Muslims, Mosques, and Religious Freedom: Christians Must Take a Stand

John Stonestreet
John Stonestreet

So Muslims in your community want to build a mosque. You’re set to speak at the zoning hearing. What do you say?

On the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, an arsonist set fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce in Florida. The Islamic Center was the mosque attended by Omar Mateen, who massacred 50 people at the Pulse night club in Orlando three months ago.

One state over in Georgia, officials in Newton County, which has a “places of worship” exception to zoning regulations designed to “make things easy for anyone who wanted to build a church,” cancelled a meeting in which they expected to approve the building of a mosque.

The reason for the cancellation was that a “self-described militia group from a nearby county posted a video on Facebook threatening to demonstrate outside the meeting with guns drawn.”

Now, no one remotely acquainted with BreakPoint or the Colson Center can reasonably accuse us of being indifferent to the threat posed by militant Islamists. We’ve talked here about it often, including the persecution of Christians around the world, the global struggle with Islamic terrorism, and the worldview of those seeking to kill so many.

Having said that, let me be clear: Christians should oppose and condemn those recent actions in both Florida and Georgia for several reasons. These reasons fall into two basic categories: principled and pragmatic.

The principled reason was articulated clearly, just recently, by Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention. As Moore reminded us “religious liberty is not a government ‘benefit,’ but a natural and inalienable right granted by God. At issue is whether or not the civil state has the power to zone mosques or Islamic cemeteries or synagogues or houses of worship of whatever kind out of existence because of what those groups believe.”

“When Christians say,” Moore continued, “that freedom of religion applies to all people, whether Christian or not, we are not suggesting that there are many paths to God, or that truth claims are relative.”

On the contrary, “We are saying that religion should be free from state control because we believe that every person must give an account before the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

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SOURCE: Breakpoint
John Stonestreet