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August 17, 2010 / Candice

Mosques, Religious Freedom and Bullshit.

“You can’t sit here and be silent and go wrong to be popular anymore.” – Jason Lewis

When I’m stuck on a political problem I can almost always rely on Jason Lewis to give me some great insight. He’s kind of like that professor I had in college, Mr. Epps, he’s wise and usually provides me the “missing link” that gives me that “Ah HA! Yep.” feeling. The thing I’ve been struggling with this Cordoba House/Mosque at Ground Zero/Jihadi Recruitment Center/Muslim Community Center/Whatever you choose to call it, is that my problem doesn’t really lie in the fact that it’s proposed to be built 2 blocks from GZ (ground zero), while I do think it’s distasteful, there are not any laws in New York or New York City that forbid it from being built; my problem lies in the fact that we’re on the peak of a very slippery slope. Some on the Right are literally begging government bureaucracies to bend the ordinances and trample property laws to stop it. There’s also a growing Anti-Muslim sentiment in this country as a result. Both of those scare me so much more than a mosque two blocks from GZ.

Last night Jason Lewis made a great point about our current stance with Islam.

If, in fact, it is not possible [for a moderate Muslim to exist] why then, we should forget the pretext of freedom of religion and simply..simply demand a loyalty oath for all Muslims. I’m not being facetious here, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say on the one hand, “Well it’s possible to be a moderate Muslim” and then all of a sudden start carving out laws geared specifically for Islam. It does not comport with the New York Constitution, the United States Constitution, as we currently incorporate it, or most state constitutions. So the only other avenue, it seems to me, if you’re going to be legally and philosophically consistent is to simply say, “Well OK, but there’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim and therefore we must declare, in America, that Islam is not a religion, hence, it has no protection. And require loyalty oaths and…and maybe restrict immigration based on religion, what have you. I…I don’t know any other solution to this, I really don’t. […If the GZM Imam’s condemnation of terrorism and the community support isn’t good enough] I’m not all together certain that we shouldn’t just spare the platitudes of our religious freedom and we just ought to simply declare that we’re going to have religious freedom for certain faiths in this country but we’re not going to include all of them and move on. Jason Lewis Show 8/16/2010 2nd Hour

Obviously I totally agree with Jason here. We cannot, as a nation, insist on supporting religious freedom while denying a religion the same rights and protection as others. Our country was founded on the belief that you are free to practice which ever religion you choose, just so long as it doesn’t harm me. Don’t even throw out the “but 9/11 was caused by Muslim extremists…” I know this, but that doesn’t mean every Muslim is a fucking terrorist. Just because one Christian shoots up an abortion clinic doesn’t mean that every Christian is going to go shoot up an abortion clinic. Look, we gathered up hundreds of thousands of Japanese after Pearl Harbor to “protect ourselves”, turns out, they didn’t support Japan’s attack on our country. *Shock* Now there are many in this country who would really love to do that with Muslims. In fact, I know for a fact that there are people in this country who are so intolerant of Islam that they wouldn’t bat an eye if we gathered them all up and shipped them back to wherever they came from.

Doug Mataconis posted a quote on his blog this morning that is a perfect reminder of where we are supposed to stand, as a country, on the issue of religion:

It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
– Thomas Jefferson, 1792, Notes On The State Of Virginia

The problem here folks, isn’t simply the anti-Islam sentiment in NYC. We have political figures, most notoriously Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, who have chimed in with their two measly cents. It’s done nothing but ignite a firestorm of national debate and fuel more anti-Islamic rhetoric. It’s been discussed that the anti-muslim rage isn’t solely in NYC nor is it only about the Mosque. There are mosques being protested all over the country and they are far, far away from the “hallowed ground” of Ground Zero.

My concern is, where does it end? First it’s Islam, next will it be Buddism, followed by Judaism and Christianity? I mean, lets be fucking reasonable here. You cannot just pick and choose which religion is protected under the 1st amendment. It really is an all or none. (No, fucktards, this does not make it possible for you to be allowed to make human sacrifices.) You either have freedom or slavery. There is no middle ground. NONE. I know there are a TON of people will who disagree with my view here, but I don’t care. I will not sacrifice my liberty to set a precedence for more nit-picking of religious freedom. If that’s what you choose, so be it, but do NOT ever talk to me about how you support the 1st amendment, because you can’t support it conditionally. Sorry, it just doesn’t work like that.

