The National Cathedral will host Muslim Friday prayers for the first time on Friday, November 14, 2014. The event is being called "unprecedented."
The National Cathedral is an Episcopalian Church that often hosts events like presidential funerals. The National Cathedral does receive federal funds.
The National Cathedral and organizer Ebrahim Rasool are selling the prayer service as a gesture against "Islamophobia."
In fact Muslim prayer in the National Cathedral has nothing to do with any fight against Islamophobia or for freedom of religion.
Muslim prayer in the National Cathedral is a flagrant provocation that has already increased hostility against Muslims, including the majority of innocent Muslims who had nothing to do with this abomination.
Muslim prayer in the National Cathedral obscures the raison d'etre of a Christian Church, and replaces that very reason for its existence with the Politically Correct dogma that Christianity must obscure its message and debase its mission to display fealty to Islam.
Christian houses of worship exist in order to spread the most vital message humanity has ever received: you – no matter who you are, no matter how much money you have, no matter how beautiful, ugly, intelligent, powerful or weak, loved or alone – you are so beloved of the greatest single force in the universe that that force, that God, that Word, took on human form, suffered and died for you. For YOU. If you were the only person who had ever existed, God – the same God who created the stars and planets, the hummingbirds and the crickets, the waterfalls, gravity and time itself – would have lived and died for you. Your life – no matter how painful, how dark, how muddled, how blessed, how fleeting– your life has ultimate meaning and purpose.
Humanity needs that message. That message is what Christian churches exist to share.
Inviting clergy of any other faith to perform services in a Christian house of worship erases that message and puts another in its place. The teaching honored by the Muslim Friday prayer at the National Cathedral is not Christianity at all, nor is it Islam. Rather, it is Political Correctness.
Of all the world's faiths, Islam is exceptional in its relationship to Christianity.
Judaism is believed to be between three and four thousand years old. Christianity is two thousand years old. Mohammed died in the seventh century, six hundred years after Christ died, and over a thousand years after King David reigned. There were Jews, Christians, and Pagans in Arabia when Mohammed lived, and garbled variations of all three traditions were incorporated into the Koran.
Mohammed co-opted elements of Paganism. Mecca and its Kaaba were Pagan holy places; they are now the center of Muslim worship. Arab Pagans worshipped the moon and Islam adopted the crescent moon as its symbol. Pagans prayed, facing Mecca, five times a day, as do Muslims today. Pagan Arabs fasted, performed ritual circumambulation of mythological sites and ritual ablutions adopted by Muslims.
Mohammed and his followers who composed and compiled the Koran were not Jews themselves. They did not speak any Jewish language like Hebrew or Aramaic. They did not study or understand Jewish or Christian scripture. They merely appropriated word-of-mouth retellings of Jewish and Christian folktales, the kind of popular summaries one might hear in a market or in a long caravan, and included them in the Koran.
In the Koran, Moses, the man who liberated Jewish slaves in Egypt, is the brother of Jesus' mother Mary, who lived over a thousand years after Moses. In the Koran, Jesus brings clay birds to life. This was a non-Biblical folktale circulating in the Middle East. In the Koran, Jews worship Ezra, which they have never done. In the Koran, the trinity is God the Father, Jesus, and Mary, which of course is a bungle of the real trinity.
The Koran's error-ridden co-option and distortion of Jewish and Christian scripture is not always so innocent.
The Koran states that Allah turned Jews into apes and pigs; Muslim religious leaders regularly preach today that Jews are sons of apes and pigs. The Koran quotes its version of Jesus, "Isa ibn Maryam," as saying that he is not God's son. The Koranic Isa is given the title "ibn Maryam," son of Mary, as a way of emphasizing that he was the son of a lowly woman, not God.
Isa never died on a cross. God supplied a substitute who died in Isa's place. In the hadith, Isa returns to destroy all crosses, kill all pigs, and abolish Christianity.
