Over the next few days, weeks, and months, amid the groans and grumblings of the overturning of proposition 8 by the California courts, you will watch political jabbing and jousting at its very finest. There will be more tap dancing and deft footwork than an old Fred Astaire movie as democrats and republicans decide where to line up on the Ground Zero mosque proposal. Meanwhile the plans for the mosque move forward. You will see discussions, debates, and heated dialogue on the proposed construction of the $100 million mosque that is 600 feet from the Ground Zero location.
Location, Location, Location
The controversy and outrage surrounding the proposed Ground Zero mosque involves the mosque’s location. Many Americans believe that it is insensitive on the part of Muslims to build the mosque in a location so near to the site of the radical Muslim terrorist attack that claimed more than 3,000 victims. Fueling the controversy is the fact that some of the funds for this $100 million dollar project come from undisclosed sources. This lends suspicion to the overall purpose and peace-promoting theme that the mosque creators proclaim. The rhetoric and rebuttal that fly back and forth involve sound bites calling for ‘tolerance’ and ‘healing’, and even a call for religious freedom.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg states, “I believe that this is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime, and it is critically important that we get it right.”
Only in America
Ladies and gentlemen, we should know from experience to get very concerned any time our government wants to ‘get it right’. Separation of church and state is one of the biggest mockeries of justice we have in our nation. Let us be completely honest about this. In the name of religious freedom, the courts of justice toss paintings, plaques, and depictions of the 10 commandments from government buildings with greater force than Moses could ever muster. Additionally, Jesus cannot even find a small plot of government lawn where he can reside for a couple of weeks in December without causing massive uproar resulting in eviction. (And he even comes with his own manger, wise men, and shepherds!) Now, the mayor of New York City wants to ‘get it right.’ Heaven, help us!
The Elephant in the Room
This Ground Zero mosque creates a very sticky situation. You see, it creates a political nightmare for anyone who wants to address the real dilemma. The argument made by many Americans is that Ground Zero is the site of a religiously driven terrorist attack. These individuals believe that a Muslim mosque anywhere close to Ground Zero is the equivalent of being given the ‘flying bird’ or ‘middle finger’ by a guy who just stepped out of the crowd and decked you. Others try their best to separate the act of terrorism from the Muslim faith. When they do, however, their words become very vague and altruistic. When talking about this issue, it is necessary to discuss an unpopular, but necessary truth. It is that the Koran and its writings tolerate and even call for some of the radical actions that terrorists sometimes carry out. In other words, as hard as it is to declare, not all religions are the same.
The Sound of Silence is… Deafening
The hard truth is nonetheless true. The Muslim faith is not like all the rest. If a group of Christian terrorists destroyed a building in the name of the Lord, you would hear wholehearted condemnation from all mainstream Christians, and more importantly, by its own teachings. The same would be true with Jewish terrorists, Hindu terrorists, or Buddhist terrorists. The people of the religion would condemn the acts and so would the teachings of their particular religion. This is not true with the Muslim faith. The majority of mainstream Muslims condemn terrorism, but the hard truth remains that the teaching of their holy book condones radical behavior. Consider a couple of recent news stories involving the Muslim faith.
South Park and Sharia Law
When Comedy Central’s South Park decides to censor any topic or issue, it gets my attention. The irreverent and often times offensive cartoon had an episode scheduled that depicted Mohammed in cartoon form along with Jesus and Buddha. As word of this South Park episode leaked out, its creators began to receive death threats and warnings. Consequently, they pulled the problematic segment from that particular installment in order to preserve their safety and serenity. This type of intimidation and violence has befallen others that have mocked, trivialized, or made light of the founder of Islam. You will hear many leaders and Muslim individuals make statements against this type of intimidation, however, you will also notice that many leaders and Muslims, here and abroad, remain silent. Have you ever wondered why?
Sharia Law is Islam’s legal system, a combined outcome of the Koran, Muhammad’s life example, and the rulings of Islamic scholars. It can be harsh, intolerant, and at times demand deadly consequences for acts such as improper dress, converting to Christianity, or sharing another religious faith with a Muslim. Recently, the Taliban acknowledged their slaying of 10 Christian missionaries for spying on their country and sharing their Christian faith. The great majority of the Muslim world condemns the murders, but their reason for condemnation will not come from the Koran’s teachings, but from seemingly universal standards of morality.
The Unfortunate Truth is still… the Truth
As I conclude my thoughts on this vexing issue, I hope you can possibly see the complicated issue posed by the desire to construct a Ground Zero mosque so near to the site. Muslims do have the right to worship, as do Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and others. The somber truth is, though, the Muslim faith comes from teachings that portray many behaviors and practices in the Western culture as an affront to Allah.
The Imam of the Ground Zero mosque, Abdul Rauf, talks of the U.S. responsibility for the attack. “U.S. policies were an accessory to the crime that happened. The U.S. has been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world.”
These coldhearted words by the Imam make this fifteen story, $100 million dollar mosque appear to be just a little more irreverent, a bit more ominous, and a whole lot more inflammatory to America’s 9/11 wound than the healing suave that the mosque portrays itself to be.