A Baptist church in Ohio is being accused of religious intolerance for allegedly thwarting a plan to build a mosque on nearby property.
The board of zoning appeals in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio, insists its 5-0 vote against a variance request that would have permitted the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton to build the mosque was not influenced by the local First Baptist Church. The rejection, officials say, was based only on the expected sewage and traffic impact, the Dayton Daily News reported.
But the senior pastor of the 1,900-member church, Barry Jude, has made his opposition to the mosque clear.
"We just feel that Christianity is right and that Islam is wrong," Jude told the Daily News.
"Therefore, we take a stand to see (a mosque) not in our community. The wonderful thing about our American culture is that you have the right to speak out against something you don't support."
The paper says the issue "has touched on larger questions: Does the presence of a mosque locally evoke feelings of fear or even hatred?
Are church officials saying out loud what a lot of people are thinking privately?"