The world's first lesbian bishop of a major Christian denomination, Eva Brunne of the Lutheran Church of Sweden is calling for the removal of the crosses and other Christian symbols at the Seamen's Church in Freeport so that visiting foreign sailors practicing other religions like Islam "would not be offended."
According to the Stockholm-based news outlet SVT.se, Brunne not only intends to remove the Christian symbols but also set up a prayer room inside the church that would cater to people of other religions, particularly Muslim visitors. She explained that by doing so, Muslim refugees entering Sweden will be more at ease.
"Making a room available for people of other faiths does not mean that we are not defenders of our own faith. Priests are called to proclaim Christ. We do that every day and in every meeting with people," Brunne reportedly said. "But that does not mean that we are stingy toward people of other faiths."
Brunne's attempts to make life more comfortable for Muslims and other non-Christian visitors were strongly opposed by Pamela Geller, author of "Stop the Islamisation of America."
"Sweden has lost it," Geller told WND. "It is sacrificing its own heritage to accommodate immigrants who will not be as accommodating to native non-Muslim Swedes. The bishop is paving the way for the Islamisation of Sweden."
Geller's thoughts were echoed by Seamen's Mission Director Kiki Wetterberg, who said removing Christian symbols is a completely unnecessary act.
"I have no problem with Muslim or Hindu sailors coming here and praying. But I believe that we are a Christian church, so we keep the symbols. If I visit a mosque, I do not ask them to take down their symbols. It's my choice to go in there," she wrote in the newspaper Dagen.
Meanwhile, Patrik Pettersson, priest of the Oscars parish in Stockholm, said people of other faiths already have designated prayer areas. "The church chapel cannot reasonably be equated with prayer rooms at airports and hospital chapels anyway. The Christian churches and chapels are not public areas at any time," he wrote on his blog.
On the other hand, Islam expert and blogger Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch took a jab at the idea, suggesting that Muslims would not even dream of extending the same courtesy towards Christians. He even sarcastically wrote: "Watch for mosques everywhere to remove their mihrabs and install crosses so that Christians will feel comfortable praying there."