Tuesday, August 17, 2010

mockery of a sham of a travesty...

Amendment 1 to the Constitution of the United States of America:  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.

That is the high law of the land.  Congress shall make no law.  This has been enforced to the point where we don't have Christmas parties at the White House because to do so would suggest an endorsement of Christianity by the federal government (it doesn't, but that's another issue).  We take the right to freely express our religious beliefs seriously.

Well, at least we say we do.

And some people will even go to court to ensure that you don't foist your Christianity on them with a dastardly, vile wish of "merry Christmas".  

But if you want to build a mosque on so called "hallowed ground", well...

Well, yes, even that is protected by the first amendment.  And rightfully so.  CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW...  PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF...  It doesn't say "Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religions we deem acceptable within a given radius of some place".  That's asinine and completely ridiculous.  Besides, we don't want to give the federal government that much power.

Of course, the first amendment doesn't say anything about land use ordinances, zoning rules, or any other sort of community standard.  That said, establishing zoning rules that specifically excludes mosques is also pretty asinine and a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.  No, to do that you'll have to exclude ALL places of worship, and some could fairly argue that would include any and all shrines or monuments at the site of the so called "hallowed ground".  I'm not sure how atheistic shrines and monuments would evade that sort of ordinance, but atheists are hypocritical about their faith, anyway.

So, then, what to do.  There's no legal reason to prohibit a mosque anywhere in Manhattan.  Hell, there's no logical reason to prohibit a mosque anywhere in Manhattan.  Or anywhere else, for that matter.  We have a right to build a religious facility anywhere we want because that's a freedom that we, as Americans, have prohibited our federal government from taking from us and it is one of our core beliefs as a people.  CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW...  PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.  Period.  Besides, even if you prevented a mosque from being built at that site because of some irrational fear that a place of worship would be some sort of triumphalist monument of jihad, there's no way to prevent someone from merely walking by the site and puffing out their jihadi chest with pride.  No, no, no...  you can legislate actions, but not attitudes.

So, I guess what it boils down to is to just get over it.  There's no legal justification for stopping the building of a mosque.  It's against our constitution and against our values.  They CAN build wherever they want.

On the other hand, the question of SHOULD they build wherever they want is another question entirely.  I CAN build a strip club at the entrance to my neighborhood because in my fair city there are no zoning laws.  The question of whether or not I SHOULD build a strip club at the entrance to my neighborhood is an entirely different question.  Would I make some crazy cash off it?  Almost certainly.  Is it an appropriate business for that area?  Almost certainly not.  Of course, I don't live in Manhattan.  I'm not a member of that community.  And I don't think people in Omaha should be weighing in on how people in Manhattan utilize their building space.  How offensive is it, really, to people half a country away, and how much should that offense be weighed against the offense, or lack thereof, that Manhattanites feel?  And if the community really doesn't want the mosque there, do the builders of the mosque really want to be there?  Really?  I don't know the answer to that question either.  That's for them to decide.

I suppose the only caveat to all this would be the assumption that there are actually no links to terror groups.  Because if it were to be found that the group building the mosque actually were linked, in some way, to a terror group their assets, one would assume, would be frozen pending a full investigation.  Because that WOULD be an appropriate reason to legally and properly prevent a group from building any sort of edifice anywhere in the country.

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