Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Religious conflict isn't new to Murfreesboro

Religious conflict isn't new to Murfreesboro | The Tennessean |

A small group from a controversial faith announced plans to build a house of worship in Murfreesboro. Angry residents took to the streets in protest. They claimed the project endangered the community's security and way of life and was being funded by suspicious outsiders.

They marched to the town courthouse, demanding the project be stopped immediately.

It was 1929, and the KKK organized the march. The cause of the controversy? St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church — Murfreesboro's first Catholic church — being built to serve Irish, German and Italian newcomers.

A group of protesters marched the same route to the courthouse last summer, only this time fearful that a new Islamic center for the town's burgeoning Muslim population would spark anti-American terrorism.

Indeed, the nation has a history of religious conflict, often driven by immigration.

"We've always celebrated our immigrant past while being uneasy about our immigrant present," said Daniel Tichenor, political science professor at the University of Oregon.