Let's face it: if America was made of glass, we would have shattered that baby years ago (theoretically, of course). Seems to me that there's a bigotry problem here in the U S of A, and this is just a (somewhat) friendly reminder of what exactly our founding fathers bought into when they ratified our Constitution.
Religious controversy in the US has picked up where blatant racism left off, although in this particular case the two are actually closely linked. I hope anyone who reads this also clicks the supplement links I provided above, not so much for the journalism, but for the comment section at the bottom of the page. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse--I have beheld some of the most eloquent demonstrations of free speech, and then I have seen this, the hateful drivel that is spewed anonymously in public forums by the uneducated, the un-cultured, and the un-American.
So some American Muslims want to build a mosque, in addition to a nondenominational community center, two blocks away from Ground Zero. Unfortunately for the right-wing extremists, the very first amendment to our federal Constitution says they can build one wherever they choose. But when people have on the blinders of ignorance, all they seem able to produce are ridiculous statements that "Muslims should not be allowed to live in the US", "this mosque will give way to an uprising of radical Islam", and my personal favorite, "we should be dropping nukes on all of them!". Even the pampered princess of the religious right Sarah Palin publicly dished out her two cents to the Islamic community on Twitter, the worst thing to ever happen to the Internet: "Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing." Huh. Someone please remind me, what public office does she hold that gives her the authority to do anything regarding this issue, or regarding morality in general? Maybe she should have made sure her daughter kept her legs closed--having a child out of wedlock was punishable by stoning back in Jesus' time. Moving on.
The anti-Muslim community's backlash against religious freedom has grown into quite the example of the fear-mongering and misinformation that has become the Republican platform. People are so paranoid and ignorant that they have just started lumping together all Middle Eastern races into the "terrorist" demographic. Reality check: there are Muslims whose families have lived in the US for centuries. Believe it or not, Muslims from Iraq and Afghanistan make up the lowest percentage of American Muslims, with those of Indian and Pakistani descent making up roughly 60% and African Americans making up another 25%. So it's pretty fair to say that these people were minding their own business the morning of September 11, 2001, just like you and me, and sharing in the shock and mourning of our nation as we dealt with the biggest blow to our nation's pride since Pearl Harbor. Blaming the entire ideology for the senseless and radical acts of professional organized criminals is just as ignorant as me blaming all Christians for the genocide of the Aztec nation and the virtual eradication of almost every other indigenous tribe in North America--but bigots just can't see the forest for the trees. They're acting like the NYC Muslims are going to launch an attack from the very roof of this new mosque, when in reality they share nothing with the 9/11 terrorists other than the label of Islam, which is obviously subject to some radical thinking that these Americans do not condone.
Our nation was founded on principles of equality and freedom for all, and even though it's turned into a tangled mess more than once since 1776, the fact remains: our founding fathers really didn't give a hoot what the people believed or didn't believe--they envisioned a society in which everyone did their own thing in peace and without fear of persecution, without dragging deities into the logical government system. George Washington (my favorite president) and Thomas Jefferson (my other favorite president) treated religion as a subject of academia and nothing more; while they knew it was an important topic for the populace they served, they also knew the damages it caused by separating people from one another in hatred and misunderstanding. Washington called for people of all religions, even atheists, to apply when he was looking for Mount Vernon staffers, and Jefferson resented efforts by the Christian church to convert him and birthed the idea of separation of church and state. What we have now is exactly what they discouraged, but the circumstances of our conflict with the Middle East has made tolerating each others' differences much harder.
Bottom line: the "moral" Americans have very selective standards of which religious practices are acceptable and which are not. They took the weed from the Rastas, but allowed the KKK to organize and spread terror through the streets, as long as they kept the volume down and pretended it was just a parade. Now they want to dictate where worship sites can be built? How large of an anti-Muslim area around Ground Zero will suffice for these people?--oh right, many Christian extremists believe that mosques shouldn't even be allowed on American soil. Thought like this simply isn't American. I guess we know who the true patriots are--those who actually open their arms to what our forefathers believed in.
I know someone is reading this right now, getting very angry, and would love to call me out for being too "politically correct". In case you didn't get the memo: I am an American. I don't get by on "political correctness". I get by on the liberties bestowed upon me and everyone else in this country by some of the greatest minds known to politics. I don't believe in "morality", I believe in humanity. And, luckily for everyone in the crosshairs of the right wing, the Constitution is on MY side.
As your good friend Jesus once said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone.” John 8:7.