of security. Freedom and benevolence are their own strongest protectors – as a nation we must trust in what brought us together, and be willing to suffer rather than allow others to lose their freedom in the name of fear. If this week, Christians demand that the government prevent this mosque from being built, how long before the enemies of the church follow in the church’s footsteps and begin to demand that the government prevent churches from being built?

Spiritually, I believe American Christians protesting against the construction of this Islamic Center are sawing off the limb upon which they sit. It is the church’s responsibility, not the government’s, to display the superiority of the Jesus Way. For good or ill, I think the days are over where Christianity carried “first among equals” status in the United States. There are places in America where Islam and Christianity co-exist, because Christians have recognized that the mark of kingdom-of-God ethics is compassion. In fact, some Christian women have chosen to wear Islamic headgear in places where Islamic women were in danger of ethnic/religious violence. Partnering with the government to fight Islam seems to deny everything we stand for. The kingdom of God serves the least and the lost – even when they might be our enemies. We trust in the same power that raised Jesus from the dead – that power will be all the comforter – protector – ally we will ever need.

What do you think?

in HIS love,
nick

PS – In other news, the center is going to be five blocks away from Ground Zero, and there’s already a mosque four blocks away that predates the World Trade Center.

PPS – Here’s Jon Stewart’s take on the situation. Warning: there might be some off-color material included.

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About Nick Gill

orphan-poet-adoptee-soldier-prodigal-servant-husband- counselor-desperate seeker after my Father's face "I feel my body weakened by the years as people turn to gods of cruel design. Is it that they fear the pain of death, or is it that they fear the joy of life?" - Toad the Wet Sprocket

Posted on 14 August, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I like what Dennis Miller said about this:

    “That Muslims CAN build a mosque at the WTC tells you everything about America. That they WILL build it, tells you everything about Islam.”

  2. It was posted on Twitter.

  3. I just think it’s rather insensitive for the Muslims to do this (as it would be for Christians to do something similar in a place important to Muslims). But that’s just my opinion.

  4. I think qb has an excellent take on the issue:

    http://tinyurl.com/23uqute

  5. Why doesn’t Karen hold the muslims to a higher standard? Is it loving, tolerant and peaceful to build this in such a sensitive location? I’ve yet to hear one of the proponents of the mosque answer why they think it’s a good idea to rub salt into a painful national wound.

    And she is wrong in calling it a “house of worship.” It is a house of false worship. It promotes a religion that draws people away from the Way, the Truth and the Life. And yes, the demons will dance when such a place is built.

    • Why is it a good idea to build there? Here are some:

      1) Reconciliation cannot occur from Albany. You cannot heal a wound unless you are near the wound.

      2) The area is nearly a ghost town slum. Any investment in the area would be helpful to all.

      3) Only the prayer space in the upper two floors will be a Muslim-only area. The rest of the edifice — pool, theater, etc. — will be open to all, sort of a YMIA in Manhattan.

      As long as Muslims are forced to remain on the margins of American society, Americans will never believe that there are any Muslims besides the Shi’a and Wah’habi factions.

      And finally, it is not the responsibility of Christians to demand that pagans act like Christians – without the power of the Holy Spirit, they cannot begin to meet such a standard. Look how pitifully Spirit-empowered Christians are doing at acting like Christ!

      It is the responsibility of Christians to live such holy and gracious lives that pagans want to become Christians. There is a world of difference between the two ways of being in the world.

  6. The question I would like to ask those who oppose Park 51:

    How many blocks away would the center/mosque have to be in order to be in permissibly good taste?

    Please state your answer in the form of a numeral and give reasons why zoning ordinances in the future should reflect it.

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