What can we do about religious violence and hatred? What can we do about clergy and laity who insist on spreading lies, hatred, and fear? These are not academic questions. Especially in my town. Especially this week.
There has been an Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, TN for years. It was small, and stayed pretty much under the radar. Now things are different. The Center wants to build a 52,000 square foot community center and mosque. The county commission said yes, the people say no. Not all the people, of course. May be not even most of the people. But enough to make me fear not only for the welfare of my Muslim neighbors, and for any who support them and their right to freedom of religion.
The position of my Christian neighbors is simple: Muslims support Sharia (Islamic law), Sharia is globalist, Muslims want to rule the world, and the center in Murfreesboro will be a training camp for terrorists bent on turning Middle Tennessee into a Taliban stronghold like Afghanistan without the trillion dollars worth of minerals.
Let’s not be naïve. There are Muslims who wish to spread Islam around the world just as there are Christians who wish to spread Christianity around the world. Christianity and Islam are the only religions bent on global domination, and both have a long history of using warfare to do so. It isn’t surprising that these two faiths have been and continue to be at odds, and often at war. It may not be politically correct to say so, but without Christianity and Islam we wouldn’t be fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and (coming soon to a theater of war near you) Iran. You can argue that these wars are not religious, but remove religion from the equation and the wars cease to be fought at all.
So I understand why so many of my neighbors believe we are at war with Islam and that all Muslims are suspect. But what shall we do about it?
There are the obvious suggestions: The mosque could open its doors for “Learn About Islam” evenings. They did that. I could teach a multi-week class on Islam. I did that. Christian churches could invite Muslims to speak to their members about Islam. Some have done that. Education is necessary but clearly not sufficient.
So, when asked by the local newspaper for a suggestion I offered this: We should all begin attending each other’s worship services. Just go and sit and listen to what is being preached. And if and when they hear hate-preach, fear mongering, and calls for action that violate the Constitution or suggest violence, they should loudly stand up, denounce it in the Name of Whatever God they are praying to, and walk out. I urged the newspaper reporter to go to religious services throughout the city and report on what is being preached. Expose hate-preach if there is any. And if there isn’t any, tell us that as well.
The reporter declined. So that leaves matters in your hands. Visit churches, synagogues, and mosques regularly and listen carefully to what is being read, taught, and preached. Take a stand against evil when you find it, and let people know if you don’t. It is the least we can do.