My brother in law, Joe Smith, snapped this shot of Manhattan from the cockpit of his JetBlue aircraft this morning. Aside from being a very cool perspective, I thought it was extremely timely and worth posting for you to see. ch:
A clear blue sky.
On a Tuesday morning.
I was working in my office at MasterView SoundCrafts Recording Studios in Freeville, NY, preparing for the release of my second album, Please Come In, and a 30-state national tour.
That’s when my dad yelled up at me from the first floor. “Son. Get down here, quick.”
Obviously, I’ll never forget what I saw on TV. Or what it was like driving back-and-forth to Rochester, NY over that next week without a trace of a single police officer, local or state.
Some days it feels like the sky is falling. Buck up. For some people, it really did.
Savor life’s every blessing; remember those who lost it; and honor those who gave it up. ch:
Most of my readers know I don’t often delve into politicking here, as this is not a political blog in nature. However, when faith and policy meet, I feel obligated to chime in. How much more so as a Christian Pastor who lives in NY State when being asked about a proposed mosque in lower Manhattan.
While I think there are noteworthy points of interest raised up by both factions (those that think there’s no problem with building a mosque, and those that think it’s an outrage), I do have some very strong opinions.
First off, in defense of the mosque, I think it’s worth noting two simple points:
1.) There is an existing, operating mosque literally just down the street from the site of the proposed build. If you don’t want one, then you’ll have to close the other; that’s just consistent freedom-loving logic.
2.) If we tell someone they can’t build a mosque today, they could be telling us we can’t build a church tomorrow. So you’ll have to do better than just saying, “I don’t like mosques.” And sadly, while I think sensitivity plays a huge factor here, our culture is way beyond sensitivity and tolerance when it comes to anything Christian.
For the record, I live in America. And we have responsibilities long before we have rights. Or at least that’s what our forefathers believed. That includes the responsibility to build a religious place of worship that holds to the same principles that makes our nation great. So in that regard, I am most definitely not against the presence of a mosque in lower Manhattan (including the existing one just down the street).
But I am against Shari’ah Law and the teaching of it. And any mosque erected to proliferate it.
Quite frankly, I’m baffled why so may Liberals are not screaming against this. After all, unlike Conservatives who merely want to keep homosexual marriage from happening, those among the Muslim community who endorse Shari’ah Law also endorse the stoning of homosexuals; husbands divorcing women for any reason (but not the other way around); amputating limbs as penalty for stealing; stoning for the sin of adultery; and not to mention their caustic views toward infidels. (I’m guessing I fall into that category).
Please note, I have close friends and relatives who have committed their lives to reaching the Muslim world for Christ and are seeing amazing results. In fact, I know of a few ministers, who must remain nameless for the moment, who are leading unprecedented numbers of Muslims to Jesus in Pakistan as you read this. They are souls, period, and very important to God. But I’m not talking about evangelizing Muslims right now: I’m talking about the NY State Government allowing a Shari’ah disseminating mosque to be built in Manhattan.
Hold up. What’d you say?
If you haven’t been introduced to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf yet, perhaps you should read up on him here, here, and possibly here. Sure, it’s kinda’ strange that he’s gathering millions of dollars from outside the US to build the highly controversial Ground Zero Mosque; heck, if I wanted to build a church somewhere in Manhattan, I might ask friends in Europe to help invest in the project. But what Imam Feisal says to news networks in English is definitely not what he says to Arabic news agencies. From his views on Hamas as not actually being a terrorist organization, to his promotion and emphatic endorsement of Shari’ah Law within the United States, he is one of the last people on the planet I would trust with educating the young minds of future Muslim leaders in one of the greatest and most influential cities on the earth.
I suppose I’m also deeply alarmed that NY State has voted against an even more important rebuild (besides the 911 Memorial; it’s been 9 years folks): St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Unlike this “new” place of worship that’s getting all the press, the one that was there in the shadow of the towers and whose congragation has since been displaced has been conveniently forgotten. And in regard to faith, exactly what faith is actually irrelevant: this place of worship has been a keystone in the community with a proven track record of promoting Constitutional albethem Christian virtues. That’s more than I can say for an institution and a leader that promotes Shari’ah Law.
So it’s not the religion, or even the location that bothers me professionally (even though it definitely bothers me personally), it’s what’s going to be preached. And I would think the same of any Christian church that taught that homosexuals should be stoned. Don’t build it, and give the permission and money to someone who’s actually going to value all human life.
Do you think the mosque should be built? Why? Why not? I’d love to hear from you. ch:
EDITOR’S NOTE 08-20-2010 9:57pm EST: I just heard a quote from one of the “unnamed ministers” I mentioned above who is speaking live in Sydney, Australia right now, and as I see it, making it OK to share his name and the quote. This is one man I will not argue with, and just leveled the playing field with one line. I stand speechless. Regarding mosques being built in the US: “…you are not going to them so God is bringing them to you!” -Leif Hetfield