The arguments that opponents of the mosque and others have used are varied in number and scope. They range from the severely paranoid “They are going to take over our schools”—to the more mundane: “If we can’t do it, they can’t do it.” I have heard individuals firmly argue both of those points with some impaired logic. My goal is to address those arguments, to point out a few flaws in the characterizations of the arguments, and to dispute and debunk just a few.
They want to take over our schools, our country, our laws and way of life to make it just like the Middle East here in the United States. There are several problems with that theory. #1: If they wanted the United States to be just like the Middle East, why would they be here in the first place? They come to the United States because they want the freedom that we enjoy here. They believe in the American dream and no one believes more strongly in the American dream than a foreigner. They do not want to change the laws or the way of living here any more than we do when we vote for a politician. #2: When was the last time you actually saw the Democrats, the Republicans and the independents actually work together to get any kind of law passed? The amount of organization that would be required for our laws to be changed to Sharia law is just not possible—not when we still have the freedom to vote and to influence the passing of laws. Nor do the majority of the Muslims in this country want Sharia law. Again, it is that freedom thing that drew them to the great United States to begin with.
9/11—It is still a day that makes my eyes fill with tears whenever I think of it. It was a horrible, terrible thing to be alive to witness. There are memories of that day that fill my heart and soul with sadness. It was a terrible act performed by some madmen. When I say madmen, I mean some mentally ill people. If you try to commit suicide, what happens? They automatically put you in a mental hospital where you can receive help for your mental illness, be it depression or manic depressive disorder, schizophrenia, whatever. Those men committed suicide that day. They got on the airplanes knowing they had just a short time left to live in this world. They were suicidal. Their actions are no more the actions representing an entire population than my actions represent this population. What they did was wrong, so very, very wrong; however, there were 13 hijackers that day and all were gravely mentally ill. I knew no one who died that day on any of those flights or in those buildings, and most of you reading this now would say the same thing. My God and my belief system say to forgive those who trespass against us. They most certainly did trespass against us and it is my job as a Christian to forgive. Not forget, just forgive.
Our country, I firmly believe, was built upon the idea of freedom of religion for all. I am a Christian. Most every Sunday you can find me in church with my fellow Christians praising and worshiping God in our own Christian way. I leave my house, drive down the road and pull up to a church where I spend a couple hours talking to God. I have that right in this country we live in. So, too, do Muslims have the right on Friday to go to their place of worship and spend a couple of hours talking to and praising God. It is in our Constitution: freedom of religion. We have the freedom to build a church or temple or mosque and to worship in whatever way we would like to worship inside of that structure.
The Middle East does not operate under the same constitution that we do. Nor can you find another country that has the same exact laws that we have here in the United States. It is what makes this world a great place to live: the differences each and every nationality enjoys in its uniqueness. Our country is made up of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, atheists, Methodists, Baptists, Catholics and more, with nationalities ranging from Indian, Chinese, Japanese, South American, Mexican and beyond. Unless you are 100 percent Native American, your ancestors came to this country from somewhere else, too.
No, you cannot worship the same way in parts of the Middle East as you do here. As I stated before, they do not have our Constitution, we do. It is what makes our country and society unique. To say that because they do not have the same laws that we do, they should not be allowed to enjoy the same rights here, is ludicrous. That is not how our country was set up. And what a grade-school way of thinking! I almost want to add a “so there!” to anyone who makes that comment. Grow up, people. Just because they live differently does not mean they should be denied the same rights granted to us under the Constitution.
It is my hope and my prayer that all of this hatred and racism and prejudice will go away during my lifetime. I pray for peace for this country and its people every night. We have to stop trying to hurt each other and learn to love and support each other instead. We have so much we can learn from each other if we just take the time to learn it. We have to learn tolerance, patience, and understanding of all of the other cultures that make this world such a beautiful place. I am reminded of the John Lennon song “Imagine.” Just imagine.