Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glenn Beck, Martin Luther King Jr, And The Islamic Community Center

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There has been a lot of criticism, half-truths, and outright lies surrounding the Islamic Community Center that is going to be built in the old Burlington Coat Factory in New York City. It is the constitutional right of all Americans to worship in their own way and to have places of worship where they want them (pending the area is zoned for said building). When right-wing talking heads like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and right-wing politicians like John Boehner, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin had lost the constitutional argument of the community center, they turned to the “feelings” of the nation.

“How does it make you feel that the people who destroyed the Twin Towers are going to build a military training outpost right next to the crater where the Towers used to be?” This is essentially the question that the right began to ask when they realized they had no constitutional ground to stand on. You had the likes of Rep. Eric Cantor give this somewhat stupid response to the community center:

I mean, come on! The guys are brown and don’t worship Yahweh. How can anyone take these guys seriously? There is no response that follows “The Muslim community has the constitutional right to build the community center.” There is no but, no however, and no “come on!” The end of the conversation has been reached.

I remember during the last presidential campaign that Sarah Palin said that the people who resided in the cities of the east and west coasts weren’t Real Americans™. Undoubtedly, all of the Real Americans™ resided in Texas, Alaska, and the Midwest. In the same campaign, Mrs. Palin had the audacity to speak about the World Trade Center as if it was something near and dear to her heart. I guess that it doesn’t matter that the Trade Center is in the fake American zone of this country when it is politically expedient. Now, a community center that is being built in the same fake American zone is being criticized because it will desecrate the memory of all those people who died on 9/11; or it will be used as a training center for al Qaeda; or it will be the new seat of power for the American Caliphate. No one can keep the arguments coming from the right straight.

There is also the ever-present background noise of Newt Gingrich who says that they (Muslims) can build a mosque at that location when we (Christians and Jews) can build churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia. You know what I love about America? I love the fact that we aren’t Saudi Arabia. I thought that we prided ourselves on having freedoms that other countries like Saudi Arabia don’t have. The Saudi government can restrict whatever they would like, but (supposedly) in this country, we have the freedom to build houses of worship that the Saudi’s don’t have.

So I suppose that we, as a nation, are going to base all of our laws on the hurt feelings of people, constitution be damned. Fox News and their ilk are telling the people to go with their emotions and forgo the laws that we supposedly, but apparently not anymore, hold so dear. If Fox News wants the nation to operate this way, then why did Glenn Beck go ahead with his rally at the Washington Monument on the anniversary of the famous “I Have A Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr?

There were plenty of people disgusted with the idea of someone like Glenn Beck hijacking the legacy of Dr. King for his own nefarious purposes. Glenn Beck is supposed to be concerned with the feelings of the people of this nation. Why, under such intense opposition, would Glenn Beck go ahead with such a blatant slap in the face to the icon of the Civil Rights Movement? He did it because it gave him the highest visibility to disperse his message of insanity. I mean, he has the constitutional right to do so, but come on!

Glenn Beck, as repulsive as I may find him, has every right to give a speech wherever he can get a permit to do so. He can hold any kind of rally that and spew forth as many lies and as much hate as he pleases. He can do this because of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which is the same amendment that gives the Muslim community of New York City the right to build their community center and worship as they please. It doesn’t matter how someone may feel about the situation.

If it were up to me, no one would be allowed to build any kind of religious institution anywhere ever. Religion has done much more harm than good and it will continue to be the “dark matter” of our society, that invisible force that separates the fabric of our world community. However, the beautiful thing about this country is that it is based on the Law of the Constitution, my feelings and wishes be damned.

There is only one question that can be asked and only one answer that can be given: “Does the Cordoba House have a right to exist in the old Burlington Coat Factory, a building that they paid for?”



  1. What if a group Christian extremists destroyed a building and afterwards, moderate Christians wanted to build a church and put a permanent prayer visual nearby the site. Would anyone complaint?


    This, unfortunately, is default human nature. People resist those outside of their circle. Muslims are all lumped into the same bunch when people say they are responsible for 9-11.

    Sure, the Koran has a lot of crazy, violent, nut-job stuff in it and at face value is certainly not a religion of peace. But, many people take it and turn it into a religion of "peace" for themselves. This happens just in the same way that people take the crazy, violent, nut-job stuff from the Bible and make Judaism and Christianity a religion of "peace".

