“To Mosque or Not to Mosque”

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28 Responses

  1. Avatar Rufus says:

    Hey Rick Ungar! Glad to see you here.Report

  2. Avatar andrew e. says:

    “So, you gotta ask yourself – do we want it that bad?
    Are the majority of Americans who have voiced their opposition to the proposed Cordoba Cultural Center willing to accept the construction and operation of this mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero even though they are made extremely uncomfortable by its existence?”

    In a word- no. Listen to talk radio and Fox News or even much of CNN. Take a look at the comments of almost any news article about the Park51 project. Listen to almost any Republican politician or talking head or Harry Reid or the ADL. Fear and emotion rule the day and the mob is out for blood. Forget the Constitution- it’s all about feelings, nothing more than feelings.Report

  3. Avatar 62across says:

    Excellent post!Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    One of the things that definitely bugs me is when folks like Kos argue that Republicans provide the only hope for fiscal sanity in this country. I know what the Republicans are like, deep down. I saw what they did when they were in charge without meaningful opposition from 2002-2006.

    Those 4 years show us the true colors of the Republican party.

    More than that, those 4 years show us the true colors of the Republican Party supporters.

    Instead of seeing stuff like meaningful debate over, say, Terri Schiavo, we saw Randall Terry (again). Instead of seeing meaningful debate over Fiscal Restraint, we were told that deficits don’t matter and the only thing that does matter is the war on terror. So on and so forth.

    So now, when Republicans are out of power, we see them making appeals to a restrained executive, the importance of living within one’s means, so on and so forth.

    What makes this so infuriating is that I know, thanks to 2002-2006, that they don’t believe these things.

    They only say them because they know that *I* believe them.

    Which brings us to the whole Mosque thing.

    I know for a fact that they have every right to build whatever they want on that ground. I support their right to build whatever they want. Yay property rights! Yay religious freedom!

    But I also think that the whole “Muslim gay bar” thing works to display what’s really going on here. I am a huge fan of the Muslim gay bar. I think we need more Muslim gay bars. Lord knows, the Muslims could use a couple.

    The response from the guys in charge of Cordoba to the gay bar exactly mimics the responses of the “of course I support their *RIGHT* to do it, I just don’t think it’s very sensitive!” Republicans who are wishy-washy when cornered about whether the Mosque should be allowed to be built.

    Which sort of lets the cat out of the bag.

    The guys in charge of this religious building are not saying these things because they believe them.

    They’re saying these things because they know that I do.

    And it’s hard not to see them as perfectly analogous to the Republicans.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      @Jaybird, I’m not following the muslim gay bar as closely as you are- what did the guys in charge of building the mosque say? I looked for your links elsewhere and can’t find them either.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        @Rufus F., the response was “You’re free to open whatever you like. If you won’t consider the sensibilities of Muslims, you’re not going to build dialog”

        Which, in a nutshell, is the debate, isn’t it?

        Anyway, I understand that Greg Gutfeld’s official name for the Muslim Gay Bar is now “Dialog”.

        Which, if you think about it, is a hell of a lot more scathing than “Underwear Bombers”.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. says:

          @Jaybird, Given the intent, “Rumi’s” would be a lot better. But I still don’t see what response would be preferable on the part of this group- 1. They blow a gasket because that would be more honest than pretending to be tolerant, or 2. They embrace the gay bar because then they’d really be tolerant.

          Personally, I don’t like everyone, but whatever tolerance I have is because I don’t think that failing to foster dialog is sufficient cause to be driven out of the neighborhood, but I’m not sure why that’s not a sensible position.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            @Rufus F., I see it as the difference between “tolerance” and “approval”.

            I tolerate Fundamentalist Christianity. I certainly don’t approve of it. I tolerate Statist Progressivism. I certainly don’t approve of it. I am a huge fan of arguing full-throatedly against both… but I don’t believe that it’s appropriate to use the force of law to jerk such folks around.

            We have freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances which strikes me as justification for pretty much any group of (peaceful) people to kvetch, bitch, and moan to the government about whatever dumb-assed wild hair that happens to be flying up their collective asses this week… be it some folks building a mosque, some folks complaining about folks building a mosque, or some folks complaining about the folks complaining about the folks building a mosque.

            Putting up with it is tolerance.

            If, however, one wishes to build dialog, I’d have to agree with the Muslim fella “If you won’t consider the sensibilities of (whatever thin-skinned group is out there), you’re not going to build dialog”.

            What do you want to do?

            Whatever you want?
            Or build dialog?

            Because, when the topic is religion, I’d be shocked (SHOCKED) to find out that doing both is possible.Report

            • Avatar Rufus F. says:

              @Jaybird, Okay, well I agree with this, so at least you and I are building dialog.

              But isn’t it possible that the people building the mosque had a different intention than someone calling for a Muslim gay bar next door? There seems to be this belief that the mosque builders intended to give deep offense to Americans and constructed this elaborate plan to do so. Meanwhile, they claim that they expected the mosque to open a dialog and didn’t realize that people would take such offense. It seems to me that the question is whether they were malicious or shortsighted- but my general experience is that people are shortsighted a lot more often than they’re malicious. Is your opinion that this is all disingenuous?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @Jaybird, I’m pretty sure that the Muslims who wanted to build the mosque had *COMPLETELY* different intentions than the folks who want to build the Muslim Gay Bar.

