PASTOR, AUTHOR, THEOLOGIAN
(Ask Anything Friday is a series that I try to get to each Friday… if you have a question, submit it HERE. No subject is off-limits! Questions can relate to the church, theology, personal life, etc.)
Well said, J.D.!
I think you’re correct that, from a pastoral perspective, we would never force a person to grieve in a particular way. That’s counseling 101. You need to give people the space to grieve and heal the way they need to in their own time without forcing them one way or another.
However, something else that has been on my mind is the healing of Muslim Americans in our country. As Americans, they were sinned against by the terrorists who committed the act, and they experienced all the same fear and pain that we did that day. Then they were doubly injured when many Americans took out their fear and anguish through acts of prejudice and discrimination. I wonder if the building of this Islamic Center is a gesture of reconciliation that would bring healing to a community that is in need of it as well.
As a Christian, I certainly find myself torn between these two groups of wounded individuals. It can be hard to know how the Gospel speaks grace to broken communities that are both equally in need of restoration and salvation, yet are simultaneously at odds with one another.
JD. I understand your point of grace to the Islam Community. There are peaceful middle easterners who proclaim Islam but they are not true Islam. True Islam is radical. The Koran speaks of evil acts that need to happen and must be done by those who follow Allah.
What the peaceful followers of Islam need is the gospel not another mosque for them to worship a false God.
This Mosque by good wisdom should not be placed there, as it was those in that religion that started war. *Keep in mind the real Islam according to the Koran is war*
Its not wise to place a Mosque there.
The bible is unclear on this subject so we can not say this is what God would do, this is what a Christian should do. Its a gray area, and this is when we are dual citizens of Heaven and or nation.
As a Christian I will speak the gospel to those proclaiming Islam, not put up Mosque for the love of people. That just causes a spiritual war.
As an American, I remember 9/11. True Islam started the war, and the leader of this new Mosque is true Islam.
It is unfortunate that issues such as this one become so politicized that individuals form their opinion based upon their particular political preferance rather than reason or morals and personal conviction.
I can only speak in general to the situation, I will not attempt to know all the details of those behind the center, which differ depending upon which biased news source one subscribes to.
It can be certainly said however that those behind the center have zeal for their faith and want to not only see their followers have this center, but from this center to spread their religion. As a Christian I respect that, even though I disagree and grieve it. We are according to Paul in a spiritual war not one of flesh and earthly weapons (I’d include political power to that). Because of this I believe our reaction as Christians should not be to ban this mosque, which in fact goes against our country’s standards, but to reach out with the love of Christ to change the hearts of those that follow Islam that they might give glory to God the father.
As far as respect to the victims of 9/11, I do not believe this mosque is off limits. It is not even visible from the actual memorial area, nor can the entirety of Islam be put under the same banner as those who commited this great evil no matter the contents of the Koran, which actually designates Christians and Jews as ‘people of the book’ not as infidels which are to recieve the harsh treatment the Koran speaks of (I say this because it is the perception that America is a Christian nation).
It may be hard for those in the South and Mid West to believe, but Christianity it not beloved by all Americans. In fact many Americans find it quite offensive, and would like very much to band the building of any Christian worship place as many wish to see this mosque banned.
We should not show fear of this mosque for our God is great and his greatness will not be overcome.
There are plenty of mosks within a few miles of ground zero, why does the Imam want to build it right there? This Imam is commited to True Islam, supports Hamas and Sharia Law. Where are the moderate Islamic voices denouncing Gihad, crying out in anger against those who are “radical”. There are none.
JD, Your 1st point I agree with, however your football team analogy I didn’t. It only makes a connection if the people of this Mosque were responsible for 9/11, and caused those deaths– the opposing team. They weren’t. They had no knowledge of the attacks, and they didn’t participate in it in any way. And to hold them and their entire people of faith accountable is wrong.
In your analogy, what if the opposing team player, responsible for the death of your son, was a Christian? Would you not want to see any churches? Christians have killed many many people over the last 2000 years– sometimes even each other and, sometimes claiming the name of our Savior. In the 50s-60s many wore white hoods and burned crosses to terrorize an entire race of Americans. Should there be no Christian churches in the south? So, the collective we, as Christians, have blood on our hands too.