    People just don't want to think that hard. And unfortunately, evolution is the explanation for this. Psychology studies strongly support this. Our primate cousins confirm it. We default to siding with "our kind" and don't want "their kind" anywhere around us or our stuff.

    People will need to rise above that way of thinking if we're going to keep from blowing ourselves off this planet one day. People need to rise up cognitively above the knee-jerk reaction wired in us from evolution. People will now start to look more for the similarities we all have as oppose to our differences concerning situations like the dispute over the mosque.

    Muslims died in the Trade Center, too, on 9-11. And I'm not talking about the ones flying the planes, either.

    Now, if that group that is building the mosque has any terrorist agenda, by all means, they should be shut down. I'd like to think the government has sniffed enough up their butts to know this. But then again, they have dropped the ball before in these matters. And, they also have prevented a lot of nasty plots, too.

    Bottom line, as you said, we need to see if it's their constitutional right. If it is, then the answer should be "Yes".

  2. Sir, I can disagree with some of the sentiment you award to your badly abused 1stA, but I admire your moral integrity in defending its application in the true spirit of Liberty And Justice For All.

    I reguard your 1st Amm with a more cynical eye. It has become so twisted out of kilter its becoming The Liars and Haters Charter. You dont REALLY think Messrs Jefferson and Mason would REALLY have meant you to use it to defend the KKK, Westboro and RevolutionIslam do you? You dont REALLY think that allowing haters a public platform makes for a stable, cohesive, safe and happy society do you?

    Take a step back sir and see what is happening from over here, where a perspective is possible. A little less hate and bigotry and a little more truth would be a good thing.

    Or must I draw you a big red line between Beck/Alex Jones/Tea Baggers and the Huttaree Milita/Tim McVeigh? Or one between Westboro and their Xtian hater ilk and bombs in abortion clinics and murdered gays?

    The Constitution and its Ammendments can and should be ammended to reflect and protect positive social changes in the nation.

    Where they protect the negative they MUST be ammended.

    Time to insert a few new clauses in No.1 or to re-write it in modern terms.

    Freedom OF includes freedom FROM, and freedom TO doesnt include freedom to lie and hate.

    Another good way to simplify this mosque situation is


  3. "You dont REALLY think that allowing haters a public platform makes for a stable, cohesive, safe and happy society do you?"

    Personally, I think that we have to at least allow the voices of those with which we disagree to be heard. Not necessarily their actions, however. And especially not their actions if they are violent towards others.

    Once government has licence to suppress the opinions of others, the opinions of everyone else are in danger of being unlawfully suppressed.


    I totally agree. That is a very important and powerful point in my personal opinion. I need to start trying to do this myself.

  4. Uruk

    I can see your point mate, as its a sticky one we in the UK have kicked about since the 70s.

    It really started with giving voice to the IRA and UDA...was it right to allow terrorists a voice? That back n forward led to some real insanity like allowing interviews as long as they used an actors voice over. Madness.

    Then we had the British National Party spreading racist hatred, which in a way led to the race riots of the early 80s. After that we started restricting hate speech.

    Now, in light of the insanity of Islamic fundys and their Westboro style placards we have imposed reasonable expression laws. You have free speech, but not the right to advocate bigotry, hatred and violence, even through placards.

    This has not stopped people voicing opinions as diverse as ever. It has imposed proper moderation.

    As a result we have had successful prosecutions brought against Islamists advocating violence against non muslims, and we have convicted Xtian fundy street preachers for advocating hate against gay people.

    It works for us...we dont have lunatics blowing up abortion clinics, or lunatics blowing up govt buildings because someone told them the government was some form of NWO...we dont have cranks on our airwaves spouting creationist nonsense, we dont have Beck, Jones or Limbaugh. Because in the UK if you use the media and airwaves to spread lies and fear you get sued or convicted.

    I know which system I prefer man.

    Im not advocating an end to free speech, just a little of Tom Paines Common Sense and gentle moderation.

    Words and ideas on their own dont kill, but in the hands of wicked men they can and do.

    And this world is full of wicked men.

    Cheers mateys