Let’s talk about Mosques, shall we?

Yesterday, I spent the morning with some of my ladies and we were discussing this Sunday’s Mass Readings and the common theme of Humility. The Gospel (Lk 14:1,7-14) is the parable of the wedding feast in which Christ reminds us that when choosing places at the wedding feast, it is better to choose a lower station rather than a higher one, as by choosing low, the host can elevate you to a higher status, but if you automatically choose the higher station, the host come to you and ask you to move as someone more important than you is to sit there.

(The funny thing is, I saw this happen at my brother-in-law’s wedding and a guest had to be informed that she was not supposed to be sitting at the head table. It’s funny looking back and thinking about it but at the time it was weird for all parties involved.)

The Gospel goes on to suggest to us that when throwing a party or feast, rather than inviting friends and family, who would feel the need to reciprocate, you should invite those who are at the fringes of society… the down trodden and outcasts who have no means to reciprocate. We discussed this last point at length and thought about who were the outcasts in our lives.

Extending the parable, making the feast not just an actual wedding feast, but the feast we celebrate at every Eucharist and the feast awaiting us in Heaven, we talked about the usual: family members who have fallen away from the church, the homeless, those weird relatives that just don’t know how to dress for occasions. We came to the conclusion that the ones on the fringes are the ones that don’t completely mesh with our values and ideals. That’s when one of the moms piped up about the current Mosque controversy in New York and how Moslems are filling the role as the outsiders because they are different.

I know, you might be thinking: “They’re not just different! They’re terrorists!” or you are thinking: “Yup, go on, oh wise CCM (tee hee)” But stay with me here. I know that it’s easy for me to say that I do not oppose the mosque, sitting here in middle America, but I would think the same thing even if I was living in Battery Park because it is the right thing to do. The First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If you look carefully, there is no asterisk by the word “religion” that says “provided that the religion in question is part of the main-line Christian type.” I guess we could get into whether the developer of the mosque is a US citizen (I don’t know) or if those who would use the mosque are citizens as well (again, I don’t know.) But for me it seems as if that is a dangerous slope to be heading down.

I was watching coverage of the protests at Ground Zero and there was a gentleman wearing an American Flag bandanna with a sign that said: “You can build a Mosque at Ground Zero when we can build a synagogue in Mecca.” Therein lies the rub… I could be wrong, but I don’t think Saudi Arabia has the same freedom of religion that we have and in my mind, by dictating where the mosque should be built, we are no better than those to whom we are trying to be an example of freedom.

My husband also offers his perspective on the matter. (FYI: DH grew up in Northern Wisconsin and is of Irish and German descent. In other words, “straight up White.”) His thought is this: If it is bad taste to build a mosque at Ground Zero because a fringe sect of Islam killed Americans of every color, religion and gender, then we should make sure that all churches are destroyed that are around or near where the KKK lynched men or otherwise terrorized blacks because the KKK is a Christian Organization.

I know that there is the the thought of just moving the proposed build site to somewhere less hallowed, but isn’t that what terrorists want? For us to change our habits and decisions? We have to remember that the actions of a few do not dictate the whole. Just because the KKK considers themselves to be Christian doesn’t mean that all Christians ascribe to their tenets of faith as not all Moslems are out to kill the infidels. Maybe instead of gleaning all of our information from Fox News, CNN or even The Daily Show (even though I heart Jon Stewart) we should learn about each other by reaching out to one another.
You have thoughts, you know you do! Share them here. I welcome disagreements but you have to be respectful and stand by your statements.

Pax Christi!


Filed under Catholic, life, Moslem, political, Thursday, world

3 responses to “Let’s talk about Mosques, shall we?

  1. David

    I don’t know too many people saying that they can’t build a mosque there, heated rhetoric aside. We’re asking, as in “Please consider another location?”, again, all heated rhetoric aside. This would be like the Japanese wanting to build a Shinto Shrine at the Arizona Memorial, or to have anything blatantly American in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. These are all sites of extreme tragedy, and should be treated sensitively. We are asking, not demanding. At least most of us.

    • Hi David! Thanks for reading and commenting! I was discussing this post with a friend today and she made the same point, and you know, I can’t argue with that. However, while some would be OK with moving the mosque, there are others who would rather it never be built. I have a friend living near Nashville TN and there is currently a campaign being waged against the building of a new mosque in Murfreesboro TN. The new mosque would replace one that is not large enough to meet the needs of the current members. So my questions is, where do we draw the line?

      And I agree that what we see on the news, on both sides, is spin and rhetoric and doesn’t help the situation.

      ETA: I started typing my first response on my iTouch and it was a hot mess.

      • David

        All I can say is, as a Catholic who wants to be able to practice my own faith full blast, I support others right to do the same thing. There are radical Catholics and Christians just as there are radical Muslims, but neither fact means we should not allow them to worship. As long as we live within the law, I’m all for it.

        I agree that Nashville and NYC are well apart as far as attitudes (I have relatives there, too), heck, they don’t even like Catholics much there! But a freedom is a freedom of all, not just those we agree with. We Christians need to do what Jesus would have done. Have we Christians prayed for the soul of Osama Bin Laden lately? We need to remember that we are ALL made in the image and likeness of God-Muslims, too-and that God loves every one of us equally. God bless.

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