How about an interfaith memorial instead?

LaVonne Neff, a blogger over at Sojourners, has an interesting counter-proposal for the proposed Islamic community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero: an interfaith memorial.

Here's her take:

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

Since we follow someone who suggested loving our enemies and forgiving 70 times seven (which we tend to ignore when we rant against the Islamic center), this would allow us to be more literal about our faith. And since we believe in our constitutional rights of religious liberty and freedom to assemble (which we might jeopardize by refusing to allow the Islamic center to be built), this would allow us to be more traditional about our politics as well.

See, we could pay for it ourselves. It would be cheap: only 50 cents from every American Christian would do it. We probably wouldn’t want to call it Córdoba, since that brings to mind a city where medieval Muslims gave a fair amount of religious liberty to Christians (something Christians at the time were not doing for Muslims in neighboring cities). But we might call it something like "The Reconciliation Center" — a very biblical term that evangelicals should like.

We could include separate worship rooms for Christians, Muslims, Jews, and every other faith held by victims of the 9/11 attacks. We could also include a multifaith meditation room for everybody, with pictures of the deceased, and symbols of hope and peace.

Just as important, we could use the memorial to bring the community together, now and in the future. I don’t know what the neighborhood needs – apparently it’s rather rich in strip clubs and sex toys — but how about a gym where kids of all faiths could play together? A food pantry staffed by and serving all people? A library with great works from many traditions? An auditorium where speakers, films, and concerts promoting reconciliation could be featured? A clinic offering free medical care for the homeless?

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