Thursday, August 19, 2010
At the top of my reading list, the Islamic Center in downtown Manhattan now known as Park 51. I generally stay away from CNN and MSNBC to avoid becoming a news junkie, so I'm not a follower of Keith Olbermann, but his piece on Park 51 is outstanding. Put in context, reasoned and challenging, it settles the dust that is being kicked up by so many conservatives. By contrast, Bill O'Reilly's mosque rant on Fox News offers no reasoning whatsoever, but name calling, and "what about the feelings?" questions.
Here's what I think about the feelings part of this controversy. Of course the feelings of family members of 9/11 victims matter. Their personal loss is intertwined with a wound to the American psyche, and processing and dealing with the grief and horror of that day is beyond comprehension. Each of them has their own journey to travel as they move into a future that is forever changed by that day. But where they are on that journey has no bearing on this. Ground Zero is not impacted by this. No one is being mocked by the plans of Park 51. The presence of a religious center that represents love and transformation, and promotes mutual respect and understanding is not an insult to those families or the residents of Manhattan. If anything this is a gift, a balm toward healing.
Al-Qaeda is not Islam any more than the KKK is Christianity. And here's the analogy that cuts to the heart of this. If a Christian church was to be built two blocks from the home of a family whose son was lynched, would anyone even notice? Repeat after me. Al-Qaeda is not Islam.
Combating those who demonize Islam is a challenge. Two members of my church's leadership are totally closed to the notion that anything good can come from that faith, one of them vehemently so. It saddens my heart no end that those who claim to love Christ have such a narrow view. It is not news to anyone that many Christians behave in ways that don't resemble the model or commandments of Christ. That's a tough nut to crack.
As for the Dove World Outreach Church in Gainsville (talk about irony in a name) and their plan to burn copies of the Quran, I heard this morning on the news that they have been denied a burning permit. It's a small strike against hatred, but it's something.
Some excellent reading about the case for gay marriage is found here. I know you all have time for this!
Tomorrow I'll return to a more "normal" rhythm of blogging. And I'll try to stay off the political stuff.
Thanks for stopping by.
UPDATE: Another article about the Islamic Center. This is very well stated.