Christians and Mosque Protests

Perhaps against my better judgment, I’m going to wade into some political waters briefly. That’s dangerous business, but to add stupidity to danger, I’m going to offer a perspective on a political debate I haven’t spent very much time researching or trying to get a grip on.

It goes a little something like this: there’s a major debate roaring on and on about the building of a mosque near the site where the 9/11 tragedy took place. Lots of politicians and sensationalist talk show hosts have been talking on all sides of the debate, stirring up a frenzy. And the USAmerican viewing audience appears to be convinced of the critical importance of either definitely not building it, or definitely building it.

From the number of Facebook links I’ve seen in my News Feed, many Christians are pretty fired up about this issue, too. I’ve talked to several friends who lament having gotten sucked into Facebook discussions around this topic.

Like I said, I’ve not studied the issue, and frankly, there are plenty of other more interesting opinions than mine on whether the mosque should be built. I get that 3,000 people died needlessly on 9/11, and that’s hard to get over. But when it comes to the commentary I’ve seen coming from Christians . . . those who supposedly follow Jesus, I’m really troubled. Not exactly the “love your neighbor as you love yourself” kind of stuff that Jesus said was on his top two list when it comes to pleasing God. I am NOT of the opinion that Muslims are the enemy . . . but for the sake of argument, let me pretend for a moment that they are. Jesus’ most famous sermon tells us to LOVE our enemies, and pray for them.

May I humbly suggest that instead of buying into the false, ratings-driven, and irrelevant media hype over all this, Christians would go a lot farther in loving their “enemies” in some way other than protesting the construction of a mosque? For example, last month, flooding in Pakistan killed 2,000 people and displaced millions . . . the majority of whom are Muslims. What kind of impact would Christians have on our “enemies” if, instead of fighting them tooth and nail over the location of a place of worship, we joined with them in grieving their losses, and giving ourselves toward the alleviation of their suffering? What kind of impact would that have on us?

How much media hype have you seen about Pakistan’s floods? Yeah, me either. More to the point, how many Facebook story links have you seen from Christians organizing prayer vigils or fundraising efforts for relief work? How many news stories have you seen of Christians lining up at the doors of the Muslim organization wanting to build the mosque, not for the purpose of protest, but for the purpose of support?

If any Christian insists on calling these people enemies, then they’ve got their marching orders, don’t they?

That is all.

3 comments
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  1. Good one.

    Stepping out a little from the debate, and getting a fresh look at what the debate evokes within us will be a helpful exercise both for those who support or do not support the building of the Mosque or Islamic centre near the site.

    Of course, in a globalized world, how people engage the debates will have ripple effects on those of us on this side of the continent. And very often for some people, the eavesdroppers aren’t acknowledged to be listening in and thus forming judgments on the people who are more directly involved.

    Thanks Steve for stretching the debate to include “others”.

  2. Sivin – thanks for the words. It must be a little comical for you to see the fits that people in the U.S. throw when it comes to Islam . . . I wonder how USAmerican Christians would manage if Islam were the dominant, official religion, as it is where you are? Your perspectives, coming from the place of Christian minority would welcome here any time.

    I hope all is well with you, friend.

  3. Steve,
    Thanks for posting. I too, have not studied up on the situation – but find your questions powerful: “What kind of impact would Christians have on our “enemies” if, instead of fighting them tooth and nail over the location of a place of worship, we joined with them in grieving their losses, and giving ourselves toward the alleviation of their suffering? What kind of impact would that have on us?”

    My wife and I have wondered why we have heard so little about the flooding in Pakistan – yet there is such debate about location and anniversary’s.

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