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In a free nation, religious freedom is essential

By DOUG THOMPSON
August 16, 2010

Mosque protester: A threat to religious freedom

It’s ironic that a country founded, in large part, on the concept of religious freedom is now divided sharply over the practice of that freedom.

The politically-manufactured controversy over announced plans to build a mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center is so contrived that the truth is buried in hyperbole, misinformation and outright lies.

If you believe the bombastic Newt Gingrich, the plans call for a mosque to be built “on” the site. In fact, the mosque is proposed on private property in the vicinity of the site and can’t even be seen from ground zero.

Even worse, Republicans — the party controlled by the rabid religious right-wing — have turned comments by President Barack Obama into a p0litical zoo.

Last week, Obama said religious freedom — the freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution — gives Muslims the right to to build a mosque anywhere they want as long as they own the land and have the proper permits.

That’s all he said. He didn’t say he supports the plan. He just said he supports religious freedom.

That simple statement opened the door for nutcases, political opportunists and others to turn the matter into a distracting controversy that has little to do with truth and everything to do with the root problem with current political debate in this country.

As in war, truth is the first casualty of politics. Gingrich, whose pronouncements long ago turned into verbal diarrhea, led the GOP charge away from the truth and into the morass of political fear-mongering.

The basic problem here is that the political fanatics who milk matters to their advantage equate Islam with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In fact, Islam had nothing to do with the attacks. A lot of Muslims died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The attacks were planned and directed by a religious fanatic who twisted the Islam faith to serve his own terrorist agenda.

Religious fanatics have always misquoted their faiths to serve their needs. Klansmen quote the bible to rationalize their bigotry. Pat Robertson bastardizes Christianity to attempt to justify his shameless claims that natural disasters are “God’s will” and punishment for sinners. The late Jerry Falwell misused religion in a laughable attempt to legitimize his homophobia.

American Presidents have declared war and killed in the name of God. George W. Bush claimed his fanatical foray into Iraq was done because God wanted him to do it.

If you don’t accept Barack Obama’s statement that religious freedom gives Muslims the right to erect a mosque in downtown Manhattan then you don’t accept one of the basic tenets of America.

Freedom is not, and cannot be, selective. Blocking construction of a mosque is a threat to the freedoms that once defined this nation. If it is blocked, we will become the tyrants that our forefathers founded this country to defy.

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26 Responses to In a free nation, religious freedom is essential

  1. griff

    August 16, 2010 at 8:33 am

    The U.S. Constitution? What the hell is that? Are you making things up again, Doug?

  2. Guardhouse lawyer

    August 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Two words, Doug:

    THANK YOU!

  3. NC-Tom

    August 16, 2010 at 10:19 am

    High unemployment, jobs being off shored, the end of the American dream for millions, 1 in 8 people on food stamps, tent cities springing up across the country, millions of houses underwater or in foreclosure, and the hot button issue for this election looks like it is going to be a Muslim religious center being built too close to one of the 9/11 sites. Frigging politically brilliant! Neither party has any real ideas how to fix the real and major problems we face so they manufacture some B/S controversy to whip up the voters.

    A quick google search shows something like 11 mosques/islamic centers in the general area, and Muslim praying has been done at one of the other 9/11 sites namely the Pentagon.
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/05/muslims_infiltrate_pentagon

    It is amazing how easily the American people can be distracted by a little political tinsel. It truly is embarrassing.

    • Guardhouse lawyer

      August 16, 2010 at 10:24 am

      No, this is just a tempest in a tea party pot. It will be forgotten in a week or two, just like the tea party.

  4. Keith

    August 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    The 911 bombings were the direct result of religious fanaticism.

    Likewise, this current ruckus is being perpetuated by a similar group of hard-line religious nut cases in our country who still believe that anyone who worships a God that is somehow different than their own is “evil” and must be eliminated at all costs.

    I often wonder how much better off the world would be if we didn’t have to deal with ALL forms of religious intolerance and fanaticism…. including the “home grown” variety.

  5. Bogofree

    August 16, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Ruby Ridge. Government is selective on the nut jobs.

  6. Carl Nemo

    August 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Granted we have Constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom in this country, but for developers to be so hellbent on building a mosque close to this national tragedy is tasteless and surely outrageous for many area residents and across the nation. It seems Islamists want to rub our collective noses in their deep-rooted love affair with ‘holy jihad’. That’s how Mohammed the ‘Prophet’ launched this religion via the sword, sweeping east and west out of the sands out of the Middle East. You either embraced the religion or lost your head. Yep, it surely sounds like a bunch of gentle, god-loving, peaceniks to me.

