There has been quite a to-do about building an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan close to Ground Zero. I have to say I think the whole thing is in very bad taste. With one possible exception. The famous Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is officially called the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia. Gaudi intended it to be “expiatory” of, or sort of apologetic for, some destructive riots in Barcelona in 1906 in which a lot of priests were killed. If I knew that the proposed mosque was a sort of Temple Expiatori, like Sagrada Familia, I would actually welcome it. I’m not sure that Islam has such a concept. I fear they do not, in fact. But they should not be forbidden to build it. The last thing I want to do, as a Christian, is sharpen legal tools that can be used against us later. It is an interesting fact, historically, that when Bob Jones University was threatened with its tax status because of its beliefs about interracial dating, which I cannot justify from any Scripture I know, liberal mainline churches filed briefs in support. Why would they do this? Not because they favored segregation, surely; but if the IRS couId take away the tax status of Bob Jones on that, could they not also take away the tax status of a mainline church for opposing a war?
We must remember that most Muslims are horrified by 9/11, and we must not treat them as if they were not, or as if they were somehow covenantally guilty. If we want them to come to know Christ, we will not do that. Those Christians in the past who held Jews covenantally specially guilty for the Crucifixion were wrong and innocent lives were lost. Any serious Christian today finds the notion abhorrent. We don’t need to make the same deadly mistake Muslims and the Twin Towers.