Bill Keller raising money to build ground zero church

With all of the intense furor that has erupted over the Park51, the proposed Muslim cultural center and mosque, we're curious to see what the fallout will be from this structure being considered near such hallowed ground.

As Jason Elliot considers in Salon;

nd if there was ever a case of insensitivity to Sept. 11 -- another frequent argument of the anti-mosque crowd -- consider the fact that Keller has a history of seeking to profit from his various projects (one, called Gold For Souls, involved telling people to simply mail him their gold and jewelry). The 9-11 Christian Center appears to be no different. The project's website features a prominent link telling viewers to "Earn $$$ - Click Here!" It goes to a letter from Keller offering people a 10 percent referral cut on donations from their friends to the 9/11 Christian Center.

To be perfectly clear, Keller should be permitted to build anything he wants as long as it's legal.

But the only logic by which Keller's project would not be horrifying to those who oppose Park51 is if they believe all Muslims, including the progressive Muslim Americans behind Park51, should be treated as suspicious or even in the same category as the Sept. 11 terrorists. If mosque opponents' concerns are truly about sensitivity to the neighborhood around ground zero -- and not about Muslims -- we'll hear them denounce Keller loudly in the coming days.

St. Petersburg Evangelist Bill Keller is one of the most controversial religious figures in Tampa Bay and the country, but he also has a big following, as the leader of the world’s largest interactive Christian websites,

The Christian conservative, who has angered gays and Muslims with incendiary comments in the past, is all set for more culture war by launching his '9-11 Christian Center at Ground Zero" which would be built two blocks from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The website contains some of Keller's most insensitive commentaries, such as one titled, "The False Religion of Islam and the Courage to Tell One Billion People They are Going to Hell."

Keller says that he'll  begin preaching every near Sunday near Ground Zero (at the Marriott at 85 West Street in New York) until the $8 billion 9/11 Christian Center finds a permanent home.


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