Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Mosque near Ground Zero in New York City

Photo by Shazron

People continue to demonstrate against the community center with a mosque inside being built.  The polls say that the majority oppose this community center because it is too close to where the twin towers once stood.  Of course, the new building will not be visible from where the twin towers block.  Politicians have come out for and against.

Why is this happening?  People are frustrated with what is going on in their lives.  Many fear the changes in this country as a more urban, less white group of leaders begin to take over.  Many have felt the monetary effects of the recession.  Savings have been lost.  Retirement set back or put off indefinitely.  There is real fear that a middle class way of life is being taken away from the majority of Americans.  People who are afraid need to feel they still have power.  One way to feel power is to focus on another group to denigrate and feel superior to.  Muslims are the group that has received that focus.

Leaders in some Christian venues have fanned the fear into hatred of Muslims.  All Muslims have been made a threat to Christianity.  Regularly, emails circulate through churches containing diatribes against Muslims and creating the vision of Muslims as being two-faced, polite to us on one hand and plotting our demise on the other. The message is that it is either or.  Christianity must defeat Islam or fall.

Republicans have also played a part in this, fanning the flames of hatred and coming out against the mosque and the man trying to build the community center.  They have even toyed with the issue of our President's faith.  In the hysteria of the moment some Americans believe the President is Muslim not Christian.  An interview he did in 2004 is circulating through the faith community trying to fan that belief.  How?   In the interview, then State Senator Obama does not use the code words of faith that evangelicals would use.  His answers reflect a more intellectual approach to faith, but a very strong faith.  Those lack of code words will convince some that he is not a Christian.  How sad.

My question:  Why does it matter what faith he is as long as he upholds his oath of office?

If it does matter, then we are not a tolerant nation.  A Muslim is as much a person of faith as a Christian.  Christian, Muslim, Jew all worship the God of Abraham.  Even this may be too much.  Shouldn't an atheist be able to be President?  I would say yes as long as we have a very clear knowledge of his value system.  Will an atheist ever be President?  I doubt it.  To be elected a person will have to have at least nominal faith.

Christians need to reflect on our heritage.  Jesus said to "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those that mistreat you."  He summed it up:  "Do to others as you would have them do to you."  Denying someone their place to worship is not fulfilling the Golden Rule.

The United States was not designed to allow majority rule.  The United States was designed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.  We need to act under that premise.  The community center with the mosque must be built.



The naked heretic said...

You're right, of course. But I think you and your president should reflect. Discretion, I think, is a Christian virtue. Don't insist on your rights. Tell the truth . . . but only when there is love in your heart.

January Cat said...

I do not believe discretion is a Christian virtue. Jesus' lack of discretion got him killed. If he had stayed out of Jerusalem, then the ruling powers, both Jewish and Roman, would have ignored him. He chose to go to the seat of power and challenge power. His response to their exercise of power was not to rally the mob. to lead a rebellion, but to submit and die. Gandhi did the same thing: challenge power and submit to its abuses.