As a Christian conservative, I believe that Jesus is the only way to receive a relationship with the almighty God. I also believe in our constitution, which give me the right to worship God in any way I see fit.
My heart has been torn over the issue of the mosque near ground zero. On one hand I don’t agree with the Muslim faith, on the other, I do agree with the constitution. It seems unwise to build a Mosque when, 70 percent of people are against it, yet should the mob rule all and simply make an exception to the constitution that avidly protects private property rights?
I am very grateful that my faith in God is protected by the constitution. Does this mean that I should be ungrateful for Muslims protected by that same document? Can you have one without the other?
In trying to find an answer to this delicate situation I thought I’d get perspective from fellow fiscal conservatives. So I fumbled through my list of talking heads. Rush Limbaugh criticizes Feisal Abdul Rauf, a possible Imam for the proposed Mosque. This possible Imam is quoted to have said that Osama bin Laden was “made in the USA!” Glenn Beck criticizes Barack Obama for his inconsistent protection of the constitution. All the blogs of the world are aflame with scathing retorts to this desecration of Ground Zero. Battle lines are being drawn. Everyone is choosing sides and bunkering down for a war of angry words and low blows.
Then I tuned in to Chris Rosebrough the radio host of Fighting for the Faith and a strong conservative Christian like myself.
His podcast at Pirate Christian Radio is usually full of discussions concerning the dangerous heresies of the emergent church. In his latest podcast , however, he spent the whole show on the “ground zero” Mosque. I was very surprised at what he had to say, for it was a very different and unique take on the issue.
I highly recommend you put two hours aside and listen to the podcast yourself, but for those who can’t, let me summaries parts of it here.
The first point Chris makes is that the mosque may not even be built at all. He cites a New York Post article called Half-baked Mosque. Turns out the developers only own one of the two buildings. They also need to raise two hundred million dollars of which they only have two hundred dollars. So it seems that those big Muslim oil-drillers in the Middle East are hesitant to make a “victory” mosque at or near ground zero.
Speaking of, mosques, there already is one four blocks away from ground zero built way back in the 70s. Should we shut it down or blow it up?
Now I know that emotions are running high about this, but let’s stop and think about the facts here. If the Mosque is far from being built in the first place, and if it may not even happen, well aren’t we just making a mountain out of a mole hill?
But let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Mosque were to be built. Chris points out that even if Ben Laden himself had chosen the Imam in charge of it, and the extremist Muslims were spouting out their anti-American slander and hate speech. Even if all that were to happen, which is a fear of many Americans, what would these extremists win? He says:
If that’s really what they are trying to accomplish, then it will be evident to every peace-loving American whither they’re Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, or whatever, that these guys were nothing but a bunch of liars, and their hatred will be evident to everybody. They’ll be despised because of their duplicity.
In other words it wouldn’t be a victory at all. Everyone would simply see the extremist Muslim faith for what it really is. They would ignore it, much like the Christian extremists of Westboro Baptist Church are ignored. So does this mean that Anti-American Muslims are protected by the constitution? Chris thinks so.
The constitution makes it clear that in the United States, people have the right to practice and exercise the religion of their choice… as long as [the Muslims at the mosque] are not blowing people up and murdering American citizens; they have a right to worship [any] god… or any false god that they want to.
According to the law of the land, these developers have every right to build a mosque on private property. Even against all the public upheaval, they can just ignore us and do whatever they want to, because private property is protected by the constitution. This is a good thing by the way.
If these are the simple facts, why do so many make a fuss over it? Chris thinks “People are exploiting and demagoguing this… flimsy proposed [Mosque] in order to promote and move forward a political agenda…. Repeat after me, the Mosque is not the goal.” Well if that’s not the goal then what is? Chris believes it is ultimately a fight over religious freedom and religious speech.
Personally I’m not quite a fan of Chris’s view in this part, and to be fair Chris states at the beginning of the podcast that he could be completely wrong in this. It is only his assessment of everything he has read and listened to.
I do think that both sides are using the mosque for their own agenda though. The democrats seem to be showing off how ridiculous religious people can be. The republicans, on the other hand, are using it to push forward an anti-Obama sentiment since he has actively supported the freedoms and rights of these Muslims as protected by the constitution.
Being a strong conservative myself, I’m all about fighting against Obama’s ideas. I’m not a fan of Obama care which will end up costing more than our already fickle economy can take. I’m not a fan of him bailing out companies whose practices have caused them to fail (which Bush also did despite the outcry of the public). I’m not a fan of how he handled the oil spill.
I don’t agree with many of Obama’s policies but in this, I have to say that he is correct in standing up for the private property rights of individuals. Chris sounds very unfortunate in also agreeing with our president, but as he puts it, “…even though [President Obama] is grossly inconsistent when it comes to the constitutionality of things. In this particular case, the rhetoric he is using is principled because it points back to the constitution.”
What saddens me is how politicians on both sides are preying upon Christian’s negative view of Islam. And we are falling head-long into it. I personally know some very nice Islamic people. As a Christian I disagree with their god and their faith, yet I strongly believe in protecting their religion along with mine from any intervention by the government. You really can’t have one side without the other.
Chris Rosebrough says it a little more strongly:
…even though I don’t like [the Muslim] religion at all, even though it’s a very unpopular religion, even though I think Islam is a false religion and demonic, and the Allah of Islam is not a real god, and those that worship him are worshiping him falsely…trapped in a false religion…enslaved to basically demonic doctrines if you would. That’s my opinion of Islam and I’m not backing off from it….The constitution [still] grants the right of religious freedom.
Another gripping point Chris makes, is that the arguments used by the right to attack the mosque being built can also be used against Christians who do not support gay marriage. The media can say, “It isn’t wise to be so against homosexuality,” or “It’s hurtful to those who are trying to gain acceptance in our society.” Just as some people on the right have been saying how unwise and hurtful it is to build the mosque. Should this flimsy reasoning be why it should stop? Should public outcry ever supersede the constitution?
Bottom line, the developers have every right to build a mosque and are under the complete protection of the constitution to do so (If they can even raise the money). Christians have the right of free speech to be against the mosque. They can say whatever they feel about it but they cannot legally stop it from happening. I just hope we can stop being constitutional hypocrites and see that the same freedoms that allow for Muslims to build their mosques is the same freedom we exercise every time we build a church. America is a playing field of freedom and opportunity. May the best faith win.
I’ll let Chris Rosebrough finish us out here:
We’ve taken our eye off the ball. The ball is the gospel not politics. You want to fight Islam? Then preach the gospel… I don’t care if they’re lying to us and that they’re really going to put a mosque in place, and that it’s going to be a hate-filled center of terrorism, I could care less…. Tell me about the people who are preaching Christ and him crucified for our sins in lower Manhattan. Who are they? …You want to oppose this mosque, then stop fighting it politically. The weapons of our warfare are not earthly they’re spiritual. We’ve been given a gospel to preach and it’s through the preaching of the gospel that Christ, Jesus himself, raises people from the dead, whether they’re Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, or heretic, it doesn’t matter….Try to find a way to support the people who preaching the gospel of Christ and him crucified for our sins in lower Manhattan. That’s how you fight the mosque, and that’s how the kingdom of God is advanced.
Well said Chris, well said.