At this point, this topic nearly makes my head explode. I cannot fathom the level of hypocrisy and blatant bigotry that I’m seeing on a daily basis. It’s another example of “Well, it’s fine for us, but not for you” that many Americans are so fond of. It makes me sick. But let’s call a spade a spade here, you want a Holy War against Islam. Fine. Take on Islam with your little crusade. Cash out your 401k, gather an army and go fight your war.

But you won’t. You’ll just post another blog post about how upset you are that Muslims are allowed the same freedoms as everyone else.

The rest of us will simply attempt to preserve our liberty, the best we can, to ensure everyone in this country is granted the same freedoms that we demand, regardless of their religion, sex, race, or political affiliation.

Now, for a little bit of humor. Jon Stewart NAILED IT last night (Yep, that’s what she said!!) on The Daily Show.

You have to click this giant link because I can’t embed the video because I’m too unemployed to afford to buy my own domain which would allow me to embed such a video. So, in short, just click the damn link.

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8 Comments

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  1. Rickity Cricket / Aug 17 2010 3:13 pm

    I agree with your post 100%. While it is distasteful there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to build there.

    Also, domain names are pretty cheap. politicallycandice.com is $11.44/year from godaddy.com. You can also put ads on your site so that you make some money too.

  2. Shelley / Aug 17 2010 3:13 pm

    VERY good READ!!!! And I’m all for their “right” to build their mosque it just shows how classless and tasteless these Muslims are for building their mosque (house of hatred) so close to ground zero. Fox News reported a while back that the Catholic Church that was destroyed on 9/11 STILL has not been given permission to rebuild yet…the Port Authority has given them delay after delay!!! Any ideology that treats women like that… OH BOY don’t get me started….can not be trusted!!!! I agree with you that not every Muslim should bear the burden of guilt for the 9/11 attack. The sooner Muslims stop demonizing every group that rejects Islam or has a differing opinion, the better it will be for all Islams!!

    I am very conflicted with this group of people because what would they do if I showed up at their Mosque in my strapless dress praying the Rosary?? I value religious freedom but there were no German monuments of Hitler erected outside of the death camps.

    POOR TASTE!!!

    • Candice / Aug 17 2010 3:34 pm

      Believe me, I’m not a fan of it being at ground zero, nor the religion that treats women like 2nd class citizens. But the problem is, if we start picking and choosing which parts of a religion we like, we can do it with any religion. And …we WILL do it.

      The other thing is, Moderate Muslims DO exist. They support women’s rights and practice their religion in a peaceful manner. They are not the ones causing the death and destruction. The moderates are the people worth protecting. The problem is, they are not making their voices heard in condemning acts of violence done in the name of Islam.

      Jihadis, hellbent on killing Americans? Fuck ’em. Hope they rot in hell without their 72 virgins. . 🙂

  3. Gideon / Aug 17 2010 4:14 pm

    The mainstream opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque (which, according to Park 51’s website, will have a mosque, and since it’s roof was seriously damaged thanks to Mohammed Atta’s landing gear, it is very much part of Ground Zero) dismisses legal action against the mosque. The aforementioned Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin have appealed to the propriety of the mosque, not it’s legality. So, essentially, like the President, you are arguing a point about which nearly everyone agrees.

    The only double standard that exists here is the outpouring of bleeding hearts on the left who break down talking about religious freedom for Muslims (read: my shitty Mayor, Mike Bloomberg) while ignoring the abundance of assault on nativity scenes, Christmas lights, Christmas plays, and songs shouted down relentlessly in the name of “religious freedom.” Where are/were all of the religious-freedom-loving folks with lengthy, self-righteous monologues wrapping themselves in the American flag for that? And this is all coming from me, a Jew.

    Sure, there is no shortage of bigots around. As a grandson of Holocaust survivors and dual-citizen of Israel, I’m quite familiar with it. But, for the most part, this isn’t bigotry. It is common sense. The sad fact is that this will serve as a “monument to those who committed the crime.” But to you, I’ll bet that sounds bigoted and alarmist. Tell that to Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, Al-Arabiya TV director-general who wrote it today. Tell that to the countless moderate Muslims who feel it is deliberately provocative. Tell that to those who were called bigoted while watching the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia.

