Ground-Zero, Freedom Is Sometimes Painful

9/11 was not the day that Islam attacked the United States. September 11, 2001 was the day that Al Qaeda attacked the United States with the purpose of knocking our nation off its keel. Al Qaeda are usurpers of a faith, in the way that many humans since the beginning of time have killed in the name of their God. Their hopes for the cowardly assault on civilians were simple; force the United States into a mindset contrary to its history, make the United States abandon its cherished ideals. Where they can never hope to conquer us, they could inspire us to conquer ourselves.

They have been, in many ways, successful on a grand scale. We have willingly given up many of the protections of the 4th Amendment. We have willingly conceded the long-contested battle over a right to privacy. We have sacrificed much on the altar of; “It will keep us safe”. We have departed from the fervor of; “Give me liberty, or give me death!” We have abandoned the wisdom of; “Those who would give up a little freedom, in exchange for a little safety, deserve neither freedom nor safety.” Now, far past the 11th hour, we concede another of our nation’s founding principles.

The text of the 1st Amendment is simple yet inclusive. It protects the fundamentals of free expression for both individuals and groups. It channels the spirit of the original Pilgrims still evident in our Founding Fathers; Pilgrims who were considered a cult in England and Holland. To protect the rights of the religious and the manner of their expression, was a bold and original ideal then and now. There was not then, nor is there now, a test imposed on practitioners to determine the worth of their faith, or its place in the world. There are only these simple lines:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The attack by that sorry mob of self-serving fanatics was not then, and is not now, a definition of Islam. It was the ultimate statement of cowards, carried out by the ultimate fanaticism of weak-minded zealots. Al Qaeda and its emulators have killed far more Muslims than Christians and Jews. To accept their claim to be representatives of Islam, as a prima facie case, is to ignore all the other facts in evidence. You may not ascribe to the tenets of Islam, you may even believe the religion to be dangerously misguided, but it matters not as this is a question of liberty. All of which brings us to the now infamous “Ground Zero Mosque”.

If some misguided soul had formulated the dim idea to build a mosque, church, temple, or synagogue on Ground Zero, I would be writing in protest myself. That site is hallowed ground, and should be consecrated to the memories of all who fell. That edifice yet to built has been long discussed; the hows and the whys of its building debated over many months by planners and survivors alike. Any building on that site dedicated to one faith would be a miscarriage of purpose. But the tricky little widget in the case of the “Ground Zero Mosque”, is that it isn’t located at Ground Zero.

The Cordoba Center is to be built on private property around the corner. There are religious facilities of many faiths within a few blocks of Ground Zero. Why should this facility be any different? This is not, after all, a recruiting depot for Al Qaeda. We are not, after all, a totalitarian nation like Iran who might be expected to determine where a church or synagogue can or should be constructed. It is somewhat ironic that the Moors, Muslims who ruled the city of Cordoba in Spain, where renowned for their tolerance. They did not, centuries ago, give a second thought to the practicing of Judaism or Christianity in their lands. Are we Americans, long the setters of example where liberty is concerned, now to abandon our principles in fear and anger?

This is an issue beyond the politics of our nation. This cuts directly to our souls as individual Americans. We the people, are the individual carriers of the American Dream and the principles that dream is built on. Many survivors of 9/11, and many who lost loved ones, are aggrieved by this development. Other survivors see it as an example of what makes us better than those craven souls who perpetrated that terrible crime. But we aren’t meant to establish rights via polling sample in America, and the right to peaceably assemble and practice one’s religion is a right long established. Many of the citizens, as well as the city and county of New York, have stood up in defense of the project. These were Christians and Jews, Muslims and Agnostics, who said yes to the Cordoba Center. These were Americans who said yes to freedom, even though that freedom may come with a twinge of painful reminder.

The Rational Middle is listening…

9 thoughts on “Ground-Zero, Freedom Is Sometimes Painful

  1. Michael – Everything you mentioned is perfectly legal and an exercise of the rights guaranteed those who oppose building this structure.

