The biggest story in the news this past week has been the outrage over the proposed construction of an Islamic center two blocks north of Ground Zero. Entering into the foray is Donald Trump, who, in an effort to calm tensions, has offered to buy out investors of the project as long as they build their structure at least 3 blocks further away. Also in the mix is a Florida preacher who has purportedly garnered meetings with Muslim officials about relocating the structure by squelching his own plans to burn copies of the Quran on September 11. Meanwhile, many patriotic Christians are asking the Obama administration to declare it's loyalty to God and country by stepping in and deciding the issue as a matter of law.
Is this really what we want? Do we as a nation seek to have matters of religious expression decided by threats, payoffs and governmental control?
Am I mistaken, or didn't our founding fathers make their way to this country hundreds of years ago in order to escape some of the very same practices and policies being applied or suggested today?
While plans to build an Islamic center so close to the sight of the 9/11 tragedy are completely insensitive, they are not un-American nor are they unconstitutional. Among other things, our Constitution guarantees that each of us has been granted the right to freedom of religion. Any religion.
The Constitution is a double-edged sword. It cuts both ways. While guaranteeing the rights of other religious groups, it guarantees the rights of yours and mine. I don't know about you, but I don't wish for those in positions of power, authority or wealth to decide where I can worship, when I can pray, or how and what I can preach. That system didn't work for our forefathers and it won't work for us.
Despite these arguments, there are more important matters at hand. Jesus didn't call us to stop building projects. He called us to build His kingdom. We have not been given the mandate to tear down the faiths of others. We have been assigned the task of lifting up Christ. If as believers we spent as much time witnessing and praying as we did complaining and protesting, we probably wouldn't find ourselves discussing this matter in the first place.