Last June, on these pages, I wrote about an historic first at Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral when the Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, the Episcopal chaplain at Boston University, became the first openly transgendered priest to preach from the Canterbury Pulpit at the cathedral. The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop, presided at that service, which was part of the cathedral’s celebration of LGBTQ pride month. The service included readings and prayers from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The Very Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the cathedral, said that he hoped that Rev. Dr. Partridge’s participation would “send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community.” The National Cathedral, which is officially The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, boasts an important image both in the United States and around the world.
This past Friday, there was another historic first at the National Cathedral when several hundred Moslem worshipers gathered for the first recitation of weekly Moslem prayers to Allah at the cathedral. The National Cathedral was, in effect, turned into a mosque, and the Moslem worshipers were called to worship by the Arabic call to prayer, and they bowed toward Mecca, while shielding their eyes from Christian crosses. Prayer carpets were arranged diagonally so Islamic worshipers could face the direction of Mecca without seeing any of the crosses or other Christian symbols. Apparently, this is because Moslems are not to pray in view of non-Islamic sacred symbols. So now, the National Cathedral has become the first church in America to host a Moslem-led prayer service. Among the sponsors of this event were the infamous Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and the Islamic Society of North America, also known as ISNA. Both CAIR and ISNA are known front groups for the Moslem Brotherhood, which has long had strong ties to senior figures in the Obama Administration. (The two groups were named as unindicted co-conspirators in the 2009 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism funding trial in U.S history. CAIR and ISNA were directly involved in laundering money through fake charities to fund Hamas operations.) Friday’s Islamic sermon was preached by His Excellency, Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, described as a Moslem “scholar,” who is the ambassador from South Africa to the United States. In his remarks, Ambassador Rasool called on Moslems, Christians, and others to come together and make “common cause” in the fight against extremists who appropriate Islam. In his remarks, Ambassador Rasool said:
We come to this cathedral with sensitivity and humility but keenly aware that it is not a time for platitudes, because mischief is threatening the world. The challenge for us today is to reconstitute a middle ground of good people . . . whose very existence threatens extremism.
The Islamic prayer service was closed to the public, and media reports indicate that there was heavy security, with police checking every name and bag. (I suppose the organizers feared that a Christian suicide bomber might set off a bomb, or send one or more Christian children wearing a bomb-vest.) Organizers said there had been concerns about security and threats after the event was publicized, and the organizers and cathedral officials wanted to limit it to a small and select group. However, as an imam was about to give the call to prayer, a Christian woman stood up, pointed to the cross, and proclaimed:
Jesus Christ died on that cross. He is the reason we are to worship only Him. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. We have built enough of your mosques in this country. Why don’t you worship in your mosques and leave our churches alone? America was founded on Christian principles. Leave our church alone!
Indeed. She was immediately taken into custody and forcibly removed from the cathedral by two men whereupon she was beheaded. (OK, that didn’t really happen, or at least not yet in the United States, but it could have happened that way in many other countries.) Our unidentified Christian sister’s interruption of the travesty was captured on video and posted online at PamelaGeller.com.
Of course, in Islam, Jesus Christ is not the Son of God. The Koran 4:171 declares in part:
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a soul from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! [It is] better for you! Indeed, Allah is only One Allah. Exalted is He above having a son.
Moreover, as Christians who recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Holy Son, Islam teaches we are accursed and worthy of destruction. The Koran 9:30 declares in pertinent part:
[T]he Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?
The leaders of the National Cathedral have now permitted a grave blasphemy in this church. But now, I will look forward, in an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect that was promised by this event, that this coming Christmas, we can celebrate the Feast of the Nativity at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and then, at Easter, celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Kaaba in Mecca. In light of the Moslem persecution of Christians worldwide, it seems to me that it would be far more appropriate to promote love and respect by having Christian prayers in a mosque. But don’t hold your breath.