Two Protestant U.S. churches are creating a stir by opening their church buildings to Muslims for worship, as reported on Fox News. In the latest response, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Founder and President of BOND called this a dangerous and foolish trend being promoted by weak Christians.
BOND (the Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny) describes itself as “a national, nonprofit religious organization dedicated to ‘Rebuilding the Family By Rebuilding the Man’.” For its part, the Right Wing Watch website has reported in the past that “Jesse Lee Peterson of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny has carved out a unique niche for himself as the far-right’s arbiter of who/what is racist and who/what is not racist in today’s political environment.”
According to Peterson, “This is an example of tolerance gone wild. I see many so-called ‘Christians’ misrepresenting Christianity as a timid and passive faith. The Bible says love thy neighbor, but it doesn’t say anything about turning Christian sanctuaries over to Muslims.”
“This is a dangerous and foolish trend,” he continued.
According to the Fox News report, Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tenn., let members of the Memphis Islamic Center hold Ramadan prayers there. And the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Va., allows the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) to hold regular Friday prayers in their building.
Appearing in a “Fox and Friends” interview US presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee regarding the issue, referred to Islam as the “antithesis of the gospel of Christ.” That brought the ire of the US Muslim group CAIR, which called on Huckabee “to apologize for ‘inaccurate and offensive’ comments about Islam and to meet with Muslim leaders to discuss growing Islamophobia in American society.”
In turn, Huckabee, as reported by the Examiner, “while speaking to an Evangelical Christian publication implicitly endorsed a scheduled Congressional hearing on the alleged threat of Shari’a (Islamic law) and attacked what he called ‘special treatment’ for Muslims as ‘un-American’.”
In the same vein, Peterson insisted that, “ICNA, one of the groups using church buildings for worship, describes themselves as ‘a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the promotion of Islamic values.’ What ‘Islamic values’ are they referring to?”
He added, “Are they promoting Sharia? Is this group affiliated with the extremist Muslim Brotherhood? These are legitimate questions.”
In Peterson’s opinion, “These churches don’t understand their own faith, and they’re ignorant about Islam. The Quran tells Muslims that Christians and Jews are infidels and worthy of death. If Christians allow Muslims groups to take over their churches — it’s just a matter time before they will overrun these communities.”
Outside of the US, in Belgium last year a Catholic church allowed worshipers from the Gilly mosque in Charleroi to use their sanctuary after they were left without a place of worship. On the other hand in Spain, there have been various attempts – and arrests – as Muslims have tried to pray inside the Cordoba Cathedral, which used to be a mosque. As an AP report noted in a April 2010 article, “The mosque was transformed into a cathedral in 1236 when King Ferdinand III captured the city from the Moors. Since then, except for rare exceptions, Muslim prayer rites have been forbidden inside.”
“Unless Christians in America wake up and recognize this domestic threat, it’s only a matter of time before America, like Europe, will be forced to make concessions to radical Muslims,” claimed Peterson. “I can assure you that Muslims would not allow Christians to worship in their mosques.”
Despite Peterson’s affirmation, in May 2001, Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff in history to enter a Muslim place of worship when he visited the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, Syria. While in the mosque Pope John Paul II prayed at a memorial to St. John the Baptist inside the mosque.
Likewise, in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI prayed in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, and later said the prayers was “not initially planned but it turned out to be very meaningful”. It was a prayer to the “one Lord of heaven and earth, merciful father of all mankind,” Pope Benedict said.