Led by the National Council of Churches (NCC), the Religious Left is backing the proposed Ground Zero Islamic Center while denouncing the mosque’s skeptics as “hateful.”
Revealingly, the statement endorsed by 40 religious “leaders” is relatively narrowly comprised of top NCC officials, left-wing Catholics, Muslim groups, and mostly second-tier Jewish groups, plus J Street. Missing are the usual Mainline Protestant clerics, Eastern Orthodox, and prominent liberal Jews typically found on NCC-organized political blasts. No prominent evangelicals are on the list.
The interfaith enthusiasts for the mosque chimed:
As Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders and scholars committed to religious freedom and inter-religious cooperation, we are deeply troubled by the xenophobia and religious bigotry that has characterized some of the opposition to a proposed Islamic center and mosque near where the World Trade Center towers once stood.
Few critics of the $100 million proposed Cordoba House Islamic Community Center near the World Trade Center site dispute the right of any religious group to construct a house of worship in America. What is disputed by Ground Zero mosque critics are the wisdom and sensitivity of building an Islamic Center near where Islamist fanatics murdered over 2,000 New Yorkers. Whatever the professed intent of the mosque builders, radical Islamists likely will see the mosque’s construction as a Jihadist victory.
Some critics of the Ground Zero mosque have appealed to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to exemplify the interfaith sensitivity he claims his Islamic Center will promote by relocating the mosque site. These appeals have garnered no sympathy from the imam. Other critics ask New York to refuse permission for mosque construction on this particular site and instead to facilitate another location. Left-leaning church groups like the NCC possibly could have employed their own long history of interfaith cooperation to mediate a reasonable compromise and to persuade the imam and his supporters to heed sensitivities about 9-11. But instead the NCC is embracing the Ground Zero mosque full throttle, all sensitivities be cursed, and denouncing all who are less than zealous for the Islamic Center as bigots.
Almost surely the NCC would denounce Christians who desired to build a church, even after 1,000 years, near the venerated site of the slaughter of Muslims during the crusades, that is, if churches could actually be freely built in the Middle East, outside of democratic Israel. But for much of the Religious Left, sensitivity and accommodation are only desired for Western Christians when dealing with non-Western religionists. Although itself an historically crusading and conquering faith, Islam’s adherents, as ostensibly chronic victims of Western imperialism, are never expected to yield, at least not by the Religious Left. Naturally, this pro-mosque Religious Left coalition is more distressed over Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin than ascendant radical Islam.
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