I was hoping the idiocy surrounding the so-called Ground Zero Mosque (more accurately known as the Cordoba House or Park51 Islamic Center) would blow over once Obama made his statements in support of it and freedom of religion in general. That was naive. I favor the building of the Islamic community center because I believe we should never be in the business of telling any group where and when they can practice their faith. I just read this NY Times article which quotes some more idiocy from the pols which I feel the need to address.
Firstly, Senator Harry Reid begins with doublespeak that would make Orwell proud. He says (through an aide):
“The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else.“
I’m curious, what does Senator Reid think freedom of religion is? Freedom to practice one’s faith over there? As long as it’s ‘not in my backyard?’ Really, Reid, I wonder how you have the nerve to call yourself an American. Shameful.
Here’s the second fool, this time from the GOP:
“Ground zero is hallowed ground to Americans,” Elliott Maynard, a Republican trying to unseat Representative Nick J. Rahall II, a Democrat, in West Virginia’s Third District, said in a typical statement. “Do you think the Muslims would allow a Jewish temple or Christian church to be built in Mecca?”
Maynard, are Muslim-Americans not entitled to the same rights as you? When you say “Americans,” are you speaking only of a White-European-Christian America? Well, I hate to burst your imbecilic bubble but America isn’t your Christian-white-male fantasy porn nation the GOP wishes it was. Many Muslims were killed in the September 11th attacks. Why then isn’t Ground Zero a hallowed place for Muslims too? Surely, you don’t believe that 1,000,000,000 people (the number of Muslims in the world) are represented by 19 airline hijackers. That would be like saying all American students want to shoot up their classmates after the tragedy in Virginia.
But the real winner this evening is the perennial spewer of idiocy, Newt Gingrich:
Mr. Gingrich showed no sign of backing down on Monday. “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington,” Mr. Gingrich said on the Fox News program “Fox and Friends.” “We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There’s no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.”
The problem here is that Newt’s analogy is flawed. He is not saying that Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum, but instead he would be suggesting that any German should be denied from doing so. Certainly we can say terrorists don’t have the right to worship near ground zero. But that’s not what the opponents are saying. What they do instead is more heinous. They conflate Islam with terrorism. To say a mosque is offensive simply because of its location is to say that the very notion of Islam is offensive. And that rejects the basic assumption of the freedom of religion in this country, but it also, when you get down to it, and strip away all the rhetoric, is nothing more than fucking racism.
Come on. Let’s call it what it is.
This is the type of religion-bashing, people-hating insanity that predated the Holocaust in Germany. When you suggest that an entire people are not welcome simply because they are different, that they must move elsewhere, well that’s not the all-accepting country I learned about in elementary school, and not one I’m very proud of right now.