Friday, August 20, 2010

The Great Debate: Why Not Build a Mosque?

First of all, I really don't like to speak on politics and whatnot because my intent is not to stir up anger in issues that many get very passionate about. On this occasion though I felt convicted about it since I recently changed my opinion on the matter, and I see so many of my friends adamantly against this. So here is my opinion on the subject of a mosque at Ground Zero.

I realize I am about to join a minority here, but after a friend challenged my ignorant views about this issue, I have decided to change my opinion. There has been a very heated debate going on about the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. On Facebook I see many friends who proudly oppose this outrageous attack on 9/11 victims and their families, and I in fact at one point agreed. This was before I found out the real facts and God has been convicting me since to humbly change the side I had chosen. I was quite resistant at first, battling it out inside my own mind, coming up with excuse after excuse for how wrong it is that they would even think to put in this symbol of Islam on an American landmark that represents the terror we suffered at the hands of radical Muslims. But I began to realize the arguments against it just didn't seem to stand on as firm ground as I once thought. They were built on emotional foundations of fear and anger.
It is easy to say it would be un-Patriotic to build this mosque, and find it insulting that Muslims want to have this particular site, but despite that, even if it was some sort of Islamic symbol of their 'triumph' over the U.S. (I use the word triumph only to display how some believe the Islamic community may view it- I do not believe in any way it was a triumph over us), a symbol only has the power we may find in it. While I don't think this is the case, if the Muslims did want this mosque as a tribute to their 'triumph' on 9/11, let them have it. As Americans we need to move beyond the fear and pain we still cling to from 9/11. It will never be forgotten, but this controversial mosque is only going to serve as a symbol of defeat if we chose to let it. It doesn't change what happened that day or what will happen in the future. But by being almost afraid to let it be built simply because of what Islam could be viewing it as only gives gratification to it. If someone teases me and makes fun of how I look or act or what I believe, ultimately if I ignore them then their mocking is useless. Didn't your parents ever tell you that? Aside from that though, I think the facts of the matter speak even clearer as to why their is little reason to even debate this issue.
Did you know that the mosque is actually being built just over 2 blocks away from the actual site of Ground Zero? And the land has already been purchased and was being used as a worship place for Islam, long before this became a heated issue? In our economy today, it would be ridiculous to expect the owners behind the mosque to try to sell it and pick a new location. And it isn't the only thing in that area, there are strip clubs and other morally wrong businesses even closer to Ground Zero. And if 2 blocks still isn't far enough away, how far is acceptable? Where do we draw the line?
Did you know there is already a mosque that was established in that area before 9/11? No one has asked that this other mosque be torn down.
Did you know that a chapel was built just outside the Pentagon that holds a number of services affiliated many different religions, including Islam? No one ever opposed this, yet the Pentagon was also struck by a plane on that fateful day in history.
Do you realize we are taking out the acts of a handful of radical Muslims on the entire Islam community? As a Christian, I know I wouldn't want people to judge me on the acts of some radical groups and churches that also claim the title of Christian. I find it absolutely heartbreaking that people who claim to be followers of Christ could stand outside of funeral homes were a soldier's life is being honored and mourned with protest signs proclaiming hatred in the name of God. But the reality is that they have the right to practice whichever beliefs they chose, we all do as Americans.
Part of what has made America a nation set apart is the freedoms it offers. Freedoms that allow us to practice any religion we want- even Islam. This is what it ultimately comes down to. Freedom of religion. No matter how much I think mine is the 'right' religion, no matter how much it may seem disrespectful to some that this mosque be so close to Ground Zero, no matter what they may practice within its walls, the freedom is theirs to choose as citizens of the United States of America.
You may call me un-Patriotic as now I am among the few who do not oppose this new mosque at Ground Zero, but I am the wife of a sailor, I pray to the same God the founders of this great nation looked too when they were being persecuted for their own beliefs. And though I am not saying I am for having this mosque or religious center built, I just think if we all look closely at the issue, legally, morally, there really isn't a very strong argument against it. I respect those who oppose it though, many of my own friends do. But if you take a closer look, is there really very much to debate?

God tells us to love everyone, and that too isn't limited to the color of their skin, the religion they practice, or what country they may come from. We are called to love even those who would seem unlovable through our own sin stained glasses, even if they have hurt us in the past.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." ~Jesus, John 13:34

"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." ~Jesus, Matthew 5:44

Remember this is just my opinion, which I have the freedom to express just as you do your own. Feel free to share any other arguments for either side in the comments, but as always keep it clean and respectful. Thank you.

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  1. Crystal, as I get to know you I feel convicted to be more careful about constructing my opinions and arguments. I think that you are articulating here what a loving Christian feels. This is an example of true patriotism. I love knowing that someone can have the strength to speak out with an unpopular opinion. I have a tendency to keep quiet publicly because I am a cowardly Christian. I have to stop that. Thank you!

  2. Crystal- I just found you through Traci's blog- congrats on winning the Lisa Leonard gift certificate!
    I think this is a wonderful post! I agree with you on this. I admit that I too disapproved at first but also thought to myself, as you articulated here- "what if I was persecuted for things that others did in the name of Christianity." I also loved how you put it -"this controversial mosque is only going to serve as a symbol of defeat if we chose to let it" that is so true and honestly I never thought of it that way!
    Great post!

  3. Crystal, thanks for sharing a Christian point of view on this debate. A lot of food for thought.

    And CONGRATS on winning the drawing on Ordinary Inspirations. :o)

  4. Hi Crystal. I wish more Christians had this type of perspective... Or actually, I think many do and just aren't vocal about it. It's the loud, irrational ones that make us all sound judgmental. But I agree, our "job" as Christians isn't to shut others down - it's to show them a better way. How can we do that when we push them out? And really, even if people are emotionally charged, one look at this from a logical perspective and they would realize that if we're blocking out mosques, then won't churches be next? To have freedom to worship as Christians we must also give other freedom to worship as they choose.

  5. Hi Crystal! Congratulations on winning the awesome Lisa Leonard Jewelry at Ordinary Inspirations! You are one blessed lady! :0)

    This is a very well thought out post and I completely agree with you. Thanks for putting words to what I was already thinking.

    Have a blessed Sunday!

    Teresa <><


I enjoy hearing what you think about this!
Thank you so much for sharing!