Yea or Nay on the Ground Zero Mosque?

[Note: In a book to be released in 2011, Darrow Miller will treat the Great Commission in the context of the anti-Christian ideologies of Islam and atheism. Some of our blogs, including this one, are being prepared from the manuscript as he writes.]

If somebody wants to build a religious house of worship … we shouldn’t be in the business of picking which religions can and which religions can’t. … Muslims have a right to do it too. What is great about America and particularly New York is we welcome everybody … ” Mayor Michael Blomberg.

New York Muslims want to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Mayor Blomberg, among others, says Why not? Islam is an established religion just like Christianity and Judaism. If Christians wanted to build a church there, or Jews a synogogue, nobody would object. Why shouldn’t Muslims be allowed to do the same?

America is a free nation after all. How could we say No and still be a nation of freedom and democracy?

The fact is, America’s free and pluralistic society is grounded in a non-pluralistic ideology: Christianity. Fundamentalist Islam is also non-pluralistic. But it engenders neither freedoms nor pluralism. Saudi Muslims have built lots of mosques in the U.S., but Christians cannot freely worship in Saudi Arabia.

Islam’s core values include, for example, Sharia law, which not only forbids freedom of religion but provides for the subjugation of women. Honor killings of women by Muslims is a fact of life in America.

What does a democracy do when confronted with an intolerant ideology that wants to set up shop on its free shores? What is the right response when a system that practices and celebrates suppression takes advantage of the freedoms of another system to promote its agenda?

In a word, should New York allow the Ground Zero mosque to be built?

Do we believe in religious freedom to the extent we are prepared for whatever consequences ensue from the building of this mosque? (If this development is consistent with the pattern of Muslim history, such a building would be a symbol of conquest.) Do we believe freedom can trump enslavement? Is the church prepared to engage a battle of ideas for the soul of a society?

Or do we say, based on the history of Islamic conquest, No, you will not be allowed to erect a symbol of religious oppression in the shadow of the Jihadist attacks of 9/11. The limits of freedom cannot extend indefinitely. To overlook the history of Islam and permit this mosque would be folly.

We welcome your thoughts about this dilemma.

– Darrow Miller and Gary Brumbelow

  
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15 Responses to Yea or Nay on the Ground Zero Mosque?

  1. Saladin says:

    Honor killings are not sanctioned in Islam, not by a long shot. It’s a cultural phenomenon, not a religious one. It occurs in India just as often as in Pakistan, or the US. It’s not a precept of Islam.

  2. Nate Ginn says:

    Yes a mosque should be permitted near Ground Zero, although I would like to see the immediate area surrounding the proposed Freedom Tower will be a grassy park/memorial. I hope we Christians can stop operating on a basis of fear and instead prayerfully ask the Lord how we can be available for what He is doing in such a time as this. If Muslim immigrants wanted to start a mosque in my living room I’d say “Great, you are welcome!” Then I’d provide a halal lunch afterwards each week and say “Let’s share life with one another.” I don’t just say this theoretically, I am sharing life with Muslim immigrants on a daily or near daily basis. I do not in any way minimize the evil of 9/11, I previously lived in NYC and I am still devastated by the evil attacks there that murdered so many people.

    As for the perceived symbolism of a mosque near Ground Zero, I’m reminded of the old saying, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”. Instead of focusing on zoning issues and buildings we should focus on obeying Jesus’ Great Commandments and Great Commission. If buildings transformed people’s lives then Europe and inner city America would be the most Christian places on earth (churches on every corner).

    People’s lives are transformed by a combination of God’s Spirit drawing them and God’s people sharing the whole Word of God (Bible) and the Good News of Jesus Christ in our words and our actions/lives. We have been extremely negligent in doing our part to practice this among Muslims. In 1980 there was one Christian missionary to Muslims per one million Muslims. Currently it is approximately one per 100,000. That’s an improvement but still completely unacceptable and we have no excuse. It may have been Samuel Zwemer who said “It is not that Muslims have heard the Gospel and rejected it, they have never heard it.”

