Unsurprisingly, it seems that my conservative counterpart Donald Douglas of American Power is against the so-called Ground Zero Mosque in New York City. He makes a comparison to the protests over another mosque being built in Temecula, California:
This Temecula case doesn't seem to be anything like the opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque, which is clearly an example of Islamic Jihad's imperial conquest. New York Muslims will literally be praying on a battle zone where bodies are still being recovered.Now that's clearly an example of hyperbolic paranoia but one of Don's readers and regular commenter Stogie (you might remember him) had a decidedly stronger reaction that I can only describe as wholly un-American:
I've thought about this quite a bit, and I don't think the 1st Amendment should protect Islam. It is not just harmless worship, but a totalitarian ideology that seeks to violently overthrow our Constitution and democracy and replace them with Sharia law. The extensive cultural disruption and non-assimilable nature of Islam in Europe has already been clearly noted. Do we want the same problems over here? I think not.So this guy thinks that the First Amendment, you know, the part of the Constitution that guarantees freedom of both religion and speech, should not apply to whichever religions he personally dislikes and the adherents of those religions should be censored by the government for speech he similarly finds objectionable. Interesting that tea party types who believe that the federal government is actively working to curtail our freedoms under an Obama administration are actually quite comfortable letting that government curtail the freedoms of those Americans they personally disagree with. I seem to remember a similar mindset on the political right in this country when the Bush administration asserted its supposed right to disappear American citizens... I mean "detain evil terrorists" indefinitely in former Soviet black sites to be tortured with neither a trial nor due process. And while Don was quite happy at the time to endorse this government torture of US citizens he is at least showing some modicum of level-headedness as it pertains to our First Amendment:
The Constitution, as someone has said, is not a suicide pact. In the 1950s, when we were being undermined by communists "boring from within," would we have allowed communist training centers throughout America? And if they had called themselves "a religion," would that have made it all okay?
I'm not personally thrilled about Ground Zero, and I join those in protesting it. Seems a slap in the face to those who died and to the living who are still mourning and recovering the dead. I won't personally go so far as banning Islam in America, however, which is what...Stogie [is] supporting, basically. I'm not sure how we're going to do it, but we've got to find a way to separate jihadi Muslims from those of the faith who reject the Islam's fundamentalist literalism in favor of liberalized version of the religion. (And I'm skeptical that's possible, given my knowledge of Islam as a religion of victory and conquest.)Although he does unapologetically post this incendiary and misleading anti-Muslim ad that's been making its way around the blogosphere lately:
Little Green Footballs adds some pertinent information that one would assume those supporting this ad are quite and/or willfully ignorant of:
It should be pointed out (again) that the “Ground Zero mosque” these idiots are ranting about is actually a proposed community center with an auditorium, swimming pool, and restaurants, in addition to a mosque. It would be housed in an existing 13-story building that’s two blocks away from Ground Zero and has no view of the area; there are two very big buildings in between the proposed community center and Ground Zero. Here is an embedded Google Map in which you can clearly see that the idea of this being a “Ground Zero mosque” is a ridiculous paranoid fantasy.
Suppose the community center was five blocks away instead of two blocks away.That last question is the one I would ask of religious and cultural bigots like Stogie, along with a few others: What are these people so scared of that they would undermine our Constitutional protections in so eager and flippant a manner? Why do they imagine American institutions and the American people to be so weak and fragile as to not be able to counter or stand up against any opinions or beliefs that differ from the majority of our citizens? And most importantly, who the fuck are they to decide for the rest of us what the extent of our religious freedoms should be? I obviously don't expect honest answers to these questions but I'd certainly be willing to listen if Stogie wants to refudiate any of these points.
Would that be OK?
How about if it was in midtown?
Maybe it needs to be in Queens?
If you want a special exception to America’s religious tolerance, where are you going to draw the line?