That Damned Mosque

It seems that just about everything I read coming out of the mouths of Republicans these day sounds so self-serving, so weaselly, so obnoxious, that I get only the sense that whatever they are saying boils down to one thing, and one thing only – “Vote Republican this November”. I never feel that when they speak, they are trying to voice an honestly held opinion, or are trying to relay facts they believe their constituents and the American people need to have to understand the great issues they are grappling with on a day to day basis. I also get the distinct sense that when their lips are moving I can be assured that they are, in fact, lying. Jaw movement and sound is all I need to confirm prevarication and falsehood.

This recent bullshit with the Islamic mosque supposedly being built in the “shadow” of the World Trade Center (which clearly doesn’t throw a shadow anymore, and even if it did, it would throw one across, and thereby disqualify, most of lower Manhattan, depending on the time of day) is a case in point. One of the lies being bandied about is that it is being built on “hallowed ground” (gotta resist the tug of the old heartstrings). No, it’s an old Burlington Coat Factory building, two blocks away (in that shadow, again). Gettysburg was hallowed ground. The Burlington Coat Factory building is not.

One of my favorite (*cough*) Republicans, Newt Gingrich, seems to think that we should not allow the mosque in New York if Saudi Arabia doesn’t allows Christians to build a few churches there. As John Stewart reacted, “Why should we as Americans have higher standards of religious liberty than Saudi Arabia. It makes no sense!” And John Cornyn (R-Texas) feels that it’s “unwise” to build the mosque so close to the area where 19 Islamic terrorists ended 3000 lives (which may be arguable, but beside the point).

My problem with this attitude is that now Republicans are going to use the issue as a political football, inciting Islamophobia in the hopes that it will propel voters to help them recapture Congress and, maybe in two years, the White House. The cynicism of such a strategy is gag inducing.

“The president supports a mosque at ground zero led by a man who blamed America for 9/11, his top intelligence official preaches the true meaning of jihad, and his attorney general can’t even say the words ‘radical Islam,'” said Michael Goldfarb, an adviser to Keep America Safe. “You start to worry they don’t understand who the enemy is, and so Republicans might understandably feel like they have to spell it out for them.”

Yes. Great idea! Let’s scare the crap out of people (after all, the Republican Party is now the party of “fear” and “no”) by perpetually reminding them of the events of 9/11, tarring every Muslim with the actions of a few extremists, so that they can be elected to office, in order to pick up where they left off when Bush was in the White House.

President Obama, however, has made it clear that this is an issue, fundamental to the Constitution of this country, that cannot be compromised, and he’s right. It doesn’t matter if the decision on the part of the Muslims is wise, they have a right under the First Amendment to buy land, open a mosque and worship their vicious, fairy tale Allah all they want, wherever they want. And it’s not Obama’s decision, one way or the other, that can change that, though Republicans are planning to place this football squarely on his doorstep, and ask him to kick it.

Those same Republicans who one day try to convince us that there is no such thing as separation of Church and State, are now upset with Obama because he won’t trample on the First Amendment, in effect expecting him to use the State to tell Church what it can or cannot do. Oh, the irony. Of course, these same Republicans believe we are a Christian nation, so perhaps it’s understandable that they feel threatened by a mosque.

It seems to me that the 535 politicians that make up Congress, while disagreeing about a lot of things – budgets, wars, defense, security, etc – should be able to agree on something so basic to the Constitution of the United States, and what it means. I know that sometimes varied and arcane interpretations of the Constitution can be the stuff of lawsuits, but those are resolved by the Courts. In Congress, the basic jurisprudence involving the Separation of Church and State has been resolved for hundreds of years. If it hasn’t, why don’t we tax churches? Because the separation of Church and state is so fundamental, so entrenched in out collective identity, as to be all but inarguable.

But, apparently, not when there’s an election at stake.

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33 thoughts on “That Damned Mosque

  1. It’s clear who the enemy is. It’s them. I know it’s cliche´, but damn, all they’re missing are the brown shirts. I believe tea bags can make for a brown dye, though.

  2. I did a post on this yesterday that I hope you find interesting.

    This past Saturday, I did something that few people who have commented on the issue have bothered to do, I actually visited the location in person.

    Yes, the proposed community center/mosque is quite close the WTC site, but “Ground Zero” is not visible from the building that will house the center. There are two much larger buildings that stand in the way. There’s also a bar next to the proposed location of the center called the Dakota Roadhouse and on the next block over is a strip club that would be facing the rear entrance of the Cordoba House if it has one.