    God in His grace and mercy has made it easier for American Christians to participate in the Great Commission by migrating Muslims and other unreached people groups to us. If we have what Francis Schaeffer called “true truth” we certainly should not be afraid to lovingly interact with people who do not! To not do so is to disobey Jesus. There are books and seminars that can help Christians communicate cross culturally more effectively, but ultimately love and prayer are what break down objections. When a theological impasse arises, it’s great to be able to smile and say, “Okay my dear friend, we may not agree on this issue (yet), but I hope you know how much I care about you, now let’s go get something to eat!” May the Lord bring more unreached people here and may we Christians love them to Jesus.

  3. nemo235 says:

    Whatever happened to freedom of religion? this should not even be an issue. the mosque is to be built 2 blocks from ground zero, not on it.

  4. These people have their heads in the sand.

  5. Bob Evans says:

    I will pass on a comment I heard on the radio the other day. Irrespective of the rightness or wrongness of building a mosque in such a location is insensitive. The radio show host used an analogy to make the point.

    Suppose we lived together in a town and my brother (with whom I disagree and estranged from) ends up murdering your son in an altercation. I had nothing to do with the murder and indeed am appalled by it. Nevertheless it would be terribly rude and insensitive of me to show up uninvited at your son’s funeral – merely because throughout the remembrance of your son I would be a reminder of the one who killed him. I would honor his memory and you by doing so in a more remote way.

    There are deeper issues at play here but a beginning of dialogue and engagement (necessary for further healing and exchange / conviction of ideas) is kindness and respect for the humanity (with it’s attendant emotions and sensitivities) of the ones we engage with. My thought on this mosque/cultural center – yes let it be built – just in some area more remote and less connected to a place where those people identify you with committed an immense atrocity against humanity. Building the mosque in such a connected location will not bring healing but connect you with those you are trying to show you are different from.

  6. Dan Woodard says:

    I wonder if the city officials of Mecca would consider allowing a Christian church to be built in a prominent place in their city. Does anyone know?

  7. nemo235 says:

    Bob, that anology doesn’t make sense. here’s an anology for year. Say there’s a high school chess club. A member of the chess club kills several students. 9 years later the school tries to ban the chess club, and ban the playing of chess anywhere with in 2 blocks of the school. Ridiculous, isn’t it. exactly. Oh, and to dan, Saudi arabia is an Islamic dictarotship. We are a deemocracy, we are not a christian country, we are a secular country with a constitution that garantees the freedom of religion.

  8. Jerry says:

    @Dan Woodward : No, they wouldn’t allow one in Mecca, and they don’t allow them anywhere else either.

    Locating a mosque near Ground Zero is crass, at the very least.

  9. Bob Evans says:

    To Jerry – Your analogy makes less connection. It would make sense if NYC were trying to ban all mosques & Muslim centers in the city. Further news today show that the intent of the center is to bring harmony and strengthen relations. The founders are open to members of other faiths on the board and strict scrutiny on the source of funds. This, in my opinion lifts their credibility as a source or reconciliation. As to your response to Dan’s question. Indeed Saudi Arabia is an Islamic dictatorship – as are, in some fashion, all Islamic rooted governments – Islam is the dictator. And indeed there are not the freedoms we enjoy here. Granted we are no longer a Christian nation but our very society and the freedoms we enjoy are rooted in Christian (and earlier Jewish) thought and concepts and we still live in the memory of being a Christian culture. Our freedoms, basically, are rooted in the Christian concept of the free will of man alongside the concept of the Sovereignty of God. from This stems the idea that there are moral absolutes and the rule of Law that is higher than any one man’s (or majority of men’s) opinion – no matter how strong. Might is not right – Right is right. This idea that God exists as the supreme moral agent yet at the same time has granted man, created in His image, free moral choice (to believe & follow God’s moral law or not), is the basis for the concepts of freedom and rights embodied in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. ” In contrast, as Islam’s God is supreme dictator, to be obeyed without choice or voice, it is no wonder that virtually every Islamic government is totalitarian in some form. Indeed – only in a society such as ours could a center such as this – built to display the culture of those you are at war with – even be considered.

