There's been a lot of talk lately about the proposed Mosque and "Multi-Cultural Center" to be built not far from the former World Trade Center location in New York. It has stirred a lot of various feelings - renewed grief, anger, outrage.
I'm of two minds about the whole thing.
My first instinct is to feel a massive surge of rage, grief, etc over the idea. How dare they consider building a religious temple so near to that location, for the very religious beliefs that spawned those who committed the atrocity. Islam is inherently intolerant of anything which is the least bit "different" and of anyone who does not follow Islam. Conversion via the sword has been the rule throughout history, rather than the exception, where Islam is concerned : IE, Convert or Die. Personally I'd choose death before I would convert to a religion which tells me I'm less than even a second class citizen because I wasn't born with a swinging dick.
Upon further reflection, however, I had to pause and consider the hypocrisy of proclaiming myself a Rabid Constitutionalist so many times over the years, and yet so blatantly ignoring one of the primary concepts this country (the US) was founded on - Religious Freedom.
What right do I have, if I'm going to uphold the concept of religious freedom, to deny someone else the right to follow whatever religion THEY happen to choose? While I do not agree with the tenets of Islam, in denying someone else the right to follow such a religion, I open myself to justifiable criticism of my Own religious choices - whether that be to follow one of the Abrahamic faiths, one of the pagan sects, or no religion whatsoever.
While I shall continue to consider their choice of location to be gauche, tacky, lacking in compassion and foresight, and downright mean spirited - I cannot in good conscience protest their right to build if they have purchased the property, simply based on which religion it is that is doing the building. Denying followers of a faith the right to exercise their religion (provided the exercising of that religion is in a manner that is safe for the general public, rather than putting others at risk of persecution or death) - takes us back 300 years, and crumbles what we've built here at it's very foundations.
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