Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Christian, Muslim spiritual concepts to address the Ground Zero Mosque

In the early church, folks fought over meat. Not because of scarcity or nutritional questions, but because meat was frequently butchered, sold and prepared with dedications to various pagan deities or spirits.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul sets out an important response. He says that Christians are free to have burgers, simply by giving thanks to the one God of all creation. But, they should limit the exercise of their freedom if 1) it sends the wrong message to uninformed converts, suggesting they can mix & match gods or 2) to respect the conscience of a neighbor who informs you that the meat he serves is offered in the name of another god.

Applied to the Cordoba Mosque, this approach says three things:

1. Its leaders are free to build it under the noble Constitution of the United States.
2. Its leaders might choose a different location to honor their least informed converts, who might well understand the Mosque to be a sign of militant Islamic expansion if it is placed at Ground Zero.
3. It's leaders might choose a different location to honor the pain of those victimized on 9/11.

I am not an in-depth scholar of comparative religion, but in some discussions an Islamic idea called fitna is coming up. It appears that actions which disturb public peace are frowned upon, so this might be an Islamic reason to relocate the Mosque.

I've seen a couple of reports that Speaker Pelosi wants opponents of the Mosque location (and this is key - it is about where the Mosque goes, not if it can exist) investigated. If she means "the press should look into stuff like this," fine - but if she is at all suggesting that government power be used to stifle a public debate, she is unfit for public office. I can't imagine a worse abdication of the promise to "defend the Constitution of the United States."

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