This post (title included) in it's entirety was written by a college classmate of mine and posted as a note on his Facebook page. I have nothing to add but his words sum up my feelings about this particular issue. As many know I normally don't get involved with politics and while most of my blogging buddies are very anti-Obama administration I still support him as the Commander in Chief even though I am not always happy with every decsion he has made. But this time he is right to support the very beliefs this country were built on. And without futher adoo I am posting my friend Henry's blog post.
My disjointed thoughts on the so-called Ground Zero Mosque.....by Henry Brooks IV on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 9:32pm.
I never have claimed to be a biblical scholar nor have I ever played the role of learned political historian. You will probably never see me on MSNBC, CBS, or FOX News giving "expert" analysis of the difference between Orthodox Jews and Hasidic Jews or the similarities between Suni and Shiite Muslims. That's not my field and I would end up looking like a complete idiot if the questions moved anywhere past the surface of any discussion on theology. Luckily, I understand my limitations and try (very hard) not to step into that area with my $0.02 lest someone make intellectual change out of me. In this way, I am much like a majority of Americans...I can quote enough scriptures from the King James Bible and sing enough hymns to look like I attended Sunday School as a youth and quote enough from the U.S. Constitution to show you that I watched the ABC network every Saturday morning so I wouldn't miss Schoolhouse Rock.
Now that I've laid out my qualifications (which are minimal), I want to express my thoughts on a topic that's been scraping the chalkboard of mid-term election politics for the last week or so: The Ground Zero Mosque.
First, let's get some facts. Contrary to the popular title being given to it, this project is neither a mosque nor is it even at Ground Zero. A group of American citizens has decided to go into a dying part of lower Mannhattah, purchase a building in disrepair, demolish it and build a cultural center. This center will be open to all people and will have a swimming pool, gym, culinary school, library, 500 seat auditorium, and host childrens services, programs, and exhibitions. The group happens to be Muslim. There will be a mosque. There will also be a September 11th memorial.
What's wrong with that? Sounds like a good idea, huh? Build a community center for all to enjoy, create some jobs, clean up a dying area of the city, possibly spark other businesses to open in the area...this is a GREAT idea, right? Ok, here is where things get a little tricky. The Cultural Center will be built roughly 2 blocks from Ground Zero and this is obviously causing people serious emotional damage. The question is, why?
Many of those in objection to the cultural center claim that it is being built too close to the place where radical Muslim extremists flew 2 planes into the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. They say that building the center, which will include a mosque, so close dishonors the memory of those who lost their lives on that day and in that spot.
This is where I get confused.
Is my hearing bad or are these people saying that being a Muslim means you are so closely associated with terrorists that you SHOULD want to forfiet your rights as a citizen so that our feelings dont' get hurt and we can keep holding on to our religious bigotry.
I get confused because I don't understand how we, as freedom loving, flag waving, liberty huggin', rights totin' Americans, can allow ourselves to make the blanket association and accusation that all Muslims are terrorists. Now, some of you will take offense at that statement and if I cared I might apologize but since I don't care...STAND OFFENDED. If two weeks ago you were thanking our troops for fighting for our freedoms and today you are saying that all Muslims are terrorists and EVEN...then you just dropped your pants and took a huge dump on the American Flag. Yeah, you did.
You see, freedom ain't free, righteousness ain't always comfortable and protecting a just society is hard work.
As Americans we have a responsibility to stand up for the rule of law that protects each of us. The fact that we don't agree with someone's stance doesn't give us the right to fight against their right to have and express that opinion. We should smack the taste out of the mouth of anyone that stifles dissent. Dissent is what makes this country great. Dissent is what keeps our U.S. Constitution living. Dissent is what gives us the right to express our opinions, argue, scream, and shout at each other and then go enjoy a low-fat mocha latte together once we decide to agree to disagree. It doesn't mean that we wont fight tomorrow. It doesn't mean that we are enemies. It only means that we disagree and thank God that we live in a country where we can have an open discussion about our differences without worrying about being tossed in jail or killed. That's freedom.
We must fight to protect this right. Whether you are Jewish, Christian, Siek, Hindi, or even Muslim. You don't have the right to write off an entire religion because of its crazies. No one should write off Christianity or be afraid of Christians because of the acts of some radical Christian extremists. As a matter of fact, we (Chrisitans) tend to qualify such statements with the caveat, "...but they aren't really Christians. Not if they would do that." Why can't we accept that Muslims feel the same way about their crazies?
Build the Center. Open it to all who visit the area. Run a shuttle to the Ground Zero monument so that people can understand the true meaning of Islam. Our founding fathers understood it and they wrote about it. Ben Franklin (remember him?) wrote that
"even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service." -Benjamin Franklin
Since I'm a brotha and we are talking about reconciliation and peace you know I couldn't leave you without a Martin Luther King, Jr quote so here it goes:
"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
So to those who are afraid of the center becoming a training ground for radical muslims I ask if this center scares you? If so, why? Are you afriad of Muslims or are you afraid of the unknown? Whatever your answer, I suggest you visit an Islamic center and learn a little more. To those who would ask if this center is "politic" or a good move I would counsel them to look past the current pain or political climate and seek the answer in the long term. Do you hate Muslims or do you hate Hate? To those who ask is it right I would tell them to stand on that which gives us the right to even ask that question...the Constitution of the United States of America.
I'll close with a quote from George Bernard Shaw about Liberty
"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." - George Bernard Shaw
Liberty does mean responsibility. Sometimes you have to do what you NEED to do in order to do what you want to do. We NEED to protect free speech, promote cultural exchanges, promote peace and understanding amongst fellow citizens of different races, religions, and beliefs. But if you want to continue to spew hatred and fan
the flames of discord over the center, feel free. You have that right.
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