We don’t target Buddhists, or Hindus, and tell them where they are allowed to practice. We wouldn’t advocate restricting their rights to worship a false god.
So it comes down to whether the people of this Mosque or perhaps all of Islam, are truly held to blame for 9/11, though they had no knowledge of it, or hand in it. If that is the collective thinking of Americans, I say shame on us. Although no internment of Muslims happened in 2001, it seems the mindset of anger and distrust is the same, and simmering.
Suzanne, that is a good rejoinder, and worth considering. Note, though, that in my football analogy, the entire opposing school was not guilty of my son’s murder, only a few rogue players. The school should not be punished or held accountable for the actions of a few bad players, but nor should I, the grieving parent, be forced to see a reminder of the name under which my son was killed (even if that name was wrongfully appropriated).
My only point is that the feelings of the families of the victims should have the greatest weight. Why not let them have some say in this?
IMO, this is NOT a political issue, more a respect and common sense one. This has been turned into a political issue, and that is regrettable. Politically, the answer is clear: Muslims should be allowed to build a mosque wherever they please in our country and be allowed to spread their faith as aggressively as they want to, and they should be challenged as to why they do not allow in “their” countries the same freedoms to Christians and Jews that we give to them in ours.
That is the political angle, and I would be in full agreement with what you say. But I am saying that there is a “respect for the grieving survivors” element in this. Why not let the families of the victims decide? Why not defer to them most in this?
Just switch the variables involved… if the people of Hiroshima, Japan, did not want to allow a shop selling American merchandise to be put up a block from the nuclear bomb site 10 years after detonation, would you blame them? If not, why is this any different?
That said, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I was just giving my opinions, and that is all they are–opinions. I love religious liberty and am very grateful for it. I am glad Muslims are free to practice their religion here. I pray that one day they will allow the followers of Jesus to preach the Gospel freely in their countries, too.
JD, I completely agree with the respect issue, and to that I’ll give a local example. A few years ago a local large church wanted to build a new facility off Bailywick Rd.,Raleigh. Due to the traffic etc, all the neighborhoods around it began organizing and protesting. Eventually, the leadership of the church decided if their goal was to positively impact the community for Christ in outreach, how could that happen if they were beginning in such a negative manner? So, they withdrew their bid for the property. And I agree with you that they (Muslims) have the complete right to build. We as Christians and Americans have no right to a prejudice, but that out of respect, they should concede to local concerns. I want it to be their choice out of respect, not a government/law banning it.
However, there is anti-Mosque sentiment raging now, even to TN, which is very far away from NY. A church in Gainsville, Fl, is having a “burn the Quran” day on 9/11. Hardly an effective witness for Christ. The politics of it are disappointing, but my real concern is the attitude of Christians- and is the Church leading? Christ didn’t reach others via threat or persecution, but with a loving hand outstretched. Why not have an outreach day in which the Christians of that church and local Muslims enjoy a day getting to know each other? (not a BBQ, eastern NC!– ha ha) Let the love of Christ spread. End the hate and violence. The Holy Spirit is a powerful force, and we should trust in it.
One small response to your comment on “their” own countries; These are Muslim Americans. “Their” home country is the United States. It is this sentiment that “they” are the same as foreign enemies, that is worrisome. I do want the gospel preached in Muslim countries, but doubt very much that the people who worship in NY could cause that to be. And no one will try when they are met with this hostility. Showing Christians burning the Quran makes a great propaganda video.
And to your last point; That is exactly what makes our nation great. We do allow others to preach their religion here, even though Christianity may be banned from being openly taught elsewhere.
PS: RE the American shop in Hiroshima:
The American military did indeed drop a nuclear bomb on Japan as an act of war. The Christian church didn’t. There are Christian churches in Hiroshima.
