The argument here is so bigoted and spurious it pains me to repeat it but here it is; since the folks who destroyed the Twin Towers were Muslims, then no Muslim should be able to build anything near it. It does not matter that like all religions Islam is hardly monolithic, not all of the 1.3 billion of their coreligionists believe that it was a good thing to attack the United States. They don't even all agree on the tenants of their religion, just like Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists and Catholics can all be said to be Christians, but are far from agreement in what that really means.
What is so galling about this is the level of religious intolerance that is being exhibited by self-professed religious Republicans. Like most of their positions they are strong in the short term but tend to undermine the Untied States over time. None of these folks seem to understand that you mobilize to prevent one religion from building in a place you think will be profaned by their presence, and then all of them become fair game.
What if Evangelicals decided that Charlotte, North Carolina, the birth place of Evangelical icon Billy Graham was sacred ground and no new churches outside that religion should be built there? It is exactly the same argument as they are making against the New York City mosque. Because of an arbitrary event the site of the towers is somehow "sacred" and that alone is enough to deny a group the right to build not on it but near it.
As an Atheist this all seems more than a little silly to me, but all religion that you don't participate in can seem silly or sinister from the outside. The thing is I am also a strong supporter of the Constitution. The Framers knew from personal experience what a damage a state sponsored religion could be to a people and especially a democracy. They choose to put in the very first amendment the idea that State should not make any laws respecting the establishment of religion. That is a very clever way of saying that it will not referee between competing religions and will never endorse one over any others.
By saying that we can pick and choose what religious establishments can be built close to particular areas, based on the religion itself would be to directly affirm one religion over another in contravention of our Constitution. It would be one thing if these protests against mosque building was confined to the site of the Twin Towers, but it is not. Recently there been protests in Tennessee and Temecula California over proposed mosque building.
The main argument at these protests is that mosques can become hot-beds of radicalism. The fact is there is always a chance this might happen. It does not matter that the 34 Americans accused of terrorist activity are mostly radicalized via the internet and not mosques in the United States. The truth is that any religions institution could become a hot-bed for radical religious belief. If you need an example of this possibility, just look at the violence done in the name of the Christian god over the issue of abortion. Clinics have been blown up, people have been executed in their own church, as in the case of Dr. Tiller just last year.
Someone will have to help me out as to how these acts of terror are materially different than the ones perpetrated by Al Qaeda. Both have a religious component; both are done by groups associated with the religion. Both are done by very small minorities who have worked themselves into a righteous fervor over what they perceive as intolerable slights to their religious world view. Yet no one seems to get upset when another Mega-Church is proposed and built. It is only mosques and the Islamic faith that gets their panties in a twist.
It is easy to paint with a broad brush. If you are intellectually lazy it is the far easier than recognizing that there are going to be lots of differing points of view within any large group. Do we condemn all Catholics for the acts of the IRA? Do we condemn all Protestants for the acts of the Orangemen? Do we say that neither group can build their churches here in the United States because of the terrorist acts of some of their members? No we don't and we should not do the same with mosques.
I understand that the Right Wing Wurlitzer has whipped up fear of Muslims as part of their "All Fear, All The Time" campaign. Having an enemy is important for nationalist organizations but enough is enough. This nation has law about religions which has allowed us to become the most religiously tolerant nation in the world. With minor exceptions we have managed to keep out of the religious battles that have so troubled other nations. The hands off view of religion by the Framers has severed us well tinkering with it is dangerous for the religions involved and the nation as whole.
Personally I'd love to see all religious building frozen forever. I am in a small minority there so I don't give it a lot of thought or effort. However, if we are going to have this large and pluralistic religious community in the United States, we must stand up for the minority religions and their right to have the same chance to build a place of worship as the Protestants or Evangelicals or the Catholics. Our idea about religion is that market forces will determine who prays to what deity, we should leave it that way.
One last thought on the self-defeating nuttiness of Right Wingers on this. We are currently at war openly in two Muslim nations and covertly in a third (Pakistan), if these strong supporters of these war efforts are serious about wining, it is probably a good idea if we don't piss all over their religion. It might play well to the fear-based and angry Republican base to bash Islam, but there are always larger issues.
In the end it is just the SOP of the Republican Party. Find and issue and whip up hysteria, without consideration of the long term affects or what might be lost by the tactic. It is just another of the legion of reasons why the modern Republican Party can not be trusted with the government of the United States or any single state for that matter. The radicalization they claim will come from mosques is just a pale reflection of the radicalization that has occurred in the ranks of their Party. If there is a group to fear, it is Radical Republicans, which is basically to say the most of the Republican Party at this point.
The floor is yours.