My community is at odds with each other about the local Muslim congregation’s plans to build a mosque in town. I guess the opposition was okay with their congregation meeting in a defunct furniture warehouse until they began outgrowing it. Now the Muslim community (that has been here in Murfreesboro for over a decade) would like to build a mosque to accomodate all of it’s members. You know, because we are America? And one of the most precious values we as a country stand for is religious freedom? But we arehowever, located smack dab in the center of the Bible belt. And it has become obvious to me that there are Baptists all over town tossing and turning in their sleep out of fear our idyllic town will soon become a haven for terrorist activity!
It’s highly likely you will find extremists in almost every line of organized religion. Muslim extremists blowing up spectators in pubs while they the World Cup. Members of the KKK burning crosses on terrified neighbors lawns. Murders at women’s clinics. Crazy persons in Uganda claiming they are speaking for God right before they stage another massacre. Sikh extremists, Islamic extremists, Christian extremists…. you’ll find crazy people everywhere. And who knows… maybe there is a nutjob terrorist here in Murfreesboro. But to oppose a groups right to worship out of fear or intolerance is unjust. And downright UN-American.
Though what bothers me the most are the statements from the group that’s petitioning to halt the mosque’s construction is due to “zoning and water quality issues”. To that group: Let’s not use traffic codes and sewer drain concerns as a guise for the real issues at hand, which are bigotry and fear. If you hesitate to say “I don’t want Muslims in my back yard!” in mixed company, maybe your conscience is telling you something. If you believe so strongly in your convictions, then why the impulse to hide behind red tape?
I love my little town and I love my country. Though it’s times like these I’m deeply saddened and ashamed of some members of my community and their response to change. So I’ll be standing on the courthouse lawn this Wednesday with other supporters of religious freedom here in America, opposing the opposition.