Are all Muslims or the entire Islamic faith responsible for bombing NY? Or did 13 criminal extremists under the motivation of a terrorist leader, who manipulated their ignorance, promising them afterlife riches, as any other cult leader does?
JD, Have you ever heard of the 9/11 Truth Movement or done any research on the internet about the physical and scientific evidence surrounding the 9/11 WTC attacks?
I’m amazed by how many Americans still believe that someone named Osama Bin Laden (ex-CIA asset) is still living in a desert cave somewhere in Pakistan making videos that magically appear for naive US citizens to watch and then actually believe that a group of 13 supposed terrorists with literally no training operating commercial aircraft were able to successfully coordinate and execute a multi-phased attack against The World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon on 9/11/2001. I find it extremely interesting that both towers imploded into their own footprints at nearly free fall speed and were completely disintegrated into concrete dust and molten high tensile steel. Does anyone actually believe that supposed “Muslim terrorists” were even behind the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks any longer with all of the contrary evidence available to the general public on the internet? I’m no conspiracy theorist but when I look at the facts it takes more blind faith for me to actually believe in a Muslim God named Allah who wants to build a Mosque near Ground Zero in NYC or even rewards terrorists than it does to actually accept all of the physical evidence that stands in direct opposition to the remote possibility that two commercial aircraft could have actually avoided detection by Norad and then completely disintegrated two of the most structural over-engineered buildings in the history of the entire world like they were just a house of cards disintegrating them both into so much concrete dust, molten metal, and wreckage.
Now that takes some serious blind faith or a downright unwillingness to the accept reality behind these events from a larger global empire building perspective.
My advice to you please stick to preaching the gospel instead of attempting to be a socially relevant blogger or even a Christian talk show internet host. Americans already have enough opinions and ridiculous political concepts thrown at them on a daily basis. My suggestion to you – Preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified and let the cards fall where they may.
Look at the videos of the planes impacting the towers of the WTC and then watch the subsequent collapse of these structures. Never in history have two well-engineered buildings collapsed from fire that contained as much high tensile steel to withstand a category five hurricane and major fire damage on multiple floors collapse into concrete dust and molten metal.
How do four different planes manage to go completely off the air traffic controllers grid and then completely bypass our NORAD defense systems with out any tactical response from the US military?
Then you have a coordinated plane fly into the Pentagon with no recoverable fuselage located afterwards. These facts defy all the natural laws of the universe. I view this whole Ground Zero mosque effort as just another very devious effort by the true criminals who actually orchestrated the 9/11 attacks as a mean to further obscure the truth about what really happened on 9/11 and prevent the American people from ever discovering the facts by politicizing this whole event in an effort to reignite passionate anger amongst the American populace against Muslims and Islamic nationalities inside the United States.
The physical facts surrounding this phenomenon are absolutely undeniable. The WTC collapse was a highly organized series of controlled demolitions across both towers and then building #7. Wake up! A mosque at ground zero is merely just another smoke screen to divert our attention away from the reality of what really transpired.
P.S. Your blog stipulates that no subject is off-limits! Questions can relate to the church, theology, personal life, etc.) I assume this includes additional opinions related to alternative theories about the collapse of WTC and why a Mosque could be build within a stone’s throw of the actual ground zero memorial site.
Pastor JD had the courage that although this was a very emotionally charged current event, he answered it anyway, even qualifying his response by stating that it was his opinion, and reiterating that to my response. Why then do you feel the need to challenge his right to offer his opinion to a question he was asked on his own blog? Just because you disagree with his opinion is no reason show such disrespect to him as a pastor or even as a blogger.
We can differ without being toxic. Your opinion though quite controversial– accusing the US gov. of killing 3000 of its own citizens to frame Islam, was posted including the link, which shows this blog willing to discuss even such a sensitive issue. You should show some respect to the host.
Pastor JD is a pastor; It would make sense that his compassion is for the families. He also holds a PhD in Islamic studies.
“I’m no conspiracy theorist…”
Neither am I sarcastic.
JD,,Thankd for a very balanced and fair response.. and John Adams all I can say right now to your posts, is wow!..
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