Sunday, August 15, 2010

To Mosque or Not to Mosque: Political Crapola in America

We should all know the background: mosque organizers wish to build a mosque and community center two blocks away from ground zero in New York. Sounds simple, doesn't it? However, it is interesting to see the roles that the democrats/liberals and republicans/conservatives have taken on this issue.

Extremist democrats and liberals, the usual caretakers of sensitivity and respect for people (but keeping religion out of things -- right?) are championing the religious freedom of our heritage. Strange, isn't it, that the group that is IMO the biggest threat to free speech in the U.S. is now suddenly concerned with the rights of a religious group?

Extremist republicans and conservatives, the usual caretakers of freedom of speech and other rights (and infusing religion into things -- right?) are now the ones concerned about sensitivity and the affect this will have on people. This group is now touchy-feely and concerned with people as opposed to rights?

Of course, I have made broad simplifications here of which I am sure people on both sides of the political spectrum could take issue. I an not naive to some of the the underlying issues and politics here. It is no secret that politically I am to the right of center. My view is that the extremists are the cause of many of the country's problems. One nation, two completely different ways of viewing the world. The more things can be closer to the center, the more that might actually get accomplished. We are nowhere near that. We are a divided country in the middle of terrible problems. Unfortunately, our politicians can't work together to get us out of these messes.

But what about the mosque? Is is too hard to see the viewpoint that building it that close to ground zero seems offensive? It may not make sense to some that it would be offensive, but offensive things don't always have to follow perfect logic. They are ofttimes built on feelings.

On the other hand, what about our religious freedom for which we thump our collective chests? Shouldn't that freedom reign supreme despite the sensitivity of others?

The best opinion I have seen about this is by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. He has said much of what I would like to in a more intelligent way. Of course, people have already begun their bashing of his piece.

The answer to this dilemma, to me, seems to be: yes, the organizers have the right to build the mosque and community center there, but out of respect they should not. Build it somewhere else. This religious building will become a structure that breeds hate. We already have too much hate in this country and in our world.

So there it is. Any extremist liberals out there who think I am a bigot are welcome to do so. It is what they do when they can't fathom why someone would think differently than them. And any extremist conservatives out there who would see me as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) -- whatever. I have been called that before when I sought reasonable solutions to modern problems.

Time for me to get back to more local issues. Will Blago walk free? Will Illinois go broke? Geez -- now I am depressed ...


Blogger KenP said...

A short time back I wrote about gay marriage. I could substitute the mosque and it'd be the same article.

The world has become tribal in nature. Views are structured and channeled. Flexibility suffers.

I understand and agree with where the President is coming from. His remarks contained nothing I'd argue against. But, the firestorm it generated is also something I can understand.

Krauthammer's article is about reason and consideration. That it is ignored goes with the times. I don't think even Solomon could solve this one.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Hey Lightning. I actually live very close to the WTC, and I have been thinking about this topic a lot. At this point, I've sided for the mosque, and I can only think of one reason against it, albeit it is a pretty huge reason.

The only acceptable reason that I can think of to be anti-mosque is the argument that to the terrorists and terrorist sympathizers, the lesson is "Destroy a Western building and a Mosque will grow from the ashes." That's a pretty dangerous message to send. It also is religion-neutral.

Still, in the end, we are a nation that was founded upon religious freedom. Being Muslim or attending mosque is not illegal. Building a mosque is not illegal. So, then, why should the mosque be blocked?

Another thing worth noting: the mosque is not at the WTC. In fact, most people will never even stumble upon the mosque if they are visiting the WTC. It's "two blocks away" but the "two blocks" are in a direction where there isn't much going on, and "two blocks" in NYC can be a completely different neighborhood. If the mosque was across the street from the WTC, I'd feel differently. But two blocks away? Far enough for me.

One last thought: I don't mind the arguments that the mosque may be a front or is funded by terrorist institutions, but if that is the true argument, then it is not an issue about building a mosque, but rather allowing a terrorist organization to operate in the US. And if that is really the issue, then there must be proof somewhere of the terrorist ties, in which case, that should be brought to light, instead of the hypotheticals that currently exist.

4:04 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Yeah, there are so many other agendas and fears going on here that it is really a complex situation. I don't know how I'd feel if either I lived in NYC or knew someone who died on 9/11.

Unfortunately, no honest discussion will ever take place on this issue. It is sad that there are such deep divisions within the USA.

4:12 PM  
Blogger PokahDave said...

This blog may clear things up a bit for you guys....

11:18 AM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

My brother is looking for investors. he wants to open a Memphis-style barbeque joint next to the Ground Zero mosque and fill the place with the smell of smoking pork ribs!

5:44 PM  

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