If you read me you know how I roll politically. I don't use this space to make a huge amount of political noise, nor do I want to. I have loved ones and relatives (read: in-laws) who are on different ends of the political spectrum, and that alone is sufficient reason for me to not wish to antagonize or offend you.
Today, I'm going to cross this line and so if you are going to no longer love me or read my blog because of this, then I am very sorry to have offended you, but this is something I want and need to say.
Very often when there is a controversial issue in the public eye, I lean toward the logical argument. I lean toward the constitutional argument. I'm drawn to the argument that while possibly rhetorical, is drawn from fact-based argument.
I've been watching and listening and thinking very much about the controversy in New York City over the group that is attempting to build a place of worship in near proximity to the site of the former Twin Towers. A Mosque. I've not commented much about it. I don't wish to hurt or offend anyone.
My argument stems from a position of acceptance and love, but also from a strong dedication to the ideals upon which our country was founded. I look at our first amendment rights, and I wonder why this is even an argument.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of...
Thanks to this same first amendment, which goes on to protect the right of free speech, those who are vehemently opposed to the mosque's construction, have every right to express their concern and anger and...I want to use the word hate, but I don't want to offend.
I believe that the men who flew their planes into the towers on September 11, 2001, were no more "religious" than I believe that the guy on TV who is asking you to send him money for his "prayer ministry" is religious. I believe there is a different between faith and religion. I believe that the majority of Muslim Americans have the same American values that you and I share. Because a few exceptions to this rule exist is no reason we should prevent people from worshiping in the way their faith dictates. Timothy McVeigh was raised Roman Catholic, and he was a registered Republican. Should we then prevent the Catholic Church from constructing a cathedral in Oklahoma City? Should registered Republicans refrain from conducting political activities near the site of the bombed Federal Building? When we take even one step down this slope, we end up restricting the rights of everyone. Not too many hundreds of years ago Christians were conducting torture, pillage, murder and rape in the name of the Church. If we restrict the right to worship for every denomination who has ever been involved in violence or intolerance, there'd be no churches in America. Except for maybe the Scientologists, but I hear they're a cult and not a religion. (THAT WAS TONGUE IN CHEEK, DON'T GET MAD)
And so I start getting mad, and I can't understand why people don't get this. And I sort of lose any chance of making headway in the discussion because the very second you lose your temper you lose your audience.
And today, I read possibly the most lucid, ego-less and loving commentary imaginable on this issue. Please, wherever you stand on this issue, go to the following link and read Faiqa's words. Comment if you like. Try and understand from a different point of view, one that has nothing to do with politicism or legality. Her post and her words are the best piece I've read on this issue yet. If we can come together in a place of understanding and acceptance, maybe we can start to heal this damnable rift.