    Your comparison of abortion clinic bombers to radical Islam is like comparing a puppy to a rabid wolf. The key difference between the two is that even the most conservative of Catholics around the world would denounce such violence to an abortion doctor. Compare that to the nearly 30% of Jordanians who support jihadist suicide bombings or the 20% ofPakistanis who believe Al-Qaida is in the right. In short, the positive feelings toward radicalism are more accepted and more prevalent in the Islamic community. This is not racism or bigotry on our part to acknowledge this. But, it is dangerous and stupid to pretend it doesn’t exist.

    I contend that if Raheel Raza were the Imam behind this mosque (if they’d allow a woman to lead) not only would it not be built at Ground Zero like so many truly moderate Muslims have contended (see: Raza, Al-Rashed, Asra Nomani), but her scathing criticism of radical Islam (and that means everyone, not just that little Al Qaida- Hammas, Al Aqsa, Hezbollah are all the same shit) and clear anti-Sharia sentiments would resonate to such an extent that even the most ardent opposition of the mosque might change its tune.

    • Candice / Aug 17 2010 5:59 pm

      I’m not arguing for more religious freedom for Muslims, I’m arguing that they shouldn’t receive less than any other. Freedom is freedom. A is A. I am not part of the Anti-Religious Left attacking Christianity while “supporting” Islam. You are very clearly mistaken about where I stand on this issue. I’m pro-any-religious freedom. So, don’t you dare confuse me with the anti-christian left. Thanks.

      The thing is, and as I argued, this isn’t about Ground Zero. This is about the anti-Islam hysteria that is taking over this “common sense” of which you speak. As I mentioned in my post, this is a slippery slope.

      Ok, lets use your “it was damaged by a 9/11 plane”… dust from the collapsing buildings covered all of lower Manhattan (and then some). By your logic, all of that is Hallowed Ground. People’s incinerated bodies were in that dust. Therefore the entire area should be protected. Right? Or just the 2 block radius around Ground Zero where a community center may be built?

      And that’s exactly what I’m getting at, you cannot simply willy-nilly pick and choose which standards and which laws you want to uphold to suit your needs. And furthermore, the most dangerous part of this is the fact that people are so desperate to stop this thing that they don’t care who gets hurt in the crossfire. “Not in my back yard!!!” (Heard that more than once today) And also, “to hell with your personal freedom, this is a war on Islam, we need to do anything within our power!” I’m sorry, but I’m drawing the line. (In fact it was drawn, during the Bush Administration.) Our personal freedom is much too precious to allow the masses to have control over it.

      I don’t pretend support for extremism doesn’t exist. The problem is, many on the right fail to acknowledge that Moderate Muslims exist. All over mainstream conservative talk radio/tv it’s repeated over and over and over again: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MODERATE MUSLIM. (thanks Hannity!) And I believe Jason covered my position pretty thoroughly on his show yesterday. (re-read the quote above.) Either we connect with the Moderates in an effort to create a loud, united effort against radical Islam, or we declare that Islam is NOT a religion and start making laws prohibiting it, and thus amending our 1st amendment to say “Freedom of Religion except for you Muslims, you don’t count.” You cant have it both ways.

      (And PS: 20-30% is HARDLY a majority. I bet 15-30% of the Christian Right all over the world supports the nut jobs who do stupid shit in the name of Christianity, therefore, lets condemn the whole entire religion. Gotta be fair. Right?)

  4. Gideon / Aug 17 2010 6:30 pm

    You are, once again, speaking to a dreadfully small percentage of idiots who want to make it illegal. I have not (nor has the MAINSTREAM opposition to Park 51) ONCE suggested a law or civil action against Park 51, which – essentially – is the basis of your piece and rebuttal (again, that percentage is small and not with the mainstream view – certainly not my view). I’m arguing its propriety (or lack thereof).

    I never mentioned that I wanted the area “protected.” However, now that you mention it, I’d like it protected with common sense. Not laws.

    I dedicated an entire paragraph addressing moderate Muslims (I even named three prominent voices) that I am incredibly grateful exist and wish would speak out more. The opposition is that we’re not entirely sure this Rauf guy is one of them. As for suggesting to move the mosque out of the entire area of damage,etc. I agree. I would ASK – not MANDATE nor seek legal action – to move.

