"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances." President Obama
Damn! There's that inconvenient First Amendment thing cropping up again as American citizens attempt to exercise their Constitutional right to build a mosque on privately held ground two blocks from "Ground Zero."
Of course the fact that 9/11 was masterminded by al Qaeda and not all Muslims is lost on the likes of Mark Williams, a spokesman for the Tea Party, who declared that the center would be used for "terrorists to worship their monkey god."
Nice well-educated guy, huh? (Gee, Mark, I'm white - does that mean that I represent the KKK, Nazis, elderly men in plaid golf pants? Do you?)
One father, Herbert Ouida, whose son died in the devastation of the attacks on the World Trade Center, supports the plans. "I'm very much in favor of religious tolerance. I don't believe that the 19 people who flew those planes, and the people who supported them, represent Islam."
Colleen Kelly (whose brother Bill Kelly Jr. was killed in the attacks) told The Associated Press that she believes that the mosque is "in many ways a fitting tribute. This is the voice of Islam that I believe needs a wider audience. This is what moderate Islam is all about."
Two wise and patriotic people who have experienced unimaginable loss and still retain their sanity.
But what strange and terrifying illness is besetting America? Apparently Ignorant Generalization and Bigotry Syndrome is our newest and most pernicious plague: one that may well be the instrument of our demise. (And you thought H1N1 was scary?)
Immigrants, gays, Muslims, liberals, pro-choicers, tree-huggers - these are the new blacks (it's rather poor form to whack-the-blacks at this point and so the Righteous Right must find a new cause célèbre). How delicious for them that they can use a tragedy that spawned worldwide conflict, draconian "homeland security" Bushisms and a whole new world of people to hate in order to feed their xenophobic paranoia. This is the stuff that feeds the rapacious appetites of the Limbaughs, Becks, Palins and others.
Ignorant Generalization and Bigotry Syndrome (IGBS) is rampaging throughout the land and depriving the populace of both sense and sensibility. For those who fear that they may suffer from this debilitating illness, the symptoms are as follows:
1. Knee-jerk head-nodding when listening to bloviating media gad-flys who seek only to line their own pockets by rabid flag-waving and hate-mongering.
2. Joining the "Christians good - other people bad" school of Homer Simpsonesque "logic".
3. Pigging out at the Pick-and-Choose buffet line of Constitutional adherence.
4. Finding yourself chanting, "Take back America" without ever wondering who the hell you're taking it back from.
Like it or not, Mark and your brethren, this is a country of diversity: the much-vaunted Melting Pot. I expect that you adore the "Bush Doctrines." The rest of the world gasped in horror when he broke the universal "Prime directive" and bleated these words: "The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction - and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack." (By the way, Mark, supporters of so-called "preventive war" include the Posadist Communists, who argued for war to destroy capitalism).
Those who breed hatred corrode the foundation of democracy - and to do so with a bible in one hand and a flag in the other is the height of hypocrisy.
Now, when a mosque is to be built - a house of prayer within walking distance of Ground Zero - instead of acknowledging the peaceful intentions of the majority of Islam (the world's second largest religion with 1.57 billion adherents, making up 23% of the world population) some spew venom and speak of a "monkey god"?
Is the project in "good taste"? In that I have yet to be crowned as Grand Poobah of Taste in America my opinion is irrelevant. The simple fact is that to deny the legal right to build a mosque in this location is a clear violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. Will others shriek at me because I have dared to voice my thoughts on this? That's pretty much guaranteed. (The poor First takes quite a bashing these days, doesn't it?).
Perhaps what is most needed in the area around Ground Zero are synagogues, mosques, temples, churches, meetinghouses, halls and other structures of religion. (Toss in a place for agnostics and atheists to gather if they so choose). Now that would be a fitting tribute to both the American Constitution and the world's desperate need for tolerance, understanding and sanity.