              The events that followed, however, seem to communicate that dialog is not, in fact, being built. Indeed, building the Muslim Gay Bar will not build dialog but instead put a thumb into the eye of folks who have religious beliefs that find homosexuality to be sinful… just as Double-G intended.

              And the Muslims who wish to build the community center have found out that they have put their thumb into the eyes of folks.

              If you’d like to have a conversation of the relative merits of people who are offended by Muslims to the merits of the Muslims who are offended by homosexuals, I’d be down.

              Personally, I think that they’re all a bunch of thin-skinned dolts who think that they’re entitled to live in a world where people give a shit about how thin-skinned they are and, in turn, makes their calls for “tolerance” all the more transparent.

              It’s not about building dialog.

              It never has been.

              It’s been about the fantasy that others will, with tears in their eyes, finally agree with us once they hear the unadulterated truths that we’ve known in our hearts since our parents taught them to us without the filters of untruths taught to them by their misled parents.Report

        • Avatar Bob says:

          @Jaybird, I was thinking of calling it Mohamed Atta Boy, or maybe just Atta Boy.Report

  5. Avatar andrew e. says:

    Continuing the chain of imaginary offensiveness to stereotypes, I plan to open a Babies R Us next to the gay bar next to the mosque next to Ground Zero. Next to the Babies R Us I will open a pornographic bookstore, and next to that I will open a police station. Next to the police station I will open a hip-hop recording studio, and next to that I will open an Applebees. Next to the Applebees I will open a TGI Fridays (those guys HATE each other) and next to the TGI Fridays I will open a methadone clinic. Next to the methadone clinic I will open a crack house, and finally, next to that, I will open a Catholic church adjoining a daycare center for attractive boys, adjacent to which I will just blow up whatever’s there so I can erect a memorial, and next to that memorial I will open a community center dedicated to a locally inconvenient ethnicity that I hired to blow up the original structure on the memorial site. Next to that I’m just going to put up some condos.Report

  6. Avatar 62across says:

    Just to circle the conversation back to Rick’s original post, isn’t all this talk of sensitivities (real or imagined) and motives (stated or concealed) really beside the point?

    As American citizens, it comes down to whether we’re going to stand by our core principles or not. The rest is just noise.Report

  7. Avatar Scott says:

    If the Catholic nuns could leave their convent at Auschwitz, I fail to see why the Muslims can’t leave the WTC site alone.


    • Avatar Bob says:

      @Scott, no one is saying they “can’t leave.” They could put the building on the market, sell and pack-up. The question is governmental interference. You know, like the pope telling the nuns to get out.Report

    • Avatar Rick Ungar says:

      @Scott, As a Jew, I saw no reason whatsoever for the nuns to give up their convent at Auschwitz. Indeed, I thought it a fitting tribute that at a place one filled with death and horrendous acts, the land was now being used by women seeking to do good and bring peace. As a further answer, suggesting that the Pope’s demand that the nuns leave Auschwitz goes with the same logic as those carries signs saying that we will allow a mosque near Ground Zero when Saudi Arabia allows synagogues to be built in their country. Since when are American ideals and core beliefs subject to relative and comparative validation? Just because the Pope acted in a certain way doesn’t mean that it is consistent with our core values. Just because the Saudis deny religious freedom doesn’t mean America must follow suit. Constitutional rights are the subject of horse trading or sticking out your tongue and saying “nah nah nah nah nah”. They are fundamental, hugely important to who we are, and not meant to be withheld simply because another country or personality choses to do so.Report

  8. Avatar Eagle Driver says:

    Rick thank you for an excellent logical discourse on the pros and cons of a government based on principles not on politics. Your comments are desperately needed in this political football game that forgot that there are rules and boundaries. The non-leaders (called Senators and Congressmen) that permeate Washington DC (Congress & the pundits from Fox to CNN to MSNBC to etc.) have forgotten the rules and ignore the referees whistle – it is called the Constitution and specific to this conversation (oh there’s a forgotten concept: a conversation) the Bill of Rights. The comment that resonated was:

    “The area in question is currently populated by numerous porn shops and other businesses that clearly ignore the hallowed ground status of the location.”

    Outstanding observation of some, dare I say hypocrisy!? This is followed up by your surmise of:

    “Ultimately, the war against fundamentalist Islam will not be won or lost by terrorist attacks on American soil or Predator air strikes. These are but the battles and skirmishes in the larger war.”

    And so the larger war must be the education of the society, especially the youth. The education is followed up by our actions of:

    “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.” Amendment 1 to the U.S. Constitution ratified Dec. 15, 1791

    Rick, although I am offended by the location, I am an American military man like my father before me and my son after me (two tours in Iraq) and I swore an oath to “defend the U.S. Constitution” not a political party whether it is Democratic or Republican. To coin an earlier phrase in politics: “It’s the Constitution stupid!” Well written Rick! Thank you.Report