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?”