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Mack Richards Wants to Send Message to Muslims with Crosses

I don’t know what kind of message this is supposed to be, but I’m pretty sure Muslims wouldn’t care if the Grace Baptist Church put 100 crosses on its lawn. It seems the Church feels the need to assert its identity as Christian, which is a given, no? The response of the ICM, which has been under intense Islamophobic pressure, was that it wants good relations with all of its neighbors.

Crosses next door to Murfreesboro mosque a message of Christianity

by Scott Broden (ShreveportTimes)

MURFREESBORO — Islamic Center of Murfreesboro members will pass a field lined with 13 white crosses in front of Grace Baptist Church on Bradyville Pike on the way to their new mosque once it opens.

“It was more or less to make a statement to the Muslims about how we felt about our religion, our Christianity,” said Mack Richards, a Middle Tennessee Baptist Church member who built the crosses at the request of Grace Baptist member and friend Bobby Francis. “We wanted them to see the crosses and know how we felt about things.”

“That’s what the church voted to do,” said Francis, who has been a member of Grace Baptist since the 1970s when it was on Dill Lane.

Grace Baptist moved into its current home of about 6,000 square feet two years ago and is currently served by Interim Pastor Dan Watts.

The mosque next door has been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate in the past two years, including vandalism to its sign, a bomb threat, arson to construction equipment on site and a lawsuit to block its construction. Plaintiffs unsuccessfully argued in court that Islam is not a religion but won one battle in which the judge agreed that insufficient notice was provided by the county government concerning a meeting over the mosque’s site plans, which is under appeal. Construction on the first phase of the building is nearing completion. A certificate of occupancy could come after a final inspection by the state fire marshal’s office on Tuesday.

Francis explained three of the crosses, including a taller one, represent the Trinity. He said he sees the crosses as being part of the “Great Commission,” a Christian reference on what Jesus called his followers to do in spreading the news about him to the world.

Muslims see Jesus as being an important prophet but do not view him as the son of God or accept that he died on the cross, confirmed Saleh Sbenaty, an ICM board member.

“We love our neighbors, all of them, including the church next door,” said Sbenaty. “As Muslims, we believe in Jesus, as well. Jesus said love thy neighbors. They are our neighbors, and we must love them.

“Also, our prophet Muhammad, before he died, told Muslims they need to love their neighbors and take care of them, and not only their immediate neighbor but extended to the seventh neighbor. That means everybody should love everybody, and that peace and love would be cast on the whole community.”

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  • Wanderer


    No way!!!?? That is insane.. He used “women” as a euphemism for the pole?

  • ron

    Jack Schaap, pastor of Ind. megachurch, fired for sexual relationship with teen congregant


  • ron

  • Lo

    “We wanted them to see the crosses and know how we felt about things.”
    Well everyone’s seen the crosses and everyone now knows less about how he felt about things than when his coreligionists were leaving pigs head to at mosques. But hey, at least the only thing this man has harmed is his time and wallet.

    Tbqh I feel sorry (and a bit hopeful) for this poor man. He’s clearly deluded enough to feel threatened by the whole ‘Muslims are taking over the US’ thing to be spending all that time and money (or he just really loves his crosses) but there’s no malice in what he’s doing. He’s salvageable; just keep him away from Pamela Geller and co. and he’d probably live on a decent man.

  • ilfdinar

    muslims could retaliate by blasting quran and the adhan 24/7 but they won’t because that is not the kind of people their mothers raised them up to be

  • Manchurian anti-colonial Larry

    I gotta say it:

    Its tough to take a guy seriously in a orange sherbert polo with man boobs.

  • Christian-friend

    If he’s trying to scare Muslims, he failed miserably.

  • Solid Snake

    Oh I know I was just saying that so no one advances the argument that we are somehow offended by the display. I should have clarified that the issue is not the actual physical display but the childish intentions behind it.

  • Abbey

    What do these people take Muslims for, Dracula? Muslim’s will start melting when they pass by the crosses.

  • Pamela

    Maybe they are trying for Klan group of the year.

  • Garibaldi

    @Solid, I think that’s a given. What is strange is why this Church thinks it is sending some sort of “message” to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Like Emperor said, “I doubt Muslims would care if 100 crosses” were put on the lawn.

  • Solid Snake

    Actually, I dont mind and neither should the Muslims who pass by. It is their property and their right to do so.

  • Islam Created the Modern World

    Nur Alia,

    Christians don’t believe in Jesus as a man. The grudge Christian Fundamentalists have against Muslims (like the Crusaders of old) is that we reject the divinity and believe in Mohammed.

    This is a slap in their face, and in their eyes, we’re no better than all others who reject their 3 gods, (father, son, holy ghost)

    Our belief in Jesus, is as good as non belief to them.

    We certainly don’t believe in their gods

  • mindy1

    What on earth are they going to accomplish, it’s a church, of course they know it’s christian(although they are not acting like they are)

  • mr.b

    KKK uses to put up crosses all the time and we see how that worked out.

  • NurAlia

    You know…Romney used the sacred site of Jews to get a picture he now uses to bash another human being…and now this church is using crosses to ‘remind’ Muslims of thier point of view about Jesus.

    I am wondering how cheap do they think the messangers and thier message really are…that all the holy Prophets of God are simply advertising tools for political messages.

  • Crow

    Actually those crosses put me in mind of all the victory churches the europeans built all over the country. How the heck do they think they have a right to say what religion is welcome here or not? They need to actually read what Jesus said

  • rob

    Either the church is looking to draw attention to themselves so they can get “donations”, or they suffer from a inferiority complex. Maybe both.

  • ibn mikael

    what exactly is this church hoping to accomplish? seems like a pointless endeavor–“ooh, I am gonna put up some crosses–THAT will show you!” lulz

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