A small church in Tennessee has opened its doors to a group in need. Hardly something ripped from the headlines. This kind of thing happens all the time. But this time, the Church has come under fire for it’s friendliness.
The Heartsong Church in Cordova Tennessee (it’s not named after anything Muslim, calm down) allowed the local Memphis Islamic Center to use its facilities while the Islamic Center was being renovated. Church members feel it is their duty as righteous Christians to open their doors to anyone in need. These Muslims were in need of a decent place to pray and the Church was more than willing to lend a hand.
The two groups have a longstanding relationship and share a Thanksgiving meal each year as well. Sounds like a wonderful story to me.
Critics are saying that this is akin to “sleeping with the enemy”. In fact (friend of Israel) Mike Huckabee has (half in jest) compared it to showing adult films in a Church. The not in jest part of Huckabee’s statement was:
“If the purpose of a church is to push forward the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then you have a muslim group that says that Jesus Christ and all the people that follow him are a bunch of infidels who should be essentially obliterated, I have a hard time understanding that.”
Well, Mr. Huckabee allow me to explain it to you. (I’m not saying I believe this. I am saying that a religious Christian would / should believe this.) First of all, maybe the members of the Church are trying to teach the Muslims about charity and love the way Jesus tried to teach those same values to people of all faiths. That seems like a nice way to teach everyone about Jesus. Second of all, these people are friends! They are not trying to obliterate each other. They are neighbors and friends and have an existing relationship!
Look, Huckabee is over reacting. But I think everyone that is ignoring this story is under reacting. I don’t mean reacting to Huckabee’s inane comparisons. I mean reacting to supposed enemies getting along just fine.
When people are friends first and religious ideologues second (or not at all), they can be friends no matter what their beliefs. When people see others as people and foster good relationships it is hard to hate them. It’s a good thing. Isn’t this the kind of Christianity and Islam that will usher in a new era of peace among all religions?
I think so. And I hope that we will see more interfaith relationships among people of all backgrounds, faiths and political aspirations.