A new holy-war is ragging in New York City. The issue pertains to a proposed mosque and community center that is being built two blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood. A conservative advocacy group, lead by Pat Robertson, filed suit Wednesday to challenge a city panel’s decision to let developers tear down an old building and allow the new mosque to be erected in an area that was literally covered in dust from the September 11th attacks.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed in the early 1940’s, no one could have imagined a Shinto temple being erected two blocks away from where the USS Arizona rested in the bottom of Pearl Harbor. But then again, no one could have imagined that 60 years later the Japanese would be one of our closest allies. They also couldn’t have imagined that Japan would be the worlds largest seller of cars and electronics in the 1940’s either, and mainly selling them to us. This isn’t a bad thing. Americans want what Japanese companies sell and Japanese companies employ thousands of American workers and even produce a lot of their products here in the States.
The main difference between Pearl Harbor and the New York scenarios is that one attack was from a group of people with their country’s support during wartime. The other attack was from a group of people who were radicals in a certain faith, who were not directly supported from their government.
One of the great things about this country is that we have freedom of speech. So you more than welcome to disagree with me and move on. But we get to say what we want without fear of prosecution, for the most part. You’re not allowed to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater unless there really is one and you can’t say you’re going to kill the President and really mean it and expect not to go to jail.
Another great thing about this country is that we have freedom of commerce. Do you know how many businesses are located within a two block radius of where the World Trade Center once stood? More than are in most small-to-medium sized towns all across the U.S. and Manhattan is such as busy place that once the hoopla dies down, people could easily walk right by the mosque and not even realize it’s there. How often have you driven by your local mosque and not seen it? If you said, “I’ve never seen a mosque in my town,” let me assure you that if you live in a city with over 10,000 people in it, you have a mosque in your town, you just don’t know it.
Freedom of religion, for many, is the greatest thing about living in America. But for an atheist, watching a Right-wing Christian group and a Jewish organization come together to stop a Muslim group’s right to build, is like watching three children fight over who gets to play with their imaginary friend.
We as American’s you don’t get to pick when and where religious groups chose to practice their faith and that’s probably a good thing for tens millions of believers, because if it were up to me, none of these groups would be around to fight over where to build because none of these groups would even exist.