    Post 9/11 I haven’t heard many, if any Muslim religious leaders speak out against radical jihad against the U.S. There’s a disconerting silence on their behalf.

    So they build the mosque and within a few years or less there’s another bombing linked to jihadists and/or their U.S. based sympathizers who have links to this newly built mosque; ie., their religious gathering place or watering hole, then what? Britain has an egalitarian view towards the building of mosques etc. Many of the bombing plots successful or otherwise have been linked to the mosques where the young lions of jihad can scheme their attacks on Britain and the West in general.

    As one of our contributors said yesterday; what about a Japanese war memorial for those killed in their attack on Pearl Harbor. Say what?!
    Granted a war memorial is not a place of worship, but it demonstrates that which is tasteless and anathema to our society.

    Personally I’d like to see the tax exempt status of all churches and purveyors of religion yanked. Nowadays preachers, priests, mullahs, rabbies and leaders of many backwater cults and sects enjoy such status while preaching politics from the pulpit, lectern or an orange crate which is a no-no per the tax code.
    Of course none of them are being challenged since its a hot button political issue. The founders of this nation surely didn’t foresee the income tax or abuses of the tax code as in our times or how religions would be turned into huge money-making scams as they have in our times with seemingly one in particular linked to so much death and tragedy worldwide in these times.

    We are now suffering the end times effect of terminal corruption in our government and religious leaders along with a lack of values and common sense among our citizenry with us seemingly headed the same path as the as the dodo bird; ie, extinction as a nation.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • griff

      August 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      There was a brief time when the three major religions shared the “Holy Land” in relative peace and harmony, but history is replete with all religions killing in the name of their god(s). It doesn’t seem to jibe with the actual teachings though, does it?

      Politics ain’t the only place where hypocrisy is rampant. Actually our partisan political system is very much like a religion. I’m sure many of the followers would kill the “non-believers” if given the chance.

      I would agree that this shows a bit of disrespect, if you were to believe the official story, any way. I don’t.

    • Guardhouse lawyer

      August 16, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      “Post 9/11 I haven’t heard many, if any Muslim religious leaders speak out against radical jihad against the U.S. There’s a disconerting(sic) silence on their behalf.”

      You have not been listening:

      htt p://ww w. jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=169949

      htt p://althouse. blogspot.com/2010/07/now-9-influential-american-muslim.html

      htt p://w ww.newsweek.com/2010/02/11/the-jihad-against-the-jihadis.html

      htt p://ww w.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm

      htt p://ww w.unc.edu/~kurzman/terror.htm

      • Carl Nemo

        August 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm

        Hi GHL,

        I tried to fetch every link. It either came back this CHB article as the source or failed to locate the material. I even accommodated for the slight spacing error on the http addressing; ie.no space between the last t and p prior to the colon // and then I came up with nothing, a dead end addy.

        Rest assured I don’t just flip you off everytime you write something. Maybe you can clarify the problem with the links.

        Yes, I have listened to “interviews” with Moslem clerics, but only when someone reaches down the ‘rabbit hole’ and drags them out by their necks. Then they’ll claim they are against the horrors of jihad etc., but Bill Bennett said recently on his show, even he wasn’t impressed due their lack of enthusiasm; ie., a “fire in the belly” response to such deadly jihadist activities. Then again Islam is dangerous in itself because anyone that gets too critical of the religion or its leaders, even cartoonists and writers such as Rushdie are likely to have a fatwah issued by some Grand Mullah with life-threatening implications against them.

        Anyway thanks for the feedback and links. Maybe you can get me straightened out on the addressing.

        Carl Nemo **==

  7. neondog

    August 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Nothing new here:
    RepubliCons have sought political advantage by making Democrats defend their support of ostracized minorities (blacks, gays, hispanics, etc.etc.) since the 40’s. The sad part of the story is that it does seem to help get RepubliCons elected.

  8. Carl Nemo

    August 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    “I would agree that this shows a bit of disrespect, if you were to believe the official story, any way. I don’t.” …extract from post

    I don’t believe the official story either Griff, but with respect for our site host’s wishes, I don’t discuss alternative “theories” concerning 9/11.

    These societal conflicts such as the placement of the mosque along with all the angst associated with such are for pedestrian thinkers, but these are the realities of society; ie., the unholy alliance between the churches and state along with a population of captive, tax-burdened, MSM brainwashed citizens. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

    • griff

      August 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm

      I have no theories of my own, mind you. I just know that the official version of events (a conspiracy theory itself) is full of holes.

  9. DejaVuAllOver

    August 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I’m with you, Griff. And most of the rest of the world is, too.

