The Kennesaw City Council turned down an application from the Suffa Dawat Center to operate a prayer center in an area zoned for retail business. Several months ago in another area, the city approved similar application for a church. A city spokesperson said that the other area was zoned differently.
I oppose the decision of the city of Kennesaw. Yes, you read that correctly.
Freedom of Religion is a fundamental right in our nation. In this instance, it certainly appears that the city of Kennesaw is, “prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” with regard to this application by the Suffa Duwat Center.
It is ironic that in this zoning, a restaurant, pub, or nightclub is acceptable. A parking lot filled with potential drunk drivers leaving a night club is just fine but Muslims who want to meet to pray is not .
My position is not based on a warped theology that somehow all roads lead to heaven. It is not based on an acceptance or agreement with the Muslim religion or Sharia law. It is based on applying a Christian faith on the authority of Scripture and the applying Constitution in a consistent manner.
I do not suggest that Kennesaw should roll out the red carpet for this group. There is no indication that this group asked for any special treatment. In fact, they accepted added restrictions.
The establishment of a place for a group of people to gather and exercise their religious freedom is rarely a matter for government concern. The only basis for government involvement is when a group’s activities impact the freedom of others.
Government involvement is acceptable, for example, if the prayers were accompanied by loud music that disturbed the peace of those who lived or shopped in the area. This would apply whether it was a cry to Allah, the Bill Gaither Vocal Band, or the Morman Tabernacle Choir.
I wonder how many of those who came to the meeting opposing the rights of the Muslim center had been in an evangelical church service on Sunday. I wonder how many sang songs like, “People Need the Lord,” “Rescue the Perishing,” “At the Cross,” or “Amazing Grace.”
The Apostle Paul wrote that he delivered the message of first importance that, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (I Corinthians 15: 3-4 NASB)
Jesus told Nicodemus in a private meeting one night, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NASB)
The proper evangelical Christian response is not to ask the government to keep the Muslims from having a place to meet. The proper evangelical Christian response is the same as it is toward anyone who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The only response for an evangelical Christian is not a politically correct response. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6 NASB) That is a narrow and exclusive statement. If that is true, and it is, then the only response for an evangelical Christian is to pray for those without Christ and share the truth of Christ and His free offer of eternal life to whosoever will.
There would have to be a compelling reason for a zoning ordinance to trump “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If there was a compelling reason in this case, I did not find it in the news reports.
If there is no freedom for Muslims to gather and freely exercise their religion, then there is no real freedom for anyone to gather and freely exercise their religion. We will suffer irreparable harm as a nation when we let the government stick its nose in the tent of religious freedom. This is not about Muslims in Kennesaw. This is about freedom in America.by