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.