    If we are going to play the whole goose/gander card, we must allow the free speech of those who oppose this mosque, and even those who oppose Islam. Like Park 51, it’s their right, even if it lacks “wisdom.” Man has the right to cheat on his wife and sing an aria in the middle of a movie theater at the most dramatic moment in the film, but that doesn’t mean that either of those would be the smartest of decisions to make. That is ALL I am arguing.

    I never once used the word “majority.” My point in citing the numbers of pro-terrorists (to which you’re projection of Christians who agree is purely conjecture and I bet incredibly wrong) is that 20-30% is nothing to sneeze at and is hardly obscure or a “fringe.” Radical Islam, though NOT THE MAJORITY, is not as insignificant a number as you are purporting. And, believe me, in no patronizing or condescending terms, I wish you were right about this.

    I was eagerly anticipating your comment after your tweet read that I “missed the point entirely.” After reading your response and seeing you continue to speak long and thorough against those seeking laws and legal action against Muslims or Park 51, I see now that I have not missed the point at all. I didn’t suggest it once. So, perhaps it isn’t I who missed the point. Like I wrote to you on Twitter, as far as the LEGALITY of this, “Hi, I’m the choir.” So, I’ll stand and sing with you on this aspect of it, but I still don’t feel it’s the smartest move and I understand, after seeing the smoke with my own eyes for months, why people are so emotional about it and respect THEIR right to free speech, too.

    • Candice / Aug 18 2010 9:52 am

      I know you know that I’m not talking about the MAJORITY. The MAJORITY of Americans (and specifically NY’ers) believe that they have a legal right to build. That same majority (myself included) believe it’s not an appropriate location.

      My argument is simply: There’s so much at work here, it’s easy for the hysteria, emotion and bullshit to over shadow what could potentially cause more problems down the road. Right now, perhaps not in mainstream American, things are bordering on religious persecution. That scares me, and it should scare the hell out of most Americans, yet it doesn’t. People are so quick to assume that your Muslim neighbor is no different than Osama Bin Laden.

      The reaction I’ve been getting, and it’s been quite nasty, has been, “There’s no such thing as a fucking moderate! Because of people like you and the left we’re all going to pay.” And my favorite: “You can’t even call yourself a freedom loving American, I hope those fuckers get you first.” Oh oh oh, and this one: “When those Muslims take over, I am going to be praying that you’re the first bitch beheaded.” Cute huh? Yeah, kinda makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

      All that said, the first Amendment is equal for everyone. I’ve never said that the 9/11 victims and families don’t have a say in the process. They have the same right as I do to voice their opinions. That’s what’s great about America, and why I love this country so much. 🙂

  5. Roaring Republican / Aug 20 2010 12:41 pm

    Yes there is a very small minority of people who would like to have laws changed etc. but like you pointed out they are small and the minority. What isn’t small is the number of people who are framing any opposition to this mosque as bigotry. Which is the claim for every form of opposition to whatever the left wants.

    We all agree they have the RIGHT to try and build anywhere they want. However the next question is, does a community have a right to stop them from doing so? The answer is clearly yes they do.

    As I keep pointing out, there is a contingent of people, largely on the left, who constantly petition government to stop the building of Wal-Marts because they are ideologically opposed to them. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. Obviously 9/11 and religion stir up a heck of a lot more than Wal-mart in people, which is the issue. The community doesn’t want what they consider sacred ground to be used this way.

    In the end, this is not a matter of “religious freedom” but zoning, taste, sensitivity and community. I jokingly but somewhat seriously remarked the other day, “Do you remember when they built the German Heritage Museum at Auschwitz and told anyone offended ‘Hey, not all of the history is bad. Stop being so sensitive!'” We all interpret the world in our own way and the community is not on board with this. That doesn’t mean they are hateful, doesn’t mean they are evil. It means they have feelings and are human and yes, dang-it, they deserve respect too.

    Like you said, the mosque group should not be treated with different laws etc. than others. Yet being a religion does not exclude them from the same opposition as others. They are still open to the procedures of zoning, petitioning, organized opposition and the court of public opinion that Wal-Marts and others are.

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