I’ve been reading a lot, as many of you have, about the brouhaha surrounding the proposed mosque at “ground zero”. First, a few facts.
According to the NY Times the building in question will be:
“a tower of as many as 15 stories that will house a mosque, a 500-seat auditorium, and a pool. Its leaders say it will be modeled on the Y.M.C.A. and Jewish Community Center in Manhattan.”
It is not at ground zero, but two blocks away. My question is, how far away would it have to be to not be near ground zero?
Another important point, made by President Obama is that the people who are financing and building this Islamic center have a constitutional right to build it, assuming local approval in accordance with local laws, which was granted on August 3rd.
There is a thing in this country called Freedom of Religion. How would many of the Christians who are arguing against this center feel if they were not allowed to build a church near the site of the Oklahoma City Bombing site because the men who carried it out were Christians?
I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. I also believe that freedom of religion is sacrosanct. It is just as fundamental a freedom as freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.
Personally, I believe that religions are, on the whole, divisive, harmful and dangerous. But you can say the same thing about free speech or free assembly. Any thought of limiting the right to build a church, mosque, synagogue or temple is wrong and goes against the basic rights we all enjoy.
As much as I despise organized religions, I would no more curtail the right to build a religious building than I would curtail someone’s speech.
If we wish to continue to enjoy our cherished rights, we must protect those rights with all the power we have, no matter how distastefully those things we disagree with may be.