By Tom Quiner
Is there a single voice today who speaks for Christianity? Obviously the Pope speaks for the Catholic world. But in a sense he is the de facto Christian voice to the world on “big picture” issues even if all Christians don’t agree with all Catholic doctrines.
So in 1985 when Pope John Paul II traveled to Morocco, the world paid attention. There in the Casablanca Stadium, he said to the gathered Islamic youth “We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God.”
What a powerful symbolic gesture. He was extending the hand of peace from the world of Christianity to the world of Islam.
His Papacy was marked by repeated ecumenical outreach. In 2000, he visited the Holy Land and arranged a ceremony which included an Islamic Imam and Jewish Rabbi. The purpose of the ceremony, complete with songs from children of the three faiths, was to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
The ceremony unraveled. A Rabbi offended an Imam when he characterized Jerusalem as the “united eternal capital” of Israel. The Imam walked out.
Nonetheless, the Pope, a world-wide voice for the Christian world, was seen as a voice of reason, as a leader for peace and understanding between the world’s religions.
There is no comparable voice for Islam. That presents a problem when it comes to the Ground Zero mosque.
Americans aren’t hearing enough voices of peace coming from the world of Islam.
Americans are concerned about what is actually being said inside of mosques in this country. They may be voices of peace. Most probably are. It’s the uncertainty that worries Americans.
How many mosques in this country advocate Sharia law, for example? It doesn’t help when you hear about a study done by The Center for Security Policy that states that only 20% of mosques have no taint of Sharia. Only 20%. Is that really true? It’s the doubt that bothers us.
The world hungers to hear loud voices raised in the Islamic world that proclaim their desire for peace.
The world so very much hungers for Islam to check the violent tendencies of the most extreme elements of their faith.
Until that happens, America is going to be uncomfortable with a mosque located at Ground Zero.