The Washington National Cathedral is hosting a Muslim prayer service for the first time on Friday. Planners say they hope Friday’s service at the historic cathedral will foster more understanding and acceptance between Christians and Muslims around the world.
The prominent Episcopal cathedral often hosts national events, such as presidential funerals, and has hosted Muslims at various interfaith services in the past. But planners say this is the first time the cathedral has invited Muslims to lead their own prayers there, which they call a “powerful symbolic gesture.”
Planners say the prayer service developed after the cathedral’s liturgical director met South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool while planning the national memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
In a statement, Rasool says, “This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations.”
Do you know what would have been an even more dramatic moment in the world of Muslim-Christian relations? If a contingent of bishops, or perhaps Baptist preachers, were invited to the Masjid al-Haram to hold a Christian service in that facility. Of course that would require surmounting a few inconsequential hurdles:
1) Christians aren’t allowed to set foot in the city of Mecca;
2) Christians can not worship openly in the country;
3) Bibles are prohibited (perhaps clergy can speak from memory); and
4) Any Muslims moved by the service to religious conversion face the death penalty for apostasy.
So somewhat similar to the environment muslims face in America.
There is probably no need to remind Christian readers here of how badly their leaders have betrayed them. Or how equally unrequited goes their congenial cheek-turning doctrine.
Reciprocity. In practically all aspects of the terminal West, we neither demand nor receive it even in slivers. Let muslims enter the National Cathedral following a Christian conversion ceremony at the door. Those balking may pick up their Korans at the airport upon departure. This isn’t the Dar-al-Islam. We thought Martel made that clear.
All around us the hypocrisy is so thick it could set bricks. And all pretend not to notice. One day that’s going to suddenly stop.