I am writing as a follower of Jesus Christ to other followers of Jesus Christ.
I'll be honest: the political side of this carries no interest for me. As is typical, political conservatives are generally against the mosque, while liberals are generally for it. No surprise there.
The problem is that many, many Christians have lashed themselves to the Republican party, which at least claims to be conservative. The outcome is predictable. Most Christians at least appear to be against the mosque being located near the World Trade Center site.
What is fascinating, sad, and also predictable is that when Christians state why they are against it, their arguments are based on pragmatic reasoning, emotions, and/or political party affiliation. Their reasons are not constitutional or, more importantly, biblical.
I have yet to hear a Christian provide a coherent, biblical reason for why this mosque should not be located in Manhattan.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to sacrificially love all people. Christ expects us to love as He loved. Because of this, we must love even those who want to kill us. We should expect to be hated and despised by the world. Why would the world love or even tolerate us when it killed our Lord?
Conservative Americans have been giving the Muslim world the message that we despise them. If we stand against this mosque, this will simply add to this message. If our goal is to love Muslims and share the good news of Christ with them, then let's welcome them into our neighborhoods. Let's invite them over for dinner. Let's show them what real, Christlike love is.
Why should a mosque be a threat to us? Are we afraid that we will convert to Islam? I would hope not.
Are we scared that Sharia law might take hold in this country? We shouldn't fear what man can do to us. The worst that can happen is that we get killed, and Paul has told us that to die is gain.
Are we afraid that lost people will increasingly turn to Islam? If that is the case, then we should start sharing the gospel more urgently and passionately.
One key question we need to ask ourselves is whether we are going to be driven in our decision making by American citizenship or heavenly citizenship. Which matters more to us?
In general, we have failed to make the active distinction between being Christians and being Americans. One clear sign of this is the American flags that hang all over our church buildings in this country. We too often try to mix the two. We even still refer to the USA as a "Christian nation."
This is not a Christian nation - whatever that is. We live in a secular state that will always have political arguments.
Jesus Christ did not call us to political involvement. He called us to radical, sacrificial discipleship and servanthood. He called us to love others even unto death. After all, that's what He did for us.
We should be asking how God would have us think of this mosque. Quite honestly, I don't think God cares much about another building. I do think He cares about the Muslims who might attend the mosque. God's plan to reach them is for us followers of Christ to love them, build relationships with them, and share the good news of Christ with them.
They won't see our love if we spend our time protesting against their mosque. As Christians we have better things to do than spend lots of energy on politics. Instead, let's stop worrying about a building, and start figuring out how we can love the Muslims in our communities.