This NY Times op-ed presents a poignant contrast of “Islam in two Americas”. The perspective on tensions in American culture over Islam brings to the surface what is often lurking just below. Written in 2010 during the controversy about a mosque and Islamic community center being constructed near the twin towers in New York City, the author says:
“beneath these concerns lurks the darker suspicion that Islam in any form may be incompatible with the American way of life.”
The two Americas contrast the ideals of democracy and freedom with the English-speaking Judeo-Christian heritage.
These tensions seem to be especially prominent in the church where Christians believe in the ideals of democracy and tend towards the conservative. Add in Jesus’ teaching to ‘love your neighbor’ when that neighbor is from the Middle East and ‘love your enemies’ when the perception of many Christians towards Muslims is that ‘they just want to kill us’ and dissonance is sure to surface. Reconciling patriotism in the “two Americas” and how to ‘love our neighbors’ from around the world will be this church generation’s biggest challenge.