    Now, If someone comes along and asks the government to take a position that they do not have the RIGHT to build, then you have an argument. But I see nothing wrong with utilizing the array of “Rights” (tools) available to you through legitimate and legal remedy to prevent this structure from being built.

    My rights are just as good as yours!! 🙂

    And to coin one of Beck’s favorites, it makes flames shoot out of my eyes listening to the discourse on this matter. You can’t BEAT someone on the left off the talking points of “They have the right.”, “You can’t abridge religious freedom.” lament. I scream at the t.v. or radio, NO ONE IS SAYING THEY DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT!! As I stated earlier, to argue that point is diversionary at best. It’s just simply inappropriate, divisive and disrespectful. Poor judgment. Poor decision.

    Krauthammer had a good column on this phenomena of the Liberal Left’s characterization of disagreement. (Maybe I need to start writing a column because I have been saying this exact same thing for most of the last year!!) (And yes, it isn’t only the Left that uses it.)

  2. Fjer…thank you for your comments. You are, of course, correct that the 1st Amendment goes both ways. That is a point I have argued on the RM on several occasions. The forces opposed to the Mosque have tried to use government means to prevent its construction my friend. Their first step, as a matter of public record, was an ill-considered attempt at getting the buildings at the site declared historical prevention buildings. They have also tried to get the Borough of Manhattan, the city, and the state to take action. The late calls of the opponents of the Cordoba Center that the federal government investigate the Imam’s funding sources are also calls for government intervention.

    I have no issues with those who would picket the building, but opposition to the Center’s construction has clearly been pushed into government, where it does not belong.

  3. While the Park51 people may have a right to build the mosque (I don’t think anyone is saying they don’t), that doesn’t mean the rest of us lose our right to call them out on being insensitive and try to get them to reconsider. The First Amendment goes both ways. As soon as those opposed to the mosque start calling for the government to prevent the building of mosques, then this article will be correct about them being against freedom. As it stands, you seem to be the ones opposed to freedom.

  4. Dear Nina, I have done my own reading and research, as it were, about Islam and have reached my own conclusions. Thank you.

    It’s not about the “right” and never has been. It’s not an insult to Islam. It doesn’t mean Islam is our “enemy”. It’s not a matter of “Right”. It’s just simply inappropriate. Of all the places on the planet to build a Mosque, two blocks from Ground Zero shouldn’t be one. It is about respect and consideration for others.

    Other Mosques in the area rightly are not and have not been made into “issues”. At least, not by those who oppose building the Park51 Structure. And if someone were campaigning to REMOVE Mosques or establishments that were already there and/or have been there for some time, I would be one of the first to step forward and declare my opposition.

    For the ultra left to continue to argue this issue as a matter of denying anyone any right is diversionary at best, and dishonest at worse.

    On the up side, thank you for the lecture!! 🙂

    (Harrumph!! Read independently?? The very idea!! You think I just sat around and divined “Taqiyya” by osmosis??) 😉 😉

  5. Dear Hank,
    WoW is right! Read independently about Islam and their Holy book and perhaps you will gain understanding. No one needs to “trust the motivation” of anyone else, but in this country we ALL have rights. If you don’t want to be lectured, then do your own research instead of listening to the fear mongering of others. The Mosque that is to be built will replace one a few blocks away that was built BEFORE the twin towers were built. Muslims have been praying, living and working in that area of New York for many decades. The idea that a “new” group of people should come here for the freedom they lacked at home is not new. Unfortunately the reality is that, despite our core beliefs, these groups must struggle for many years to achieve that freedom which we hold so dearly. Pick any group of people and it has always been the same.

  6. Wow. Just a resigned, “Wow”.

    Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is a Political Movement wrapped in Religion and cloaked with oppression, hatred, bigotry and subterfuge.

    No one (that I know) denies they have a right. And honestly, some of us are weary of being lectured. Building this structure in THAT location is an insult and affront to the common sense (at least) of every American.

    Perhaps you and some on the “Professional Left” trust their motivation. Personally, I do not.

  7. What are you talking about
    Islam attacked to U.S ?
    Islam is a religion
    only you can say that Al Qaeda attacked to U.S

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