The church refuses to acknowledge the hypocrisy at its heart: that it became a haven for gay priests even though it declares homosexual sex a sin, and even though it lobbies to stop gays from marrying.
The greatest religious battles are often not between faiths, but within faiths. The widest gulfs are often not those that divide one religion from the next, but those between extremists and progressives within a single faith. And in this religious season, there s something that we can all learn from the courage, compassion and tolerance of Dr. Hawa Abdi.
Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site farther away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who say they favor the project, according to a New York Times poll.
For more than two decades, Abdelhamid Shaari has been lobbying a succession of governments in Milan for permission to build a mosque for his congregants - any mosque at all, in any location. Related Far From Ground Zero, Obscure Pastor Is Ignored No Longer he leads Friday Prayer in a stadium normally used for rock concerts. When sites were proposed for mosques in Padua and Bologna, Italy, a few years ago, opponents from the anti-immigrant Northern League paraded pigs around them. The projects were canceled. In that light, the furor over the precise location of Park51, the proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, looks to Mr. Shaari like something to aspire to. At least in America, Mr. Shaari said, "there s a debate."
Not everyone in the Cairo lecture hall last February was buying the imam Feisal Abdul Rauf s message. As he talked of reconciliation between America and Middle Eastern Muslims - his voice soft, almost New Agey - some questioners were so suspicious that he felt the need to declare that he was not an American agent. Muslims need to understand and soothe Americans who fear them, the imam said; they should be conciliatory, not judgmental, toward the West and Israel. But one young Egyptian asked: Wasn t the United States financing the speaking tour that had brought the imam to Cairo because his message conveniently echoed United States interests? I m not an agent from any government, even if some of you may not believe it, the imam replied. "I m not. I m a peacemaker."
Faced with withering Republican criticism of his defense of the right of Muslims to build a community center and mosque near ground zero, President Obama quickly recalibrated his remarks on Saturday, a sign that he has waded into even more treacherous political waters than the White House had at first realized.