    One thing that the owner of the property mentioned is that until last year, some 1,500 Muslims would attend Friday prayer services at a mosque on Warren Street, which is just 4 blocks north of “Ground Zero.” All that time, no one seemed to notice or care, but building a community & prayer center two blocks away is supposed to constitute a national crisis.

    • Nice, Tommy. Good to see we have a reporter on the ground, so to speak. 😉

      I left a comment, but in reading it, now have to apologize for being so strident. The issue is beginning to piss me off. I need a beer, or a massage. Or both.

  3. I would rather split the property between a science center AND a strip joint. But to reiterate what Philly wrote, they own the property and what we would rather see there doesn’t matter.

  4. If people don’t want to see a mosque in lower Manhattan, then they should walk on a different block. Here in Lexington, whenever the smell of lime Jell-O fills the air, I make it a point to avoid driving near a church.

    Still, there’s something about erecting an Allah store near the former site of the World Trade Center that’s similar to building a German biergarten — or a lampshade factory — across the street from Auschwitz. I’d fight for someone’s right to do that, but I’d think that he was an asshole with no sensitivity.

    Perhaps the proper test of the Muslims’ devotion to freedom of religion would be to see how well they’d tolerate a Mohammad cartoon emporium around the corner.

    • There’s a yahoo who’s looking into buying the space next door with the intent of making it a gay club which will cater to Muslim men. I think that’s great, only he’s taking that so literally that he won’t serve alcohol, so as amusing as it is, unless if he gets private funding to stay afloat, it’ll be a money pit for him.

      More lucrative ventures might be a sex toy shop, Jewish deli, Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, strip club (gay or straight), or just your regular ol’ gay bar. The mosque should be fully welcomed into the Melting Pot.

    • Perhaps since the hijackers were all men, we shouldn’t allow men within several blocks of the WTC in order to avoid offending… well… somebody. Perhaps a better analogy would be someone wanting to build a Christian church across the street from Auschwitz since the killers were Christians. But since the so-called mosque is apparently more a community and cultural center than a churchy deal, that analogy doesn’t hold up either. I think that if a fundogelical Islamist group wanted to build the thing there, then it might be legitimate to apply the ‘asshole with no sensitivity’ label. But ordinary Muslims, some of whom may have lost relatives and friends in the attack, who are just as good an American as anyone here, don’t deserve that.

      But I do think that the real insensitive assholes are the American politicians pushing the issue to garner votes, not because they have any real grounds. See Grumpy Lion today for where that’s taking us.

      It’s not about the Muslim’s devotion to freedom of religion. It’s about us.

      • Hey, Ricola, how’s it hangin’, bro? Fair to midland?

        Oh, and your intel is wrong on those hijackers, or, at least, seriously in doubt. Anyway, most thinking people aren’t swallowing the Bush Kool Aid, anymore, time to update, son.

        Also, while we’re in the business of correcting you, it wasn’t Christians that were killing Jews, it was Nazis and Zionists and apathetic infidels like yourself. Lie much? Hey… confession is good for the soul!

        I will agree, however, it was a bad idea wanting to build anything in front of the Ground Zero shrine. Myself, I think the site should be developed quickly so as not to lend itself toward providing an opportunity for the masses to commit idolatrous acts of venerating the dead, something a pagan culture leans to quite readily. There’s just something more appealing to an infidel about worshiping rotting corpses and their Harley Davidson than actually giving anything back to their Creator.

        You are right, also, about it not being about the Muslims, it’s about those “asshole American politicians” you spoke about, and the asshole Americans that enable them.


        • …it’s about those “asshole American politicians” you spoke about, and the asshole Americans that enable them.

          Spoken like a true Canadian. 8)

          • “Did you page down to the bottom of that article you cited to read this, Giddy?”

            John, every single accusation against the US Government has, in some way or another, been ‘debunked’ or so they would like us to think. It’s like when we argue religion, you guys always have something to say against what I say. Many of those arguments you present have evolved from failures in the past and will present a platform for future excuses when they, themselves, ultimately fail.

            The real instigators of 9/11; a war-mongering, money-mad cadre of elitist industrialists, bankers and politicians have the luxury of not only the support and confidence of a duped public, but, also, time. Just like with the infidel construct of life evolving over billions of years, if given enough time, so it’s said, anything is possible.

