The so-called Ground-Zero Mosque is getting a lot of press lately, and it appears that the majority of Americans oppose building the mosque mere blocks away from Ground Zero.
Kent Larsen, over at Times & Seasons, posted a thoughtful write-up explaining that Latter-Day Saints should carefully examine their positions on the mosque because of potential impact on building future temples.
I happen to agree with Kent on this issue and on many points of his post, but can think of another reason why Latter-Day Saints should examine their opposition to the mosque- the 11th Article of Faith.
11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
The keyword is where. And what a where it is…in close proximity to Ground Zero!
I can empathize with those who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and understand their angst and consternation with an Islamic mosque in close proximity to the now-hallowed ground where lives were lost in a savage terrorist attack. The connection between Islam and the terrorist attacks on 9/11 may never go away. Sadly, not only were thousands of lives lost that day, but a religion was hijacked by the worst kind of extremists, extremists who do not represent the majority of Muslims who practice Islam.
The broader question, I think, for Latter-Day Saints, is will we let our faith be hijacked by politics and sacrifice one of the most basic tenets of our faith and a right guaranteed in the American Constitution: the free exercise of religion? Or will we stand up for the rights of others and let them worship how, where, or what they may? We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, but will we allow all people that same privilege?
Postscript: Please moderate your comments and be respectful of others, especially when disagreeing. Personal attacks will not be tolerated!! Thoughtful and respectful debate/disagreement, however, is tolerated and most welcome. The floor is now yours for discussion.