As a resident and local pastor of Chattanooga, the construction of the Islamic Center brings to light a couple of important issues: the first being the announcement itself: Why on earth would TimesFree Press make this front page news? When our surrounding region is dealing with not only the loss of life, but the overall magnitude of devastation caused by last week’s events…you would think that the announcement of an Islamic Center would take a back burner!
The option to make this certain subject the topic headline news shows a clear intent of the general editor of the paper. In assumption the editor’s reply would be: this is reporting, and we have covered the storm with wide spread coverage over the past three days.
However, the fact is there is plenty of stories yet to be heard of local heroes giving of themselves for love of others and community…I believe that there would be an overall consensus from the public on that point.
The second point would be in regard to the acceptance of the Islamic Center in general. Does our nation support freedom of religion? Yes. That right was established by our founding fathers and we as a nation have blossomed as a result. However, to say that we as Christians should applaud the building of such a center is appalling. Should those who are followers of Christ roll out a red carpet for the proclamation of falsehood? Absolutely not! Should we have an ice cream party and all sing Kumbayah? Surely not. The fact is we as individual Christians and Christian congregations should use this opportunity to recess our hearts in fulfilling the great commission. Having this center being built in our back yards should stir our hearts for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Could it be that we living in the greater Chattanooga area have been lulled to sleep with a steeple on nearly every corner? God help us, the church, to awaken.
Senior Pastor, Hickory Valley Baptist Church