  10. Penfire says:

    Christians have every reason to fear Islam; we know all of the persecutions of Christians that have been done in the name of Isalm, including 9/11. They are saying Muslims were in the World Trade Center and were killed, too. So? They were sacrificed on the alter of Islam; they have no problem with that.

    Persecution of Christians are still being done in the name of Islam, honor killing their women, mothers and daughters, and killing “infidels’ around the world in the name of Islam.

    There is only ONE god of Islam, and there is ONLY ONE Islam, not a peaceful one and a jihad one, just ONE, and Mohammed is their god’s prophet, and Jesus is just another prophet. They hate Christians as worshippers of three gods.

    The Bible says that in the last days many belivers will be deceived and that the anti Christ will come saying “Peace, peace… and there will be no peace…”. Why? Because Jesus is the Prince of Peace…without Him there is no Peace…when He was born the angels said, “Peace on earth, good will to men…”, meaning, Jesus was born to bring peace between God and man, and there is no other Name under heaven by which men must be saved”. Jesus said, “I came not to bring peace on earth but a sword…”, meaning that those who followed Him would be persecuted for their faith in Him. Only those who believe on Him will have Peace with God, not with man. This is reason for Islamists everywhere to kill Christians. They will say “Peace, Peace…:” but there will be no peace !!!! Do not believe the lie.

    The mosque in N.Y. City at ground zero declares Islamic victory over Chrstianity and America.

  11. Dennis Warren says:

    I appreciate most of what was said in the original article.

    I am too ignorant of history to know how much importance my cautionary reaction (below) may carry, (if any … sadly I suppose I don’t even know that much).

    From the original post:
    >> “…Or do we say, based on the history of Islamic conquest, No, you will not be allowed to erect a symbol of religious oppression in the shadow of the Jihadist attacks of 9/11 …” <<

    My reaction is triggered by the phrase "based on the history of Islamic conquest" :

    Given the history of Christian conquest, would it be appropriate for us to cite the history of Islamic conquest as a reason for forbidding the mosque as well as referring to it as a symbol of religious oppression? — I suspect those of us who consider ourselves "true" believers, who identify with either Christianity or Islam would prefer to preface the adjective before the word conquest with "so-called".

    -Dennis

  12. nemo235 says:

    Deniss, you are very right.Ignorance is running rampant in this country.

  13. Dennis Warren says:

    Nemo,

    I’m not sure what or who’s ignorance you mean, if you mean, by mentioning such a concept as so-called “Christian conquest”, I was showing my own self-admitted ignorance of history, then yes I’ll probably need to plead guilty. I suspect if we were to just use death-count numbers the tally on the so-called Christian side might be smaller – but again, sadly I admit I don’t very know much about history. However, one time I did investigate the relative death-count numbers of self-proclaimed Atheist regimes verses whatever counts I could find (via google searches mostly) of various so-called Christian conquests … and in relative terms … let’s just say you’d be a lot better off living in a so-called “christian” country verses say Russia under Stalin, China under Mao, or Cambodia, etc.. etc…

    At any rate, the reason I brought up the concept of “christian conquest”, is because, if I understand correctly, the word “crusades” has understandably been a stumbling block to many people who have grown up with Islam (i.e. both religiously as well as culturally). Even from the very little history I have studied, I get the impression there has been a lot of blood shed under the pretence of something like ” for God and country” (though much less than blood shed by Atheists regimes). As far as the number of people who have perpetrated violence in the name of God, I suspect there have been many more people in both Christianity and Islam – who have been inspired through their religious activities to love other people as the love themselves.

    (It’s much easier for me personally to see how the teachings of Jesus characterized by his injunction: “love one another as I have loved You”, would be less likely to be misinterpreted as encouragement for a program of so-called religious conquest,. If I recall correctly I think Jesus told Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world … given his words in that setting, I guess it makes sense to me that the New Testament doesn’t say much (if anything) about Jesus leading his followers on “conquests” … Here’s another recollection: During Jesus’ arrest, He told his disciple to put away his sword …. and He put the severed ear back on the person upon whom the sword was used (and who Jesus healed).

