Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about the past week.
If it looks like a terrorist …
Political activist groups continued to debate the Islamic center proposed to be built near the site of the World Trade Center. Some activists say that while all Muslims may not be terrorists, they remind people of terrorists, calling for a change of location for the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque."
During CitizenLink's weekly webcast, Tom Minnery said, "Nobody is suggesting that the brand of Islam practiced by the owners of this mosque [is] going to lead to more terrorist attacks. But for Heaven's sake, in the name of all that is decent and in the name of common sense, build it elsewhere."
He said the group had the right to build, but he questioned the prudence of doing so. "Is it dishonoring to the 3,000 people who gave their lives to have this mosque which, in some minds, represents a similar religious belief that caused the terrorists to do what they did?" said Minnery.
Stuart Shepard, host of the webcast, noted that this position is a departure from Minnery's previous positions on religious liberty.
"You have spent a lot of time talking about religious freedom. And you work for Alliance Defense Fund quite a bit helping them fight for the rights of people, for religious freedom. It is quite a turn for you to say that this is not the right location for religious freedom to be expressed," said Shepard.
"Well, it is indeed," said Minnery.
Minnery said it was "hypocritical" for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to talk about religious freedom. He said the city had been fighting churches wanting to use public school buildings for Sunday worship. Minnery made a similar argument in a New York Daily News editorial in which he said all that "small beleaguered Christian congregations" want is "the same tolerance and respect that the mayor asks for Muslims."
"For whatever reason, liberals don't regard Islam, yet, as much of a threat. I'm not so sure they're accurate in that, but they don't think of it as the enemy. I think a lot of times they think of conservative Christianity as something we have got to clamp down on because rights come from the Creator according to these people—also according to the Declaration of Independence—and liberals like to have rights come from government, from them," said Minnery.
American Family Association's Bryan Fischer is one who does see Islam as the enemy.
"Our enemy is authentic Islam and our enemies are devout Muslims," said Fischer. "All this blather about religious liberty is just that—blather. The First Amendment, for devout Muslims in the U.S., is nothing more than a borrowed cloak of righteousness to conceal a heart of darkness."
Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice said the problem is not a mosque per se. He said this building would be built by "radical Islam."
"I reject the argument that those against this mosque are anti-Islam or against religious freedom. We fight against this mosque because of what it represents. This is a $100 million dollar monument to radical Islam at the heart of Ground Zero," said Sekulow.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said, "While the overwhelming majority of Muslims—American and otherwise—repudiate the radical Islamic Jihadism of those who perpetrated the attack on the World Trade Center, it is still the case that it was done in the name of a perverted understanding of Islam." Land said that it was time for Muslims to be sensitive and to move the mosque a few blocks north.