Thursday, May 19, 2011

Interesting Neighbors

I took my son to the medical clinic we use for his school sports physical for the fall.  This clinic is in leased space but has been there for at least ten years.  It serves ONLY military members, retirees, and their families.
The Saudi Cultural Mission

Across the parking lot is a new building that went up almost overnight. It is a beautiful building. It is the Saudi Cultural Mission in the US, the purpose of which is to help Saudi students get a good US education so they can return home to make the Kingdom a better place.

In their old building, they often hosted Friday prayers. I know this because if we had an appointment on Friday there were NO parking places anywhere around the clinic. This new building is bigger, and more people come, but now it's not just on Friday. They have classes there, so the parking lots are full all the time.  And, the number of taxis double parked or just "pausing" is incredible. (many of the taxi drivers in our area are Muslims from a variety of home countries).

There has been some controversy over this Mission because it funds and runs a high school here in our county which has an openly Muslim curriculum. Some people object because they view it as anti-Jewish and anti-Christian. But having had my kids in Christian school at one point, I'm hard pressed to say "ban parochial schools." I've also lived in a place where Christianity was NOT the majority religion, so those who say we need to put prayer back into public school need to think about whether it is "their" flavor of prayer that might be the one chosen.

But I digress. As I said, I don't really care whether the Saudis have a mission in the U.S. to help their home country.

What does bother me is the lack of quid pro quo.  When my father lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, they had to meet at someone's house for church because there was no public building (even one belonging to the US) where they could assemble in the name of Christianity.  Of course, the Embassy couldn't allow them to meet there because of the way the US government flunkies interpret the separation of church and state, i.e., if it is going to offend the allies, we'll be politically correct. I know the Saudi Ambassador to the US -- I went to college with him. I'm sure he is quite amused by how easily they use our laws to benefit them and hamstrung us. And they don't even have to be very manipulative. The anti-religion forces (particularly Christianity) within our government are only too eager to hand over rational thought.

In this country, the Saudis exercise freely something they deny to us, and especially to their own people, in their own country.  Seems pretty backward.

On the other hand, Dad says that every time the house churches got big enough to attract notice so they were told by the Saudi government to disburse, they did.  JUST LIKE THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH...

Acts 18:10 (New International Version)

10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”


Sweet Tea said...

Extremely interesting post - another reminder of the freedom we (and others)have in America that is denied to so many in other parts of the world.

Mary said...

Excellent post. I've heard the same thing (about the "double standard"...if you will) before.