Do I think the attack on the twin towers and the pentagon in 2001 was right? No.
Do I think those who think in the way those who attacked the United States on September 11th should be punished for any action they take in line with those thoughts? Yes.
Do I think that every muslim is a terrorist? No.
I grew up in a Christian home. I made child-like commitments when I was young, but it wasn’t until I was in my mid-late teens that I actually began to understand and feel what I’d said I believed for so many years before. I believe in Jesus, and I do everything I am able to strengthen my relationship with him. I identify myself as a Christian.
I also like T-shirts with messages, some are humorous, some are from events, some have more serious messages. I don’t always think about the t-shirt I’m about to put on in the morning, and today was one of those days. I took a quick trip to 7-11 and the girls at the cash register asked me what was on the back of my shirt. I turned around for them so they could read it, and then commented “Well, that’s right!”
See, today I am wearing a shirt that has a little cross on the front, and the message says “This T-shirt is illegal in 40 countries.” On the back it has Romans 1:10, and reads: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” My heart and my mind believe that this is the truth, that there is one way to heaven, to the father, and that is through a right relationship with Jesus Christ.
But not everyone believes that. Some believe that they must follow hinduism. Or buddhism. Some believe that they must follow the laws of the old testament, and disregard Jesus as the Messiah. And heaven forbid, some believe that Mohammed was right, and that Allah is the one true god.
Herein lies a problem. These are all religions with similarities and differences. And so we come back to the arguing point, and that is the constitutional right for every individual to be able to freely practice their religious beliefs for so long as it does not violate any other laws. The baptist church I attended for nearly 2 years would pray every Sunday morning, thanking God for the opportunity to freely practice Christianity, unlike in so many other countries in the world where Christians face ridicule (real ridicule, not just being pointed at and laughed) or even death for what they believe.
All over this country, Christians are free to practice Christianity. Hindu’s are free to practice Hinduism. Buddhists to practice Buddhism. Pagans to practice Paganism. Jews to practice Judaism. Why should Islam be restricted differently? Because a few extremist muslims took several thousand lives on one day? The problem in any society usually isn’t the vast majority – it’s the extremists. The extremists who bomb abortion clinics. The extremists who discuss or attempt assassinating the president. The extremists who seek to destroy a group of people based on their race, or hair or eye color. The ultra liberals who will kill in order to allow change, and the ultra conservatives who will kill in order to prevent it.
By refusing to permit law-abiding citizens their otherwise constitutional right to practice religion simply because of what that religion is, and because it is what other extremists claimed theirs to be, we open ourselves a whole can of worms. Do the Christians stand by the actions of the Crusaders, who killed thousands upon thousands in the name of Christianity? Do the Christians stand by the beliefs of the Westboro Baptist Church, who picket the funerals of fallen soldiers (because they believe the war is an act of God against the USA) as well as synagogues (because Jews don’t accept Jesus as the Messiah), catholic churches (because every single priest is a child rapist), the list goes on. Judging Islam based on the actions of the 9/11 hijackers, based on the actions of the London bombers, based on any other extremists acts, is not only hypocritical (for those of us who disagree with the actions of groups like WBC) but stupid, and sets us up to be exactly like the countries where I could be imprisoned or even die for wearing my t-shirt today.
And so, to the group of muslims who wish build a mosque close to the ground zero site: So long as the site would be otherwise permitted to have a Christian church built on it, and so long as you are as peaceful as the average Christian, I support you.
“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” — Robert F. Kennedy