For weeks now I’ve been listening to those who don’t want the “the mosque” built at ground zero. For weeks now I’ve been listening to those who want “the mosque” built near ground zero. I’ve even heard the President’s viewpoint on our principles of freedom of religious worship. And, the mayor of New York, and my FB friends, and my spouse, and on and on. It is a complicated situation.
On the one hand we do have the right to worship as we please, or not. We have the right to build a place of worship on privately purchased property. We have many freedoms not found in many other countries. Thanks be to God! But, along with those rights, goes the responsibility of every American citizen to see that they are upheld and honored, even when, or maybe particularly when, we disagree. If we don’t, we’ll lose those rights and then where would we be? Next time it may be where your house of worship is going to be built to which many people will be object.
On the other hand, while “the mosque”is not being built on ground zero, but some two blocks away from the site, it is uncomfortably close for those families and friends who lost loved ones in that terrible terrorist attack by Islamic radicals. They grieve still as does our country. We must remember however, that it wasn’t the Islamic religion that flew those planes into the towers, but a small group of sadly misled, irrational, Muslim terrorists. Remember that word “Terrorists.” Other faithful Muslims are being labeled and discriminated against because of those few terrorists. We have become an Islamophobic country and this is so sad because this great country was founded on the principle of religious freedom, but our attitudes no longer seem to reflect that basic tenet.
The question of what is appropriate to build at, or near, or close by, any place we consider sacred ground is never answered by a simple, yes or no. All parties involved need to consider not only the facts but the feelings associated with such decisions. I pray that those involved in this decision are doing just that. But, the best answer that I’ve heard to “the mosque” dilemma is to build that huge community center two blocks from ground zero and within its walls put a Christian chapel, a Jewish synagogue, an Islamic mosque, and perhaps even some sacred space for all the Shintos, Hindis, Buddhists, Confucians, atheists, agnostics et al to sit and meditate. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? It might even make God smile!