Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk and opinion about whether or not a mosque should be built two blocks away from the World Trade Center site. Now, I don’t have any proven statistics on this, but it seems like the overwhelming majority of non-Muslim Americans don’t want the thing to be built. And their (our) reasons make sense. I don’t want the mosque to be built, but my reasons differ from the flock. There is also the dividing issue about whether or not the government should allow the mosque to be built. My opinion is that the government should allow it. But again, my reasons are atypical. Please allow me to explain.
I’ll admit that I have a prejudice towards Islam. (If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can you be honest with?) It’s hard to not be these days. Every time you hear about Islam in the news, it’s usually coupled with terms like “car bomb” and “Sharia Law”. Their Qur’an is chock full of violence towards infidels. Now, I want to be clear that my prejudices in this matter have nothing to do with any particular race or nationality, just the religion. So it is hard for me to care if American rights are extended to Muslims in the case of building the mosque. I just can’t flatly state that it’s their American right to build a mosque without me secretly hoping that the government prevents it. I know this is wrong, but it’s currently how I feel.
So then, why do I think the government should allow the mosque to be built?
My reason (and I’m just being transparent here) is actually selfish. In the “Land of the Free,” the government does a pretty good job impeding some harmless freedoms in the name of morality. And that makes me a bit squeamish. What’s going to happen when the government decides to do something about people who do idiotic things in the name of Jesus? What if no Christian religious activity can be performed within a few blocks of an abortion clinic that gets assaulted by some religious nut-job? What if all churches start having their sermons monitored for hate speech because of the fanatics at the Westboro Baptist Church?
Just like anyone else, I feel angered and insulted with the thought of this mosque being built. I’m not incensed because of some distance principle. I have some first hand experience with American-Muslim communities, so my raw feelings are for personal reasons, with addition to the memory of 9/11. But here is the whole point of this blog: my personal feelings about Muslims are NOT the biggest reason why I don’t want the mosque to be built.
I don’t want the mosque to be built because I value the safety of Muslims in New York.
This mosque is a horribly bad idea because I believe that there are going to be people who will show their disdain in violent ways. This is simply wrong, no matter how you feel about the Muslims.
I could argue this from a Christian perspective, but this encompasses all rational human beings. It is never right to escalate a situation to physical violence on the grounds of being insulted. I’d like to think we’re past that backwoods, anachronistic way of thinking. We’re no longer the Hatfields in the mountains. We’ve evolved. And violence is not the answer.
So do I want the mosque to be built near the 9/11 site? No. Do I think it’s insulting? Yes. But more importantly, do I think we need to pray for the peace of those who insult us?