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Christians react to proposed mosque near Ground Zero

Debate over a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero has emerged as one of the top religious and political news stories of 2010. The Christian Chronicle asked church members to weigh in on how Christians should respond to the fight over building a mosque two blocks from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Following are representative responses, edited for length:
“Our Muslim neighbors need the Gospel.
“They will not hear it through protests. They will hear it through Christians who make the most of their opportunities to show God’s love to them. They will learn it through Christians who season their words with the salt of the Gospel and learn to respond to Muslims as fellow humans who have also been created in the image of God.”

Keith Brumley| Milwaukee
“Maybe it’s just me, but I think the idea of a mosque 700 feet from Ground Zero is one of the most insane proposals I have heard in a long time.
“It has nothing to do with freedom of religion, but everything to do with compassion, sensitivity and common sense.
“It seems that we live in an era where some people are so open minded that they are endangered of the brains falling out.”
Rick Bloodworth | Happy, Texas
“While I believe that Islam is a false religion, it is a religion in a government of religious freedom. We cannot decide to ignore the Constitution when strong feelings arise, lest we weaken the concept of constitutionality.
“More importantly, Muslims and others victimized by false religion will not be won to Christ through political or any other type of pressure. This emotionalism muddies the water and destroys opportunities to expose the life, love and truth of Jesus and his church.
“I’m more troubled by the liquor stores and strip joints near Ground Zero than I am of a mosque.”
David Wilson | Brooklyn, N.Y.
“An old Arab proverb says, ‘If you let a camel stick his head in the tent, before long the entire camel will be in the tent.’ The avowed purpose of Islam is to take over the entire world with its Shariah — a complete package of political, moral, social, educational and religious control. Muslims are relatively quiet yet in the U.S., because they are relatively few. In Western Europe and England, where they are sizable minorities, they make a lot of noise. … Wherever Muslims have won a victory, they have built a monumental mosque in that location. And the one near Ground Zero?”
Glover Shipp | Edmond, Okla.
“This country was founded on religious freedom. Any religious freedom denied is a loss of freedom for all Americans.”
Jim Frost | Elkhorn, Wis.
“I think a good Christ-like response to the whole issue is to suggest that a better use of our mental and emotional energies would be to focus on how to effectively present Christ to our cities in particular and generally to the Muslims of the world.”
John Free | Fullerton, Calif.
“Freedom of religion is a great privilege that we enjoy in this country. This freedom is also for Muslims, and it includes the liberty to have their own place — that which is permitted by law.
“Our mission as a church is to take the powerful Gospel to the hearts of those that need Jesus Christ, and this includes Muslims.
“Our identity as Christians should be that of love. Jesus commanded that we love our enemies, even Muslims. Therefore, let’s go to God in prayer to do our part — love and evangelize.”
Sixto Rivera | Dallas
“Are we going to be for freedom of religion as long as it is ‘Christian?’ If so, then that really isn’t freedom of religion. … This is not to say, though, that I am for the construction of a mosque near the location of the fallen WTC towers. That is just horrible taste on their part.”
Doug Young | Portales, N.M.
“As Christians we are to respond with the same love for God and neighbor. Love does not equal agreement about God. Hate does not prove us right about God. Thus, there is no danger in loving rather than hating.
“That said, there are certainly cultural and social issues resounding around the location of the mosque for New York City. Of course they cannot, as a city, avoid a dialogue about the implications for their city of the location of the mosque.
“Sadly, it would seem some fringe elements of Christendom in America have hijacked the social and cultural issues relevant to NYC alone.”
Christine Parker | Memphis, Tenn.
“It is difficult for a Christian to speak to political controversies with the voice of Christ. Instead, our voices become strained, angry, threatening, like any other threatened human in the world.
“‘Perfect courtesy’ is lacking in most of the responses of non-Muslims to any mosque building today. Yet if our country truly is to practice religious freedom, how can we expect to apply zoning laws differently against one group than another?
“And if we are to insist that our national polity be Christian, whose Christianity will it be? Rex Reed’s or Rick Warren’s? Bart Ehrman’s or the pope’s?”
Steve Kenney | Russellville Ky.
“To place a mosque near where Muslim terrorists murdered thousands is a victory for those who would murder us.
“The difference between Islam and other cultural religions such as Judaism, Eastern religions and even Christianity, as it has been corrupted by the West, is that none of them have declared their intention to destroy us by violent means.
“New Testament Christianity’s war with culture is a war of ideals using weapons of faith, fidelity and Scripture. Islam’s war is one of domination, using bombs, bullets and even ballots.

Jay Kelley | Levelland, Texas
“Regulating where Muslims are allowed to meet is not the answer. Loving and teaching is the proper way to address the Muslim people. They ‘shall know the truth and the truth shall set them free.'”

David May | Eagan, Minn.

Filed under: Staff Reports Views

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