Allen Refuses to Join Fray in Worship Controversy

"A matter for the church family"

Friday, Jun 3, 2011  |  Updated 2:30 PM EDT
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Allen Refuses to Join Fray in Worship Controversy

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Former Virginia Sen. George Allen.

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U.S. Senate candidate George Allen plans to continue attending his Alexandria church, despite some congregants' concerns about the church's decision to allow Muslims to pray there on Fridays while a nearby mosque is renovated.

A handful of people have left the Aldersgate United Methodist Church to protest use of the church by Muslims. But a church spokeswoman told the Washington Examiner that response has been overwhelmingly positive and the move is in keeping with Christian values.

"We feel that the issue that has arisen in recent weeks within our church is a matter for the church family," Allen said in a statement to the Examiner. "We understand that good people will have differing opinions on this, but as I stated when entering this Senate race I will endeavor to focus on the concerns that I hear from Virginians as I travel across the state listening to them and discussing the future."

Chesapeake Bishop E.W. Jackson, one of several candidates seeking the GOP nomination along with Allen, criticized the church's decision.

"While we have a biblical mandate to love them as human beings, no pastor or Christian should cooperate or assist Muslims in their worship practices," he told the Examiner.

Allen is treading more carefully than Bishop Jackson, having some experience with accusations of racial insensitivity.

In his 2006 Senate campaign, Allen used a perceived racial slur in reference to an Indian-American volunteer for his opponent. Allen has repeatedly apologized for the remark.

Oh, and if the church sounds familiar to those who watch The Daily Show, well, here's why:

 

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