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,
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.