Saturday, September 4, 2010

Freedom of Worship

Ground Zero.

Since 9/11, every American knows this term. It has taken on a new life since that day. Before that day, it meant "the point on the Earth's surface where an explosion occurs" (Wiki). Today, it evokes memories of a specific day and place in NY City where the World Trade Center towers used to stand.


We all have pictures in our minds that match terms, and mosque is no exception. When you hear or read the word, "mosque," what do you picture?

Something like this?

Or this?

But, what if it looked like this:

This is a picture of the abandoned Burlington Coat Factory store that Muslims in NY City want to convert into a mosque. This building on this street is not visible from Ground Zero. They are not proposing tearing it down to build minarets and domes, they simply want to remodel it. (This is what I heard from a student who lives near that neighborhood.)

Additionally, it will not be exclusively a place of Muslim worship and prayer, but a community center open to the public of any religion or none, with YMCA type offerings such as a pool and gym.

We get tripped up over words, and the images those words evoke.

What about the word "church"?

If you live in New England, you may picture something like this:

If you are Catholic, perhaps this image:

Would you picture this:

or this:

What about this:

Now to address the subject of the Christian church that wanted to rebuild on or near Ground Zero, but was refused...

Interestingly, I found this story, posted just yesterday:

It is short, so please go read it. I am not clear on whether the church was refused permission to build, or simply could not come up with a solid building plan before a deadline. Feel free to do your own research on this and let me know what you come up with.

With all this in mind, I have to say that I have changed my opinion on the Ground Zero Mosque subject - I support it. I would be a hypocrite not to. I feel strongly that this country was founded upon the desire and need to worship God the way conscience tells you to, in spite of the disagreement of many over what that should be like. Freedom of worship is a basic tenet of this country's heritage, and should remain so.

1 comment:

  1. The term "Ground Zero Mosque" is rather a misnomer. The proposed mosque will not be on Ground Zero, nor will it be visible from there. It will not even look like a mosque in the traditional sense of the word. There are several places of worship (churches) in the very near vicinity. I think the press and peoples' reactions to peoples' reactions are muddying the facts.