I’ve been out of the loop as far as news goes, and I will say that I really cannot believe that this mosque controversy has gone on so long. I’m utterly willing to say that anyone who believes in taking away the right of the builders to practice their religion in any place that they find is conducive and which they have duly purchased, is an idiot. And the supporters of the “compromise position” – “build it, but not so close” – are also idiots. That includes the governor of New York, apparently, and the archbishop of New York. In fact, the archbishop’s cravenness make me so mad that I hope that people go protest anytime Catholics try to build a church anywhere near children, or families: “For the Catholic Church to build a church two blocks away from a school, after all the pedophilia scandals, it’s offensive! It lacks all tact!” But then again, the archbishop of New York isn’t in the business of building churches, only closing them, so he’ll be fine.
Richard Cohen has written a few utterly reasonable pieces on this topic, a thread which can be started here.
As for some of the arguments of the mosque opponents, let me say that there is always some merit in the lex talionis. Islamic countries are the worst in the world when it comes to religious freedom, and Sharia law – which is Islamic and religious – is the reason, so therefore we’re going to limit their religious freedom. Of course Jesus specifically repudiated the Lex Talionis, but that’s another issue. The point is that in this country there is no they and us anymore; it is only us. If you want to say that the lack of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia is a rationale for cutting off trade relations with Saudi Arabia, fine. Saudi Arabia is more offensive from the human rights standpoint than Cuba, with whom we have no trade relations. If you say this is a rationale for cutting off aid to Egypt unless they end handing out the death penalty for conversion to Christianity (or Judaism, or Hinduism, or Buddhism, etc.), fine. If you want to say that’s a rationale for setting up a secular government in countries which we effectively govern, like Iraq and Afghanistan, fine. But it’s not a rationale for abridging the First Amendment in our own country. And yet the limitation of our own rights has been the consistent reflex coming from the right wing in this country. Idiocy.