Ethics: Church Organizes To Ban Mosque

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What would you do Wednesday!

Local Muslims have found a building in the neighborhood that they’d like to turn into a Mosque. The zoning notice is up and a city hall meeting will be taking place very soon. There has been talk around town both for and against. Some very vocal citizens are absolutely against adding a Mosque to the town and plan on trying to convince the local government to not let it be built. Another group who are just as vocal are not promoting the building of the Mosque, but recognize the Muslims’ freedom to build and will fight for this freedom.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday.

On the Sunday morning prior to the town hall meeting you’re pastor prays from the pulpit that the Mosque will not be allowed to be built. After the prayer, he references Herman Cain’s recent comment that a community has the right to ban Mosques.1 Following Cain’s lead your pastor calls for the church to join him at the town meeting to protest the building of this Mosque and call for the city council to ban Mosques in the city.

What would you do?

  • Join your pastor and others in protest?
  • Join the group fighting for Muslim freedom to build the Mosque?
  • Stay out of it and let others worry about the outcome?
  • Go to the meeting as an opportunity to share the gospel with Muslims?
  • Or….?

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The above article was posted on July 20, 2011 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David T July 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I think that Christian leaders who actively work toward a goal of keeping non-Christian religious groups (whether Muslim, Hindu, JW, Mormon, et al.) out of their community do not understand how much they may be shooting themselves in the foot. The freedom of religion, and the freedom of (religious) association that we enjoy as Americans is very valuable. Once the precedent is set that those freedoms can be infringed for any group, the door is opened for those freedoms to be infringed for all groups. Cain’s argument that a Muslim congregation automatically brings danger is such a sweeping over-generalization that it becomes ludicrous.

2 Ian July 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Mark,
I hope you realize that this scenario is not at all like the one Mr Cain addressed this past week! Just saying!

3 Christiane July 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Go to the meeting and join the group fighting for Muslim freedom to build the Mosque as an opportunity to share the gospel with them as Christian people who treat others as they would wish to be treated in a strange land.

All that ‘hate’ thing never worked to convert anyone, did it ? Time to try the Great Commandment.

The Muslims will say ‘who are these people who reach out to help us’ ?
They will be curious to know more about their new friends, and that curiosity may be used by the Holy Spirit to bring them to want to know their new friends and to get to know the Lord that inspired a loving-kindness that was shared with them at a time when they were targeted as unwanted in that community.

4 Ian July 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Go with your Pastor to exercise your civic duty to protect the community.Making sure you protect the “welfare of the City”.
Continue to share the Gospel with Muslims in the community by developing friendships with them and respectfully showing them that Christianity is centered on the finished work of Christ on the Cross.

5 Mark July 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

David, I agree that taking away the freedom to build a Mosque in this instance may likely set a precedence that would allow for the banning activities of groups.

6 Mark July 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Christiane, you offer a good approach, IMO. However, I’m not convinced that not wanting a Mosque in one’s town is necessarily a hate issue.

7 Mark July 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Ian, I was using Cain’s statement as a jumping off point rather than an exact parallel. Though I disagree with Cain on this I like the guy. He’s also a fellow Metro-Atlantan.

Do you think that by seeking to ban the building of the Mosque would give you more or less of an opportunity to share the gospel? Or do you think that even matters?

8 Ian July 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Also we should educate our leaders that the founders of this great country would have never understood “freedom of religion” as inclusive of non-Judeo-Christian
religions. Also that they would have understood “freedom” as only applying to those who granted reciprocity! As America demanded in the treaty of Tripoli.

9 Ian July 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Mark,
I think you can both be an activist against the goal of forceful dominating religion and be faithful in maintaining relationships and the testimony of the Gospel to individual muslims.
Another way to put it to say that I oppose the Islamists but not muslims. Also this is not similar to theonomy because it is embraced not forced. regeneration not revolution!

10 Peter L July 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Personally, I would stay out of the way and just go talk to Muslim neighbors. I have heard from a man who ministers to Muslims ion the US that they are surprisingly open to hearing the Gospel. They may not respond to the message, but they listen.

As for a mosque, I presume the argument against it is that Muslims are all out to destroy America. Wrong! Many moved here to get away from the Sharia laws of their homelands. They realize the freedoms they have here are better for them than the lack of liberty in a place like Iran.

And is having a mosque worse than say, an adult bookstore? One group has members that openly want to destroy America. The other represents the downhill slide of the moral fabric of the nation, destroying the US from the inside.

Personally, I’ll take the ones who are honest in their desires and let the mosque be built.

11 Ian July 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Mark
Do we have to wait till 400,000 people are murdered like in this Indonesian colony!
http://tinyurl.com/453jncn

12 Christiane July 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Goodness, Ian,
what is your goal ?
Is it to bring Christ to others, or to make people afraid to do it ?

13 Mark July 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Peter, I appreciate your approach. Thanks.

14 Mark July 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Ian, of course we don’t want to plant Mosques that are or become breeding grounds for people who set out to kill our citizens. Many of America’s freedoms are used to harm people.

I’ve not heard anyone argue that freedom of religion does not apply to non-Judeo-Christian religions. Do you think the First Amendment supports your position?