    But then again, Nemo, again, maybe I misunderstood your use of the term “Ignorance”. I guess maybe you could have basically been indicating your agreement with the idea that before restricting the religious freedom of others based on precedents of acts of conquests associated with their religious affiliation — we might pause and consider whether similar conquests have been carried out in the name of the religion system which we say has provided the foundation for the willingness to allow religious freedom in this country. If you were indicating you think it’s ignorant for someone not to look at things that way .. well I don’t really agree. I’ve found just because I like the way I look at things … doesn’t necessarily mean others are ignorant if they don’t.. That word “ignorant” can be a loaded word – and I’m thinking it’s most likely best to avoid it if I want to get along here in this land where we enjoy much more religious freedom than I suspect is (or has been) available in other countries.

    At this point I’m scratching my head as I try to come up with a reason for why our non-pluralistic religious foundation has allowed the openness we enjoy in this country. Where I am am this point is back to the garden of eden and the idea that God apparently did not (and does not) use physical force to make us obey Him. He allows His sun to shine both on the just and the unjust. Jesus came and lived among sinners, so I guess I can live among folks who either believe in a creator who seems different than the one in whom I believe, or even those who don’t think there is any creator at all (and I assume believe human intellect must be at the top of what might be considered as a “personal” mind).

    -Dennis

  14. nemo235 says:

    dennis, What I meant By Ignorance is that Thier hatred is based on ignorance.I mean come on, pat robertson was part of thwe protest. I know a bit about Islam and have readd the koran, alot of the Christians’ anti- Islam Ideas arenot based on fact. Especially since Muslims also believe that jesus was the messiah, yet these people say that muslims worship a different god. Oh It must be the god of some other Abraham. I’m kinda geting on a tangent hear. The point being, If they where against Islam, because of nwhat it was, and not based on lies of what someone who knows anything about it says. Most Of This hatred comes from the war propoganda, and constantly Using words Like Islamists, Islamo-Fascists, and Islamic terrorists. I mean They didn’t label the IRA as Catholic terrorists, although the majority of them are Catholic. I see this Anti-Islam hatred as very similar to hatred against black people, in the past couple of centuries. The main thing I see as ignorant, is that the christians groups opposing the building of the mosque, are the first to cry about being deprived of religious freedom, because the government won’t let Intelligent design be taught in public schools. If a person always plays the freedom of religion card, but wants to deny it to some one of a different religion. that is really ignorant. Now I have probably confused you more. I Just believe that most predjudice is based on Ignorance.

  15. Dennis Warren says:

    nemo,

    I think I can see some appropriateness in several of the points you make, however I’d like to offer a couple of observations:

    For instance:

    Perhaps at least one reason some Christians could say they think Muslims appear to be worshiping a different God is not so much as to what is claimed as a belief, but rather what was done by the two highest honored “prophets” as to how they acted toward unbelieving enemies.

    From a high-level perspective, I personally see the Christian position somewhat differently than the ancient Jewish position. I think Jesus had a lot in mind when he said something like: “You have heard it was said, but I say unto you”. Moses used force against some of the un-believing enemies of his people. However, Jesus (the Christ of Christianity) walked what he talked and “turned the other cheek” when he allowed those who didn’t accept his religious claims to crucify him. Jesus must have been really serious when he answered Pilate’s question as to whether he was a king by saying something like: “My Kingdom is not of this world”.

    Given what I’ve heard of the second half of the life of the prophet most honored by Islam – I can understand why some Christians might not see how the two prophets could have been receiving orders from the same source (though admittedly I suppose I might not like what I would get if I were to similarly compare Christianity with parts of ancient Judaism).

    Concerning the members of the IRA – I’m thinking though many have been self-proclaimed Catholics, I’m not aware of them claiming they fight primarily for the cause of God and/or their religion tells them they must kill their enemies? (I don’t know much about that subject though).

    As far as whining about not being able to teach intelligent design in the schools — I guess for me to buy the analogy all the way, I would need to be convinced that all the fuel for intelligent design is in fact motivated only by religious belief (rather than open minded thinking about a subject which cannot be verified one way or the other by typical scientific means).

    -Dennis

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