I was really pleased to see that a fellow Seventh-day Adventist and a man I greatly respect, James Standish, brought some clear thinking to bear on all the crazy controversy about the mosque being proposed for Lower Manhattan, near the site of the former World Trade Center, in a Washington Post "On Faith" piece entitled, "The great 'Ground Zero mosque' hoax."
I really hope this will get widely recirculated among the people in the pews of Seventh-day Adventist Churches because this represents solid Adventist reasoning on the subject. Here are some excerpts. Click here to read the whole thing!
Don't Give the Government Power to Ban our Houses of Worship
But there is a second disconnect. Americans have the right to build our houses of worship wherever we choose, as long as we lawfully purchase the land and build to code. Indeed, in 1998 the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act was passed to ensure this right is robustly protected. Do we really want to give the government the right to pick and choose which religions get to build where? Do we want Evangelicals banned from building new churches in neighborhoods where they are an unpopular minority? Do they want the majority to be able to decide where Mormon churches can be built, or Synagogues or Adventist Churches, or Catholic? We are all minorities somewhere in this country. Do we want the majority to be able to squelch our plans to build a house of worship?
Where is the fear of intrusive government when we need it? Where is the dedication to the First Freedom found in our Constitution when it really matters?
Stop Damaging American Security
The so called "Ground Zero" controversy has no doubt effectively raised the profile and filled the coffers of the politicians and advocacy organizations misleading the public. Scapegoating unpopular minorities is generally an effective way to gain power and influence. But it comes at a price. In this case, the price is not only the integrity and credibility of the individuals and organizations that raced to jump on this bandwagon. It is deeper and it is broader. This controversy has done much to stoke hatred against American Muslims at home and in the process, has made peaceful Muslims around the world doubt our commitment to equality and liberty. In so doing, these attacks on American Muslims gives fuel to violent Islamic radicals.
The politicians and NGOs that have stoked the "ground zero" mosque hoax should be seen for what they are - security charlatans. Their intolerance weakens our society and our allies, while strengthening our enemies.