There has been a lot of talk lately about the opening of a mosque in New York City, to be located less than two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.
Naturally this has led to outrage from people around the nation, who see it as a direct insult to the memories of those who lost their lives on 9/11. Anyone who has read my postings on 9/11 know how much it affected me. I believe that the attackers were cowards.
Many people are calling on New York City to deny the mosque the right to be located so close to the WTC site. They see it as the Islamic equivalent of a victory marker. I can’t say that I disagree with that. I also understand the emotions at play in the response to this mosques being so close to a site that reminds us of the worst attack on American soil in our history.
Now, with all that being said. I am equally concerned with the amount of disregard for our nation’s rule of law, and the Constitution.
Many in the media have taken the opportunity to state that the mosque should be denied the right to be opened based only on the fact that it is a mosque. In my opinion this is a clear violation of the first amendment that guarantees the right to freedom of religion.
If the mosque were denied the right to open based on traffic issues or other current building codes of the city, there would be no problem. The problem in my view comes when you deny them the right based on the hatred of their religious beliefs.
I have been criticized for this view as you can well imagine, I have even been called a liberal for it. WOW!
The Constitution is not a document of convenance. You cannot wave it proudly when it suits your purpose, and then cast it aside when it runs counter to your purely emotional response to an issue. The people asking for the mosque to be denied the right to open based on a religious faith are willing to cast our entire system and rule of law aside, based on their hatred of those who took the mantle of that faith upon themselves and used it to kill.
The very minute that we sacrifice our rule of law to our emotions, we say to the world and to those who would defeat us, that we have no faith in our own system and our Constitution. We best protect our own freedoms and rights, by protecting the rights and freedoms of those around us, even those that we disagree with. We have seen in our recent history, times when Nazi groups were allowed to march through the streets of small town America. Not because the towns agreed with the views of the Nazis, but because the Constitution protects their rights, the same as it does those of the Jewish faith.
Some will say that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. These people are the ones who are allowing their hatred to rule over their common sense. They do not see the larger picture here. We have laws against murder, against terrorist activity. And if the powers that be can link this mosque in New York or any around the nation to anything that is illegal, then those mosque and those involved with them should be subject to prosecution.
I know that this is not a popular position to take on such an emotional issue. I know that some will accuse me of not caring about those we lost on 9/11. But I look to the Constitution for guidance on issues such as this, and I believe when the Constitution is adhered to, and is applied equally to all citizens , then it works. If, on the other hand it is used in an ad hoc form, it can be no more than a tool of the lawless.
Those who are screaming the loudest, those who while speaking of the opening of the mosque in New York, have also said things like,” I wouldn’t be surprised to see it burn”, are nothing more than the cowards that they condemn. When we speak this way, when we call for the use of laws to bar people , based on their religious faith, we run the real risk of having the same thing happen to ourselves in the future.
I ask those calling for the mosque to be denied the right to open, to think of this. What if the mosque is denied the right to open? Does this not set the precedent of denying a religious organization the right to exist? So what is to stop a town or city government-run by atheist from denying a Christian church the right to exist?
I say that these small-minded people calling for the mosque to be denied their right to open only on the fact of their religion, care nothing about this nation and its history, nor the very reasons it was founded.
When it comes to issues such as this, we can stand on the Constitution, we can stand behind it, but we cannot, I repeat, we cannot stand in front of it. We cannot put our own emotion before the rule of law that has served this nation so well, for so long. Those that would are actually a larger danger to our freedoms than those they condemn as enemies of this nation.