A Christian Approach to the New York City Mosque at Ground Zero

Polls and opinions are meaningless when it comes to whether a certain group receives freedom of religion. Even if all of America was against the Muslims building a mosque near ground zero, our freedom of religion should be upheld and they should be allowed to build. Let's stand up for all forms of freedom of religion, even if we disagree with the religion. It's one of the things that make America great.
They came first for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me (a Christian pastor)
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

- Martin Neimoller
I pray and hope that Christians will not be calling for a move that would limit freedom of religion in this nation. Our freedom of religion is like a giant snowball at the top of a hill.  So far, we have been holding that ball on the top.  Now, some are joining forces with those attempting to get the ball rolling.  We are close enough to having the ball pushed down that slope without our help. And once it starts rolling, it won't stop until its at the bottom, has grown, and destroyed everything in its way.

I understand the fear that this mosque, or another mosque, or even a church, will be used to teach hate that will turn into violence. It's definitely a difficult issue, but the gut response expressed by Newt Gingrich (who I typically appreciate) is completely wrong. Religion should be separate from government interference. If the people from a mosque or church start killing others, then they are guilty of murder. If these people were part of the terrorism from 9/11, they would already be arrested. If they violate the laws of the land, they will be arrested. But those laws cannot be specific to ostracizing one specific religion.

I would not like the government telling me where I can and cannot have a church, what I can or cannot say as a pastor, so I expect the same for other religions. Once we take away one group's rights, we risk losing the rights for the next group and the next group.

Freedom of religion is part of who we are as Americans. Loving Muslims, is part of who I am as a Christian. I should never try to silence or shut up people I disagree with by force; I should use the sword of the Spirit and love them. God could easily ban all religions that aren't His, but He does not. He uses the faithful like you and me to shape the world into His will. I will follow Jesus' example, and give of myself so that they can also know the grace and fullness of the Lord. It's easier said than done, but it is our calling to be humble, gentle, and bear with one another in love.

I can say that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and still love Muslims.  These are not contradictory positions. Actually, I would say that saying I am a follower of Jesus would mean that I need to love Muslims; however, that does not mean that I have to say that the Muslim religion is right.

Nothing our government can do will ever chop away at our faith unless we allow our government to dictate what we can and cannot do. That is not an argument for in your face preaching of doctrine to people who don't want to hear it, but an argument for loving our neighbor and sharing the truth in love no matter what the circumstance, even if the other person is trying to kill us and even if our government says it is wrong.

What's fair for one religion should be fair for all religions in this state.  And Christians should be known by their unity and love, not their fear and hatred.  May we be Christians who are loving even in the most difficult of situations.