Letter: Comparing religious laws may open door to empathy
In light of the ongoing controversy regarding the opposition to or supporting of the construction of a mosque, I am motivated to ask some questions about this vital issue. For example, it has been implied that Sharia law is a tenet that condones violence toward those who are not Muslim.
Has anyone making these accusations taken the time to personally meet with local Imams or other representatives of the Muslim community in a sincere and honest attempt to understand what exactly Sharia law is or is not? Is this law to be taken literally or is there room for various interpretations and applications of this law? Does Sharia law apply to all Muslims?
These questions bring to mind the biblical principle, or law, of tithing. Some Christian denominations require that members pay 10 percent of their gross income to the church. Failure to comply is akin to “stealing from God.” Anyone who fails to tithe is prohibited from participating in most church ministries.
Other denominations require that women wear dresses, are prohibited from cutting their hair or wearing makeup, and are required to fully submit to the authority of their husband. Failure to do so is subject to disciplinary measures imposed by those denominations.
Another principle requires members to disassociate themselves from those who have been “disfellowshipped” from the church for any number of infractions of the law.
Do these principles apply to all Christians, whether they be Catholic, Pentecostal or interdenominational? Or are these laws obsolete or subject to various interpretations?
My intent is not to condemn or condone these principles, but to open the door of possibilities so that we can peacefully live among each other, despite our differences. It begins with reaching out to each other with a desire to truly understand.