Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mosques in America: Jon Stewart compares Muslims to Christians on the Daily Show

Apparently there were some segments on the news on several channels about Americans being worried that too many mosques were being built. Jon Stewart used that on Wednesday night as his lead story. The concerned Americans felt that Islam did not represent their views and that they should not allow mosques to be built. Some people brought up the point that Muslims (or some) want a separate legal system to apply to them, namely sharia. One of the commentators noted that they are the only group that wants its own set of laws, specific to their religion.

Jon Stewart made fun of this in several ways, mostly comparing our current system with what the Muslims wanted. He implied that Christians already do impose their own morals on the country and gave the example of stores being closed on Sunday, and of gay people not being allowed to marry. I spose he could have also thrown in murder and rape. My point is the the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian values. That doesn't mean its citizens cannot be against another group imposing its morals on them. In any event, although the original framework of the laws of the United States may have been based on Judeo-Christian morals, the law is a totally separate entity, which is quite evident. For example, it is legal to get an abortion. Almost all Christian denominations are against this, but it is still legal.

A truly religion-based legal system would take guidance from religious leaders, not politicians. What certain Muslim groups are seeking is the imposition of Sharia Law. In Islam, there is not the concept of separation of religion and state as there is in Christianity. Like when Jesus said Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. That's why you see in Islamic countries, the supreme leader is a religious leader and their laws come directly from Islam. The US ought not create a separate legal system for some of its members.

Jon Stewart also poked fun at the idea that some were upset with the building of new mosques by saying the Mormons did the same thing in Utah 150 years ago. It seems to me most of these settlers were Mormons, so them building a church makes sense. What the news stories focused on was Muslims wanting to build mosques in predominantly Christian areas, even small rural areas.

I do not believe the construction of any religious building should be banned. There is a concept of freedom of religion and this involves implementing the same rules for all people regardless of their religion. It would violate this system if only Christians were allowed to build churches. As I mentioned in another article, how can Christians expect religious freedom in predominantly Muslim countries, if we do not extend the same rights to others.

I think we must also be careful to recognize that not all moral systems are equal. That's moral relativism, and I hear this argument used all the time. People will say "those are your morals, but I have different morals". It seems like all moral codes are equal so we can just pick and choose whatever we want. But this is not the case, it's just an easy cop-out. I believe Christianity represents the best moral code because it contains the truth. Other systems surely can approach it or be the same in some ways, and so they too would contain truth, but I do not believe that just because something can be classified as a moral, it is just as good as any other.

To conclude, Muslims should have the right to build mosques if they will use them just like Christians. We must ensure religious freedom everywhere in the world.

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