Friday, August 13, 2010

America, Freedom, Religion

Should New York City allow American Muslims to build a community center near the 9/11 site?

First: should Muslims be allowed to build a mosque anywhere in America?
Second: should Muslims be allowed to build a mosque just as freely as Christians are allowed to build churches?
Third: should Christians be concerned or scared that Muslims are building mosques in prominent sites in America?
Fourth: Should New York City allow American Muslims to build a mosque and community center anywhere in the city?

Is the resistance to a Islamic community center and mosque mostly about the location or is it about something else? Are all Muslims the same? The Muslims who hijacked the planes on 9/11 are of a particular brand of Islam. Are all Christians the same? The Christian priests who molested boys - do they represent what is true of all ministers of the gospel?

Here are some interesting links from the New York Times on the issue that I strongly urge you to read before you pass judgment on my post or my questions (remember, this is a blog about asking questions).

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's support.

President Barack Obama's support.

And some other links, about a mosque, about judging people wrongly, about identity.

As a Christian, I am not threatened by the Islamic religion. In America, where religion has been enveloped by competition - the stronger Islam gets, the stronger Christianity gets. As an American, I am not threatened by the Islamic religion. America is America because we are the land of the free - and one of the major pillars of that freedom is religious freedom. We are free to worship as we choose, with no government interference. That's a really, really, really big deal.

The government should not intervene to prop up Christianity, to protect it or give it extra advantages, and neither should it be used to prop up or put down any other favored religion. American Christians who do missionary work in the Arab nations are frustrated by the government suppression of non-Islamic religions. Should we respond in kind?

If Muslims in America become violent, they should be arrested and given due process of law. Same thing if any other religious citizen was violent due to the interpreted teachings or supposed requirements of the faith. As America continues to allow Muslim citizens to flourish, we will also require them to be non-violent. Freedom in religion does not include freedom to murder.

Christians are to avoid just as much violence as we require of Muslims. And if we want a new kind of Islam to blossom, letting it bloom in America may be a wise course of action. Islam will not go away if we suppress it in America. Islam has used violence in its past to increase its power. So has Christianity. If both faiths are willing to trade swords for plowshares, maybe the fields of America and the gardens of Ground Zero are the right place to do it.


Anonymous said...

Of course Muslims should be able to build whatever they want, where ever they want. This is not a question of religion, it is about liberty. Liberty is not just for white Christian Americans. I don't care that Obama supports the idea because it is not the Federal Governments business if a mosque gets built. It is sad this is even a debate.

The only exception to this would be if the man paying for the mosque has ties to recognized terror organizations. There are reports he has ties to Hamas and won't say where the money is coming from. Assuming that is not true(and it should be easy to prove) then no government official should be able to stop him from building a mosque.

Jon Davison

Tim Hallman said...

You make a good point, Jon. It'll be interesting to see if any kind of connection can be made with terrorists organization. For all considered, I hope that this is a legitimate and clean-conscience attempt on the Muslims to make a difference for good.