A church in Tennessee plans to be the site of an anti-Sharia conference next week after organizers were forced by a Nashville hotel to cancel the group’s first-ever national event.
Pastor Maury Davis of Cornerstone Church in Madison told The Christian Post that he allowed the Sharia Awareness Action Network to rent the church for the event because the group will provide an educational experience and not simply an opportunity for “hate speech” as some have claimed.
Hutton Hotel backed out of its $8,000 contract to accommodate the event scheduled for Nov. 11, citing potential security issues and a risk to its employees.
Organizers of "Preserving Freedom Conference: The Constitution or Sharia?" state on their website that their focus is engaging “in educating the American citizenry about how Sharia Law stands in opposition to Constitutional Law, and why that poses a threat to our American way of life.”
Davis said that although he does not know the majority of speakers at the conference, his decision to rent his church to the organizers was also based on the fact that he knows some of the speakers and that they are “very reputable people.”
“I don’t believe informative speech or educational speech is hate speech,” Davis said. “I want to know what is Sharia law, how did it come about, what does it mean and how is it implemented – just as a citizen and as a Christian, what is Sharia law?”
Davis said he is not aware of any protests of the event or the change in venue announced Monday.
Prior to the church's agreement with the Sharia Awareness Action Network, conference organizer and former congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik said she was turned down by 20 hotels in an effort to find a new location, dnj.com reported.
"There was no room in the inn for freedom, but Pastor Maury Davis of Cornerstone Church opened his doors for free speech," said Zelenik, who lost in the 2010 Republican primary.
Scheduled guest speaker Pamela Geller, who manages the anti-Islamic blog Atlas Shrugs, decided to cancel her appearance because the conference had been moved from a secular venue, according to dnj.com.
"While I have nothing against speaking in a church per se, I refuse to have my message driven from the public square," she stated to DNJ.
Davis, when asked by CP about whether he believes Sharia, or Islamic law, could exist in the United States said that the possibility exists.
“I feel like in areas of where people of the Islamic faith become majorities, because we are a government of the people, the majority will rule,” Davis said. “We know that the birth rate of the traditional American is lower than that of the immigrant American. I think that it is a possibility at some point that people from other parts of the world could become the majority of Americans.”