From a legal standpoint, there can be no rational controversy over building a mosque and Islamic community center near ground zero in Manhattan:
- The local board approved the project by a vote of 29-1;
- and the last I knew, the First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion, even Islamic religion.
From an emotional viewpoint, many have sounded off, including this tweet from Sarah Palin:
Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing
In a subsequent Facebook post, she expanded on her position:
Just days after 9/11, the spiritual leader of the organization that wants to build the mosque, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, suggested that blame be placed on the innocents when he stated that the “United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened” and that “in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.”
While in no way does it justify killing innocent civilians, Rauf has a point if you consider that the U.S. supported bin Laden during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, helping to create Al-Qaeda.
Another appeal to emotion comes in this short video from the The Center for Security Policy:
As a Christian, I can only say, “So what?” From an eternal viewpoint, a building – whether it’s a mosque or the “9-11 Christian Center” that is being planned at Ground Zero in retaliation – is no kind of victory. Both are temporary. Both will be burned up in the day of the Lord.
As most Americans did, I mourned and cried on 9/11 for the 3,000 souls who were lost, for their families, and for New York.
And I am no fan of Islam. It’s leading millions of people straight to hell.
But neither am I a fan of religious buildings, whether they’re Islamic, Christian, or Buddhist. God is not honored by mortar and stone, but by a heart that is cleansed by the blood of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, and devoted to Him.
I am appalled that so many American Christians, instead of heeding the words of our Lord to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, are using worldly, emotional tactics to try to control the actions of the lost. If Christians truly desire to draw others to Christ, they will not force society at large to honor their traditions and their worthless piles of rubble, but will live the faith they profess.
My friend Jim Wetzel summed this all up nicely in a recent post. He was addressing a different topic, but if you add buildings to his list, he makes this appeal to our faith:
If we really have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us in power, we shouldn’t need a picture embedded in our flesh, or a cross on a chain around our neck, or a bumper sticker, to give evidence to the world; the evidence should be in our deeds, and in our love. Or so it seems to me.