            It’s a given that sooner or later, the culprits will adapt some cockamamie theory to silence what common sense plainly knows… that it simply isn’t possible for what they said happened to happen. Just as common sense tells us that life spontaneously arriving from nothing and evolving to the complexity that it has, cannot happen. Not without help.

            That is only one site out of thousands of sites that question the “official” story. Any competent student of history knows that empires have risen and fallen on conspiracies, false-flag operations, deceit, corruption, espionage… and, above all, the ignorance and complacency of a duped citizenry. What, because it is now the 21st Century, these things no longer exist?

            Get real!

  5. I wouldn’t mind if some consortium bought out the Muslims and built a jazz club on the site. Music, booze, food, dancing – Philly could even have a section for his strippers.

  6. Well written. Absolutely.

    I wish we didn’t have any houses of worship anywhere. But since I’m not going to get that wish, I see no reason why one flavor of worship should be privileged over another–or over a music club or theater hosting one-act plays. The right of peaceable assembly for whatever purpose is sacrosanct and constitutional.

    Few things are as nauseating as watching fundamentalist Christians coming unhinged over the actions (or even presence) of fundamentalist Muslims. Perhaps it’s a little too close to home: The Christians were practicing brutal theocracy just a few hundred years ago, and if the the Dominionists had their way, they’d still be doing so.

  7. Pingback: Manhattan Islamic Center « An Apostate's Chapel

  8. Having the right to build the Islamic Community center is absolute. But does that make it smart? Having the right to say its a fucking ludicrous idea is absolute also.

  9. Curious as to how separation of church and state logically leads to not taxing them, whereas there are plenty of people basing policy on their religious convictions. How about a more effective separation of church and state: Tax religious organizations the same as everybody else and FINE anyone found to be imposing religious bias on policy.

  10. “… whereas there are plenty of people basing policy on their religious convictions.”

    Yup, that’s done all the time, like in your public school system, where you either go with the humanist view of origins or you fail… or, you risk losing tenure… or government funding… etc.

    “Tax religious organisations the same as everybody else…”

    Funny… I’m religious and I still pay taxes. Where do I get in on this tax-exempt bandwagon? Only organizations, you say? What are organizations but collections of individuals that are not tax-exempt? Let’s tax CARE and UNICEF. Many hospitals are welching on their responsibilities, too, let’s bring them to account!

    Are you using any tax exemptions or similar loopholes in your personal return or business, Lemmingski? You’re cheating the government out of much-needed revenue, particularly revenue that’s owed to private bankers, offshore, that actually own your government and… yes… dictate policy! Do your patriotic duty and pay in full! Set an example!

    John… using any tax exemptions or loopholes in your law business? Advising your clients on ways they can cheat the bankers out of their spoil?

    The pot gets blacker by the second, here, at Spanish Inquisitor!


  11. “Priests blow children while Muslims blow children up”

    And, don’t forget that many the infidel has also participated (and continues to participate) in lewd and disgusting crimes against children and babies, also!

    You’re kind of fixated on sexual matters, aren’t you, QF? Wasn’t it you that once described to me in tawdry detail what you and a hooker friend of yours do in your frequent leisure time? Didn’t it involve certain foodstuffs and condiments?

    I wonder just how far it is that any sexually aberrant behavior is from total depravity? Where is the line drawn between what is acceptable and what is not… or what it could possibly lead to, given enough time and the human penchant for justifying it? Certainly, without God’s moral law to govern humanity, even bizarre bedroom antics like those once described to me by a certain infidel could possibly, even inevitably… and please excuse the term… ‘evolve’ (devolve) into debauchery such as that involving children.

    I’m forgetting, though, that we don’t have a God, therefore, any reason for moral restraint, given that without God or His law, anything is permissible and/or possible!


  12. What I find quite demoralizing about the manufactured controversy over the “Ground-Zero Mosque” is how, in a nation founded on religious freedom, this is a genuinely divisive issue. It was with some dismay that I saw Howard Dean argue against the Park 51 development, but what really upset me was the initial statement by the humanist CFI.

    This should have been a simple matter: some fear-mongering activists put out deranged nonsense, we all have a good laugh, and it sinks without trace. But that didn’t happen. Even the President’s very sane and sensible comment failed to quell the anxiety.

    It’s a sad day when comedian Jon Stewart is the only public commentator I fully agree with. That happens all too frequently.

  13. Hi Gideon. Looking at your comment it seems to me that you’re comparing what two adult friends get up to with the sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of responsibility.

    Do you agree that there is a moral distinction between consensual and nonconsensual sex?

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