Reflections on Ground-Zero Mosque Controversy

There isn’t a whole lot I
can say on this subject that hasn’t been said. However, it’s interesting to me
that most of the preeminent Christian blogs have been silent on this subject. Perhaps
that’s a good thing. In many ways, it’s far too big a subject to address in a
blog. Some great articles have been written (like Dan Senor’s in the Wall
Street Journal) in the wake of this development. So, I won’t try to top them.
I’ll just state my positions briefly, with an understanding that good
Christians can see this one differently:

  • The Mosque is
    completely legal to build. No argument here in that regard. However, I’d like
    to see the government be more consistent here. Try to build a church building in California today.
  • To build a Mosque near
    the Ground-Zero site is a colossal
    mistake in judgment. Anyone who wonders why it would bother people or writes
    critics of the build off as bigots needs a reality check. I’m sure there are
    some bigots among the detractors, but there are terrorists among the
    supporters. The broad brush can’t be used to paint that way. Polls say both political
    parties and a massive majority of Americans oppose the build. Bigotry isn’t the
    culprit here. Not even close. Common sense and decency is the reason most
    people the building of the mosque.
  • I’m thoroughly
    disappointed in the President for his unwillingness to comment on the “wisdom”
    of building the mosque, while affirming it’s building under the banner of our
    “highest ideals.” Building a mosque on such a site is in no way an exhibition
    of our highest ideals. It is an abuse of our highest ideals. If the President
    wanted to support the Mosque’s building, I would have liked to see him, at the same dinner, condemn terrorism
    and the persecution of Christians around the world. While the mosque building
    would still be wrong-headed, he would have been more ethically and spiritually
    consistent.
  • Those truly committed
    to goodwill and reconciliation between the faiths would never consider such a
    build. At the very least, I would like to see the build come with some a full
    and public renouncement of 9-11 by Muslim leaders, and other cases where terrorists
    continue to murder Americans…and Muslims persecute and kill Christians. That again
    would at least be ethically consistent.
  • Other than another
    terrorist attack, I can’t imagine what could do more damage to American-Islamic
    relations from America’s standpoint than this build. Regardless of what is said
    about the intent of the Mosque building, it will not serve (at least within the
    next 50 years) as a source of religious understanding. Unfortunately, it will have the
    opposite effect (look at all the good it's doing us right now!). That’s not really what we need in America or around the world
    right now. We need things that actually make for peace. This isn’t one of them.
  • Christians need
    to practice peace no matter what. We need to continue to model Christ-likeness
    in our dialogue, and in our conduct toward those of different faiths. This also means that as we object, we honor Christ in how we do so.

I have more thoughts on
this, but will stop here. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, but let’s
keep them above the belt 🙂

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

11 thoughts on “Reflections on Ground-Zero Mosque Controversy

  1. Tim, Love the blog and please keep it rolling. The conversation above is simply Principal not freedom of religion. If we don’t get God back in our lives, families, and society we will continue to have issues just like that above. Thanks again, God bless
    Ronny Rutledge
    CView CofC

  2. I agree with you that if we are using freedom of religion as our grid, then we should seek it for all people. And that’s exactly my point. As Christians, we can’t scream for freedom of religion if we’re not willing to give it to others. Even if it is denied for us, we have to take the higher road and still grant others that freedom even if they refuse it to us. It’s part of doing to others as they would have them do to us.
    Also, I am by no means endorsing terrorism. But it is largely unfair of us to equate islam with terrorism. I hope no one ever views me in light of the crusades. That would be unfair. In the same respect, it would be wrong for me to view all muslims in the light of a small minority.
    Peace-loving people should not use power to coerce a group from using an unused building for what they wish. People that would do to others as they would have them do unto them, would let people worship where they wish. It’s part of loving our neighbors.

  3. Derek, if we use “freedom of religion” as our grid, we should seek it for all people, everywhere. That’s the point. We can’t just seek it for people according to our political agendas. It sounds a little to me like you are defending terrorism, and as a Christian, I see it as murder. If we aren’t supposed to hold all Muslims responsible for what terrorists do…why would terrorism be understandable? It’s not, and the victims in the Mosque saga are those who died that day. Peace-loving people should see the wisdom of building a few blocks away. I apologize if I misunderstood what you are saying…feel free to clarify.

  4. Kenrick… Some valid concerns. No Muslims have held up the Cordoba House as a place of mourning for 9-11. In fact, the Imam of Cordoba House said America was an accessory to what happened on 9-11. As I see it, they are not being persecuted at all. They are being asked (not forced) to be respectful. It seems to me that peaceful people would see the prudence of moving over a few blocks.

  5. As a Christian, I must thoroughly disagree with you. Though I see your opinion, I think there might be a few improvements to be made. Before that though, I want to begin by thanking you for bringing your view to the table. All views are helpful in reaching the right one.
    But now on to counter-arguments. You kept bringing up “moral and ethical consistency” but I’m not sure that’s a very good argument. Just because (as you said), trying to build a church building in California might be hard to do for Christians these days, that does not mean that we as Christians should push back and put restrictions on other religions.
    As for thinking that there are extremists that support the mosque, perhaps that is true. However, also consider that it is a “Christian” nation that has invaded their country and killed countless members of their family. Perhaps there are extremists on both sides.
    If you are serious about wanting peace no matter what, then perhaps it is time for us to consider stopping the war that we are a part of in their country. War is not peace.
    This country was founded on freedom of religion. Unless you deny that principle, I think that perhaps you should reconsider some of your thoughts.
    I find this blog to be incredibly interesting in how it deals with this topic: http://broderickgreer.tumblr.com/post/966276082/jesus-and-the-ground-zero-mosque
    Again, just because others might not let us build churches as freely as we would like, does not mean that we can stop doing to others as we would have them do to us. That verse left no loopholes. No matter what, regardless of what others to do us, we still have to treat them like we would have them treat us. Kill them with kindness.
    Thank you again for your thoughts

  6. Kenrick,
    I see your point, but for me, the issue is what’s germane to Ground-Zero, not society at large. It’s not the existence of a mosque I find offensive…it’s the building of one on that site…where 3,000 people were murdered.
    Also, churches can’t be built in most Muslim countries to this very day. However, mosques are built with relative freedom in all predominantly Christian countries.

  7. James, read your thoughts and generally agree. Regarding Jesus, you’re right that he wouldn’t demand his rights. That is viewing the situation with Jesus as the receiver. The question for me is, “how would he treat people?” and “what would Jesus say?” It’s hard for me to believe he would say, “build a Mosque at Ground Zero.” …though these are obviously conjectures.

  8. my thoughts (if i were a mom) are here:
    http://jamesbrett.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/a-mothers-response-to-the-ground-zero-controversy
    in brief, i’ll give them here. muslims should not knowingly upset christians (and much of the nation) by building this learning center and mosque in this place.
    and christians should not think they have any right to demand where others meet and worship. i can’t think of a Jesus response in which he’d demand his own rights or demand that he not be offended, etc. maybe i’m wrong, but i can’t think of one.