15 Andrew Wencl July 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Mark,

Good question. It is hard for me to say what I would do. I understand that praying for a mosque not to be built isn’t PC, but I think that Christians should pray against the spread of other religions. But the end doesn’t justify the means. It’s one thing if the mosque isn’t built because the people lose interest. It’s another if a Christian majority tries to twist the law into persecuting a minority religious group.

The best way to stop the influence of false religions is through the truth, not politicking. The ‘holy war’ that we fight is fought in the heavenly realms. There are certainly times when we should petition the government and use the legal system. But to reinterpret the Constitution and attempt to deny others something that we consider to be our right only serves to undermine the nation’s trust in the Constitution and to undermine our own religious freedom.

I’d probably have a long discussion with the pastor. Then I’d probably go to the meeting and argue that we can’t give up our freedoms to restrict the freedoms of others.

16 Ian July 21, 2011 at 1:34 am

Mark,
In response to this part….I’ve not heard anyone argue that freedom of religion does not apply to non-Judeo-Christian religions. Do you think the First Amendment supports your position?
All I am saying is that in the whole discussion with the Founders and the starting of this great nation. They would have never imagined a worldview that was total void of any Christian impact.Logically then they could have never envisioned a “religion” that was out too destroy all the others through force. Instead they imagined freedom as free to be any kind Christian you wanted to be such as a Methodist, or a Baptist, or a Presbyterian.
Admittedly this was not Mr Cains point!

17 Ian July 21, 2011 at 2:06 am

Several facts about this act.
The funding for this mosque is coming from Muslim brotherhood…not locally here in TN
2). the mosque is not moving into a vacant building….in fact the zoning was not approved until after the fact building had already started.
3) members have already been involved in terrorist acts here in TN.
4)a location in Brentwood was also nixed because the local community decided to “ban ” them.
5.the middle TN area already has several mosques and the opportunities to continue to worship locally are plentiful!
6. No one is banning them from worshipping where they worship now.
7. the evidence supports the idea that this facility is expected to be regional center for Islamic coercion rather than a local community of muslim worshippers.
8. Christians have the right to redress or petition the government for justice.
To sum it up the conflict centers on attempt to coerce Political Islam onto a community that does not want Political Islam in there backyard.

18 Mark Bainter July 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

An interesting question – and discussion. While I agree with Ian regarding what the original founders had in mind when they wrote about religious freedom I think it might be a moot point. I’m not sure that ultimately it is a moral good to only allow the practice of Judeo-Christian branches of religion to practice. First, it doesn’t prevent Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. Second it may not even prevent Islam, as I’m sure they could make a case for being branched from Judaism that would pass muster – especially in today’s court system.

I would likely try to speak with the Elders privately, and or attempt to have a congregational meeting to discuss this. The church is not a feifdom, where the Pastor rules the church. This may be a place where the congregation needs to censor their leadership. After all, the power of the keys goes from Christ, to the Congregation, then to the Elders.

Failing that, I would probably inform the elders I had no intention of supporting the church in this and that I would be opposing them in the meeting. While it is important that we be obedient, this is not a matter where the church has the authority to bind the conscience of the believer and I would feel no compunction to follow their lead in it.

All of this, of course, depends on what I knew of the group in question. If, as Ian says, this was an attempt at political effort rather than religious, or was otherwise something I wouldn’t care about one way or another I might not get involved at all after trying to influence the church to keep their nose out of it as a religious entity. (Obviously, the individuals can do what they wish).

The praying is fine. It’s absolutely good and right to pray against the spread of false religion as another has said. It’s also good to fight falsehood with truth and not with the sword of the state. That way lies nothing but trouble and heartache. If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.

19 Andrew Wencl July 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Wouldn’t that be freedom of denomination?

20 Christiane July 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm

There is freedom of religion in this country . . . all religions are included.
And there is freedom from religion in this country, in the sense that no one MUST adhere to a faith in which they do not believe, or pay taxes for the support of any ‘state’ church.

As to the ‘founders’, I notice no references given, and I would appreciate seeing them, particularly from people like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Thanks, if you can help.

21 Mark July 22, 2011 at 9:51 am

Ian,

I’m not making a direct correlation. I’m using the sound byte as a spring board to create a different scenario to think through.

Also, I believe Mark Bainter answered well enough about the US Founders. It basically comes down to what the Founders wrote that opened the door for freedom for all religions.

22 Ian July 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Christiane,
The point that Mr Cain made was that the activities that this mosque has/will be involved with are not just religious activities. He was not challenging the religious activites…..only the activities involving Sharia law. The two largest muslim groups here in the middle tn area are the Somalis and the Kurds. They have a history of political activism to coerce others!
Two examples locally, and one nationally!
Dell computers walkout. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/515
Whirlpool firings.http://tinyurl.com/3tdxhm5

Air France uniform policy http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/124458749.html

23 Carmen August 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I will try my best to show them with my life that God, the only God wants to have a personal relationship with them. They will observe that in my behavior. When it is the right time, God’s time, I will let the Holy Spirit to guide me to tell them that Jesus strap himself to a cross for everyone! (for them not to have to strap to a bomb, if they are the fundamentalist type) and offer them the gift of salvation by Grace.
May the Lord fills everyone’s life with his love!

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