  10. Howard Hirsch

    August 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    There’s no question the Mosque is legal. Tasteless, yes. If I only had a button I could push to get rid of everything tasteless in this country, my oh my where would I start.

    1. Pro wrestling.
    2. ANY news coverage about Oily Tates (sic) (very sick), Paris Hilton, Rush Limbaugh and all of Fox news, Lindsey Lohan, Mel Gibson (and everything he does and doesn’t do), Opra Winfrey, fast food, 99% of what you see on T.V., the list is endless.

    I’m waiting for a gay/lesbian center to open opposite the Morman Church.

    • Carl Nemo

      August 16, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      My my Howard you surely are an intolerant man… ; )

      Carl Nemo **==

      • logtroll

        August 17, 2010 at 7:52 pm

        I cain’t seem to git my little old brain around why it is even tasteless? They didn’t have anything to do with 911, what they want to do is eminently legal, and it’s two freekin’ blocks away from ground zero. How gol-durned sensitive are you Islamo-bigots, anyway?

  11. Warren

    August 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Religion or Culture?

    Hard to distinguish. They influence each other, sometimes greatly. But there is a difference.

    I’ve spent my career working in mostly global tech companies. That means frequently working side-by-side with different people of different religions and cultures. My observation is that religion, to the extent that it can be separated from culture, does not have much to do with how well I get along with someone, or how much I respect him/her, or how talented he/she is. I’ve found myself liking many Muslims.

    On the other hand culture, to the extent that it can be separated from religion, sometimes has quite a bit to do with my ability to appreciate another person. There are cultural traits that become incorporated into a person’s character. Some of them I don’t get, and frankly don’t like. Example: If I’m working with a Pakistani I’m initially on the lookout for some ruthless duplicity; at least until I get to know the person.

    My point in the above is that religion doesn’t determine the character of a person nearly as much as culture.

    I could go on at length. This issue could be its own thread.

    —W—

  12. D Rich

    August 16, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Actually, if you check the facts, it isn’t even a mosque, it is a community center. The right-wing blogosphere blew it up into a mosque.

    • Carl Nemo

      August 17, 2010 at 12:43 am

      Hi D Rich,

      Actually the developers are seeking approval for an Islamic Community Center and Mosque. It seems they are seeking “bang for the buck” an old defense establishment term in terms of site permits; ie, a twofer… / : |

      http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/mosque-near-ground-zero-clears-key-hurdle/

      The hopeful construction activity is approximately two blocks from 9/11 ground zero.

      Carl Nemo **==

  13. Bill

    August 17, 2010 at 2:33 am

    well, if they build the mosque, perhaps the next time some muslim hijacks a plane and drives it into a NYC building they will miss and hit the mosque. Of course then everyone would blame the Jews for instigating this muslim mass mayhem, so we should just eliminate the middle men and have some west bank religious fanatic drive a bomb filled bus into the mosque.

    Seriously, who cares where the muslims build a mosque. They’ll pump one hundred million dollars into NYC’s faltering economy. That’s the good news.
    The bad news is that NYC will spend tens of millions of dollars into providing security for this mosque.

  14. Guardhouse lawyer

    August 17, 2010 at 11:34 am

    What I want to know is what Neut would do if he were President, which he so desperately wants to be?

    What Presidential power would he wield to prevent the construction of the offending building? It is so damned easy for him and all the others to throw stones, but what on earth can Obama, or any other President, do? Besides thump his or her fist on the bully pulpit, which certainly would make the divide between Islam and Christianity worse. I will never forget my horror when I heard Bush say just after 9/11 that the US would go on a crusade to stop the terror. Talk about having NO clue as to the sensitivities involved.

    • Carl Nemo

      August 17, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      “I will never forget my horror when I heard Bush say just after 9/11 that the US would go on a crusade to stop the terror. Talk about having NO clue as to the sensitivities involved.” …extract from post

      I concur GHL and he was all to quick to do so which raised a “yellow flag” alert that the whole thing was engineered in order to pump the MIC’s bottom line again…as usual. H.W. ‘poppy’ Bush’s Gulf War I was an engineered shakedown too for the benefit of the MIC and his business associates with the “Carlyle Group”.

      Even more tasteless is about three weeks after 911, George W. Bush and a bunch of executives representing America’s major corporations ran commercials urging people to “git back to shoppin’ agin”… / : |

      At least they were aired in my area on the West coast. So to me it demonstrated the metric as to what they think of the people of this nation; ie, simply terminally indebted ‘feedlot animals’ whose sole purpose in life is to consume in order to enrich the “wealthy class” and to never question anything that they foist upon us.

      Carl Nemo **==

      • griff

        August 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm

        As a former boss was apt to say…”gotta make hay while the sun’s shinin’.”