Support for a Mosque from an Unusual Source

There’s a controversy looming in Tippecanoe County, Indiana over whether or not the city council should give their approval for the building of an Islamic center.

In response to that, Steve Viars offers his support:

Some residents from our community expressed concern over this decision, essentially suggesting that the approval was un-American. I think the polar opposite is true. Refusing to grant this request simply because the petitioners are followers of Islam would be contrary to our country’s cherished ideals of religious liberty and the importance of the separation of church and state.

Celebrating the presence of other religions at home is the logical extension of the sacrifice our countrymen have made around the world. Freedom is often most delicious when it is extended to someone with whom you disagree. Our heroes did not fight to protect and promote one particular religious point of view. The fruit of freedom is diversity and a rich tapestry of culture and beliefs.

… Diverse people are welcomed to the public square to express their opinions and promote their ideals. When we can do that with love not hate, openness not suspicion, and celebration not dread — then and only then will we truly be free.

Wonderfully said.

And maybe you’ll be as surprised as I was to find out that Viars is a Baptist and the senior pastor at Faith Church in Lafayette.

Gotta give credit where it’s due. If more theists felt the same way, we’d be having very different conversations on sites like this one.

(Thanks to Mike for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

    I’ve been learning this lately.  I find that theists can show a lot of positive qualities, and I strive to remember that when I engage in discussion with them.
    That said, I continue the fight for freedom of the mind as well as freedom of religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=638289862 Kevin Jackson

    I just called and thanked him. Seems like a nice and thoughtful guy. Refreshing

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Sweet/1280927267 James Sweet

    So unless there’s something I’m missing, this post seems a little misleading… I read the first article linked to, and I didn’t see anywhere there being some big outcry over people wanting to build an Islamic community center.  What I read was that they needed to rezone it, and some residents oppose the rezoning, nominally because noise concerns, etc.  Now, maybe those residents have an ulterior motive and the noise concerns are just an excuse to try and oppose their Muslim neighbors… but I consider that somewhat irrelevant since it seemed to only be a very small number of people who are opposed.  Hell, there was more outcry than this in my town when a local business owner wanted to open up a car wash on an already-busy street corner.

    Any time you have a rezoning, no matter how uncontroversial, a small number of residents will be opposed.  It’s conceivable that the opposition in this case have a bigoted motive that they are concealing… but the amount of opposition doesn’t seem to be at all unusual.  Maybe I’m being naive, but I’m not sure there’s a story here…

    • http://politicsandpucks.blogspot.com Mike Brownstein

      One problem the Mosque has is that is in a pretty secluded area of campus. Most people in town would not be able to tell you where it is unless they lived on campus at one time near there. The building has next to no parking, and can be difficult to find. I am completely okay with them finding a better building where they can practice their faith because they do have an active community (and they’re pretty friendly in my interactions with them).

      FYI: I’m a former officer for the Purdue Non-Theists

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ORRVVC5R2QWLTXEM6SX5L6BORE Jay Arrrr

      The “How can they allow those TERRORISTS to build a training center in OUR christian community???” letters are starting to trickle in to the J&C. 
      My POV is that if Faith church was to build another Mega-Jeebus superstore at that location everybody’d be all for it.

  • T-Rex

    I’m all for them building all kinds of religious buildings…AS LONG AS THEY PAY TAXES! Until such a time that all religious institutions pay their fair share of taxes I’ll oppose the building of any and all houses of superstitions and bigotry, regardless of their faith.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1601680373 Kent Gordon Schlorff

    THIS. This is what we need more of. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/gig.searle Gig Searle

    “and the importance of the separation of church and state” – is just what a mosque preaches – when the state is an islamic theocracy and the churches represent other religions.Perhaps they should first ask whether the mosque is willing to back a “No Theocracy in America and No Shariah” policy.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ORRVVC5R2QWLTXEM6SX5L6BORE Jay Arrrr

      You honestly think Shariah is the whole purpose behind building mosques in the US?
      You sound like those bigots that write LTTE to my local paper.

  • Anonymous

    thanks wctube


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