Monday, August 16, 2010

In Reply: " That hole is their symbolic 'victory mosque,' not some cultural center."

In reply to: WyBlog -- Who Was That Mosqued Man?

No one has the right not to be offended here in America. We are a nation of laws, not of men, or of feelings. That they have the right to build should be the end of the issue, at least legally. Fake zoning hearings and landmark status pleas are beneath us as Americans.

And really, why shouldn't they build? What is it about this cultural center or the people who're involved in it or who will be served by it that so offends Mrs Palin and the rest? And since when do we Americans put rights or sensibilities up for a vote, anyway?
When Fred Phelps shows up to disrupt and desecrate a solemn memorial service for a fallen soldier we don't get all huffy about "religious freedom".
On the other hand, we don't oppose all Baptists (or everyone from Westboro), either. Opposing a cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero because it's being built by muslims, on the basis that the terrorists who took down the towers also claimed to be muslims, is little more than bigotry based on a sweeping generalization that suggests all muslims are potential terrorists.

That there are questions about the financing of the center make slightly more sense, but I don't hear too many opponents suggesting that they believe the center can proceed if the answers don't bear out any of the suppositions about "terrorist funding" being made. (And neither the money questions or the "sensitivity" issue explains why conservatives are opposing muslim mosques and cultural centers all over the US.)

Rather than making me rethink the muslim cultural center, the story about the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church makes me question why so much hasn't been rebuilt so long after 9/11. To me that is a far greater insensitivity to the families of 9/11 and to New York City as a whole than any muslim cultural center, or mosque, or Greek Orthodox church, for that matter.

(Personally, I'd love for the whole area to be strewn with churches and mosques and chapels and synagogues and temples representing the faith of every person who died in the towers, along with places to reflect and to mourn and to remember.)

But whatever they're going to build, they ought to get started. That Ground Zero is still a hole in the ground all these years later offends me far more than this proposed cultural center. At this point, I'd prefer the pre-Disneyfied Times Square. Porn shops, topless bars & hookers better represent NYC and showing the terrorists we cannot be beaten than that damned hole. That hole is their symbolic "victory mosque," not some cultural center.

Posted 8/16/10, 1:00 PM

Related: St. Nicholas Church (including links to local stories about the difficulties of getting the church rebuilt and a place to donate, if you wish to help.)

Mayor Bloomberg: Deal To Rebuild Greek Orthodox Church Near Ground Zero May Be Near

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