"Allahu Akbar" does not mean "God is great." Rather, it means "Allah (the God Muslims worship) is greatest" – that is, superior to the Gods worshipped by non-Muslims. Mohammed was the first to use "Allahu Akbar" as a battle cry. These words are intimately connected with murder, looting, and dominance of non-Muslims.
Muslims pray five times a day. When doing so, they repeat phrases asking Allah not to make them like those who anger God and those who go astray, that is, Christians and Jews.
Muslims are ordered in the Koran not to take Christians or Jews as friends.
Islam, alone among world faiths, fashioned itself in direct competition with Christianity, and demands that it be treated as Christianity's superior. In fact, Muslims cannot pray within sight of Christian symbols like crosses, and the Muslims who pray in the National Cathedral today have been given a carefully chosen spot from which no cross is visible.
Many Muslims today claim that Christians and Jews consciously corrupted the text of the Bible. Ibn Hazm, a medieval Muslim theologian who lived in what is today Spain, made the "Bible is corrupt" argument. The Koran tells Muslims to respect the Bible. The Bible contradicts the Koran. Ibn Hazm reconciled these contradictory facts by arguing that Jews and Christians altered the texts of the original Bible. Ibn Hazm's reasoning runs as follows, "Since the Qur'an must be true, it must be the conflicting Gospel texts that are false. But Muhammad tells us to respect the Gospel. Therefore, the present text must have been falsified by the Christians."
Differences between Islam and Christianity aren't just about words on a page. These differences aren't just about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The differences between Islam and Christianity can be counted in dead bodies, looted churches, trails of refugees, centuries of warfare, and shattered lives. That was true in the seventh century, and that is true today.
Jesus ordered his followers to walk through the world humbly, healing the sick, and telling the good news to all men. Thus Christianity spread for three hundred years, even as it was outlawed by the Roman Empire. Thus Christianity spreads today, even in prison nations like North Korea. Jesus said,
"Heal the sick, raise the dead…Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses; no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff … And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go forth. And as ye enter into the house, salute it…And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, as ye go forth out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet…Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
Mohammed had a totally different program. "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."
Mohammed fought and his followers fought. Mohammed expelled all Christians and Jews from the Arabian Peninsula; to this day, Christians and Jews cannot live or worship in Arabia. Islam spread by the sword, not the word. That spread continues today, under ISIS in Iraq, where Christians and other non-Muslims like Yazidis have no right to life or property.
No other world religion contains, in its foundational scriptures, direct, specific attacks on and condemnation of Christianity. No other world religion was founded by a man who made war on Christians. No other world religion is currently making war on Christians.
Christians face theft, imprisonment, sex slavery, persecution, restriction, and death in Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Those persecuting Christians follow and cite Muslim scripture and history.
Given the reality of Islam's treatment of Christians, The National Cathedral's choice to host Muslim prayer has aroused agony and outrage among Americans. This agony and outrage is obvious in internet posts. There is even, sadly, hatred of Muslims expressed in these posts. This hatred directly contradicts Christian teachings.
Christians must continue to obey the command of the man who died on a cross for us: love one another, as I have loved you. We must love our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Christian love is nothing like the simulacrum of the Politically Correct. Christian love must be based in truth. It is Political Correctness, but not love, to close our eyes to the horrors that Islam imposes on its adherents: clitoredectomy, dancing boys, imprisoned and illiterate women, stoning, flogging, amputation, dictatorial governments, the bombing of schools and the murder of students, imposed backwardness, suicide bombings that are little more than child sacrifice, and constant warfare in the name of Allah.
It is Political Correctness, but not love, to claim that we in the West, inheritors of the Judeo-Christian tradition, must denigrate our heritage of science, democracy, self-criticism, and human rights in order not to cause Muslims to feel bad. It is love, real Christian love, to love our Muslim brothers and sisters, while at the same time speaking the truth to them. And the truth is that Muslim prayer has no place in a Christian church.
To our Muslim brothers and sisters, we must extend welcome: welcome into our lives and into our homes and into our hearts. Welcome into our workplaces and welcome into our nation. This welcome is warm and it is inclusive. Our warm welcome includes this: welcome into the truth we speak.