Saturday, June 4, 2011
Many attitudes have apparently changed since the Spring of 2004 regarding building new houses of worship
In the Spring of 2004, hundreds of people attended public meetings to protest the building of Prayer Center for Muslims at 165th and 104th Avenue. It was 22,000 square feet and would serve the many thousands of Muslims who live among the many thousands of Christians and Jews in the Orland Park region.
But the protesters were warning of dire, dark things to come, asserting that if the Mosque was built, "Osama Bin Laden would come to Orland Park and kill our people." Thank GOD -- or is that Allah? Or Jehovah" Or Yaweh? Or G-d? that President Barack Hussein Obama killed Bin Laden and saved Orland Park! I mean, we were on pins and needles the whole time as his predecessor former President George W. Bush failed to kill or capture Bin Laden -- the Bin Laden family is very close to the Bush family, but don't tell anyone. It doesn't fit the stereotype of hatred that spreads when the issue of Muslims surfaces.
Well, today the Orland Prayer Center is one of the most beautiful buildings around. Click here to get information on it.
When racism wasn't the reason to block it, many turned to the argument of traffic congestion at the intersection of 104th Avenue and 159th Street. Oh, they said, it would be bad that THAT'S the reason why they didn't want Muslims -- or a Mosque, ahem! -- to be built six blocks south on the vacant land.
Well, I am glad the Orland Prayer Center controversy has subsided because it has made it easier for the founders of the Calvary Reformed Church to find a new location even closer to the congestion-anticipated intersection at 104th Avenue and 159th Street. The Calvary Reformed church didn't have any of the big protests that plagued the effort by Muslims to build a house of worship. There weren't six hundred people warning that a Christian convert to Islam might come here and kill people in Orland Park if the Calvary Reformed Church was built.
Pastors and Christian evangelists didn't grab the microphones to incite the same kind of hatred that was fanned at the packed public hearings for the Orland Prayer Center. No one seemed to complain much and everyone knew about it because the mainstream news media, which blows with the public attitude winds better than anyone wrote many stories about how the Calvary Reformed Church was struggling to find a new home.
The new Calvary Reformed Church is only 52,000 square feet in size, almost three times larger than the Orland Prayer Center down the street that everyone said was going to bring a Tsunami of vehicle traffic so great that not even a terrorist could find their way through the roadway congestion that would have been caused.
Of course, no such congestion occurred. They made a little turn lane to help redirect the massive hijira of traffic off of 159th Street. This time, instead of fighting the building of such a massive public center, the public supported it. In fact, the Calvary Reformed Church got a lot of support from Christian Churches nearby.
Calvary Reformed Church bought 33 acres from Catholic Cemeteries. The church is directly west of Good Shepherd Catholic Cemetery which was consecrated without much raucus either in 2005. There's even enough room to expand the church. God Bless them. Or, Allah Bless them. Or Yahweh bless them. Whoever.
I am happy for them that they didn't have to experience the vicious ugliness from the surrounding Orland Park residents, or that there were protests or ugly news media stories defaming them or questioning their motives or linking them to crime (statistics show the majority of crimes committed, including murders, are by Christians in America. Sorry the facts are the facts even if I don't think they really mean much to any story about Christians.)
It's more than enough space, in fact a lot more land than they really needed. Calvary Reformed Church just wanted more room so their children could play and enjoy the Church.
Funny. Thats' exactly what the founders of the Orland Park Prayer Center, the Mosque, had said, too. They just wanted someplace where their families could enjoy their own American Dream.
Maybe it is the passing of time, or that many of the haters simply moved away to other communities? Or maybe it's that President Obama has made this a safer nation now that he did what Bush failed to do -- Obama was distracted trying to hunt down a former American funded dictator -- Saddam Hussein -- who made threats against his daddy.
Or maybe, and I like to think that this is the real reason for the calm, people have learned that stereotyping and hatred have no place in a Christian home, a Jewish home or a Muslim home. And they have set aside their ridiculous anger and have educated themselves more about who Muslims really are.
Click here to get more information on the videos.
-- Ray Hanania