Masking the Debate

11 Sep

I’m surprised the “debate” over the “mosque” to be built two blocks away from Ground Zero is still raging. I call it a “mosque” because it’s really more aptly described as a Muslim community center (with Christian and Jewish prayer area)s. It’s a “debate” because there is no substantial argument against the “mosque” and people are simply shouting loudly and stupidly. Each of the arguments against the mosque is so flimsy and easily pushed over, that the notion of their being people who would protest it is laughable. Here are the main arguments:

1. It dishonors those who lost their lives on September 11th. What about the (at least 60) Muslims who died in those towers? Do they not deserve to be honored?

2. The “mosque” will support or be funded by terrorist/evil/Iranian organizations. How many actions should should we stop because they might lead to someone somewhere doing something wrong? Besides, if you believe in these guilt by association arguments, there are results which me must accept if we are to be logically consistent.

3. We have enough mosques. A) How do you know? B) Does this mean we can stop the production of any building or business because some decided we have “enough”? No more cars. No more restaurants. No more American flags. We have enough.

4. Building the mosque supports those who want to destroy “Western Civilization”. A) We don’t live in Western Civilization. B) Does change imply destruction? Should we ban anything that might make life different in any way? Perhaps we should ban planes, movies, and anything that creates or is wealth.

5. Ground Zero is sacred. A) What about the atheists, secularists, and humanists that died on 9/11? B) Do Christians really believe that the second most popular religion in the world is completely devoid of sacred teachings? C) Should we try to purify the area if it so sacred?

6. It’s offensive/a “slap in the face”/an insult. This argument deserves special attention. One reason for the special attention is because it’s not an argument. Saying “I’m offended” has no weight in any debate and it never will. If you care about freedom of speech or freedom of religion, then you can’t stop someone for saying something you don’t like or praying to a god you don’t believe in. There is no debate. You don’t get to decide what others are allowed to say or where they are allowed to pray, because the second you do is the second you’ve agreed that any form of a dissenting opinion is justifiably silenced.

If you care about individual rights, if you care about civil rights, if you believe that people should be allowed to worship as they desire so long as they themselves are not hurting someone else, if you believe people should be able to use their resources as they desire, if you believe in any form of questioning authority or challenging conventional wisdom, if you care about freedom, justice, sanctity, or equality, then the only justified position is unrelenting support for the creation of a “mosque” two blocks from Ground Zero. We owe it to the victims of 9/11 and to future generations to defend the freedoms that make living in this country worthwhile.

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