I've had it. Even more than the usual political lies, this absurd controversy has made me psychically sick and ashamed. The Moslem community in New York wants to build a community center on the site of a former Burlington coat factory. Sort of like the YMCA or YMHA right? Doesn't sound too controversial.
Oh, it's two blocks from the former World Trade Center site. Did I mention that?
It will be thirteen stories high. Oooh, enormous right? If you think so you haven't been to Manhattan lately, lately being the early part of the 20th century. 13 stories is peanuts.
And there will be a mosque as part of this building. Why a mosque? Seems there are a lot of Moslems in Manhattan, and the two mosques already in the area are overflowing. From the New york Times:
"Masjid Manhattan, on Warren Street, four blocks from ground zero, was founded in 1970. Masjid al-Farah, formerly on Mercer Street, moved to its present location on West Broadway, about 12 blocks from ground zero, in 1985. "
Is four blocks safe enough? Or twelve? How far away do Moslems have to go to satisfy ignorant yahoos who think this is a building to celebrate Moslem victory over America? Who basically blame Muhammad and all his followers for the attack on the WTC? Who are eager to stir up trouble so they can get more votes in November? Who think the entire Islamic religion is an enemy of our country? That by the way is about a billion plus people. From a couple dozen different countries with different traditions.
It is not a dozen and a half deluded fanatics who think America will be crushed by bringing down the symbol of our financial trading power.They may have been Moslems, but they did not represent Islam.
And there were Moslem businessmen in the twin towers and they also died when those buildings came down.
Don't they deserve some respect?
Folks, the Burlington coat factory is not hallowed ground. It was a goddam industrial site. The proposed community center is a place for the growing community of people who follow Islam to gather. You're afraid they are going to preach hate there? What's to keep them from preaching hate, if they want to, in the existing mosques, or in their homes or in rented halls. And who are they, exactly? All the Moslems in Lower Manhattan? Some of them? Do we know which ones?
By the way, the mosque closest to the WTC site is the more conservative one. Been there for a while. But the asshat Republican politicians and commentators seem to have not noticed. Perhaps there is not any political hay to be gathered from trying to displace existing houses of worship.
I misspoke when I said "asshat Republicans." they aren't the only ones. Sure, Eric Cantor, he of the "yeah we have religious liberty in this country, but c'mon!" and John Baynor who, ahem, believes in religious liberty but thinks the Moslems should still build a mosque somewhere else, are Republicans. Where is somewhere else , by the way, north of Canal Street? North of Houston Street? North of Canada?
Back to asshats— Harry Reid, Democrat, has also joined the "Sure I believe in religious liberty, but building a mosque there would hurt our feelings" crowd. He thinks he has to do this to ensure victory over one of the Right's major wingnuts, Sharon Angle. Well he is in Nevada. There is Las Vegas and Reno, both full of people with distorted visions of reality, distorted by desire for riches and excitement—they don't think. And outside of those two places there are scattered bunches of renegade Mormons and survivalist freaks with automatic weapons. They think but shouldn't.
Lest you think I am throwing a lot of innocent and decent people under the bus—I know there are a lot of other decent and thoughtful people in Nevada who lead normal lives. We even have some of those in Massachusetts. I exaggerate for effect and emphasis.
I'm a curmudgeon. It's part of the job description.
I just hope they don't send Sharon Angle to Washington.
Massachusetts sent Scott Brown to the Senate, so stupidity is possible anywhere.
Where was I? Oh yeah, some other Dems have also felt the need to jump on this political ice-cream wagon. they should all be ashamed of themselves.
Here is the first amendment, just in case you forgot:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
"…make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"
The weakness in this amendment is that it doesn't say "the mob shall not…etcetery."
What you have been seeing on the web and TV is the mob. They talk of the "Ground Zero mosque". That it's not on Ground Zero doesn't seem to matter. That it is primarily a community center doesn't seem to matter. That most Moslems in America are, well, Americans, doesn't seem to matter.
Folks, the First Amendment is clear— we all, Christians, Jews, Moslems, Zoroastrians, peyote-smoking Native Americans, even Scientologists, have the right to worship when and where we want to without interference.
The First Amendment doesn't say "unless we are scared of (your bogeyman here) or "if it hurts our sensibilities."
It says we have the right to worship (or not worship) when and where we please.
If you don't defend this, you are betraying a basic American ideal.
That's just the way it is.