As I was listening to the news this week, I heard a statement that caused my soul to cringe and raised a question in my heart. The story was about the controversial building of a mosque in town. One of the comments made was, “Islam isn’t a religion.”
Regardless of where you are with regard Islam or Mosques, this statement brings up a very important question for each of us who love our freedom to worship according to our own conscience. How do we define or identify something as a religion? Must I be comfortable with your God? Is it important that I see your faith as peace loving and non-confrontational? Can the way you practice your religion be objectionable to me and still be protected?
If I can get a group of folks together to vote that your religion isn’t real, can’t you gather a group of people who might feel equally negative about my religion? Can we defend the rights of someone to worship in a way the feels abrasive to us? Can a religion be based on a faith and belief system I do not understand and am uncomfortable with?