It was with interest that I watched an interview between a Pastor and a Muslim leader in Melbourne today on Sunrise (17/9/2013). The Muslims want to build a Mosque next door to a church and the pastor was making a case as to why they shouldn’t be allowed to do that. I was asked on Facebook what would my reaction be. Good question.
In Australia as a Pastor and as a Christian, I enjoy the freedom of religion that we have in this country. I can go to whatever church I want and worship in the way that I want. I can tell people about Jesus in the streets if I want to:- without fear of arrest. My children can go to a State school or a Christian school. Now the fundamental issue of freedom of religion is that other religions enjoy the same freedoms otherwise its not freedom of religion at all. So if a Mosque wants to build next door to Nowra City Church, then I would see that as a statement on the freedoms we have as a nation. I would not protest against it.
The other aspect of this is that I believe that all people need faith in Jesus Christ and so if a Mosque was built next door to Nowra City Church, I would look for opportunities to tell these people about Jesus.
Having said all that, if the Mosque leaders then were offended by the Carols that happen in Nowra at Christmas time or the nativity scene in Nowra Stocklands, and wanted them stopped, then I would be vocal about that. I think there needs to be an understanding that we are a nation founded on the Judeo-Christian ethic and as such we celebrate Christmas and Easter as a culture.
For the record, the Nowra City Church Canberra Campus, Impact Church in Monash, is over the road from a Mosque and they, with our permission, use our car park from time to time when they have a big event on.