Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Message to Representative Tim Bishop on the Park 51 Cultural Center

Representative Bishop,

I am most disappointed in your statement opposing the muslim cultural center two blocks from any part of the Ground Zero site (and several more from where the towers actually stood).

Do you not realize that the only reason the issue is divisive is because bigots in the rightwing blogesphere and media made it so?

Do you not realize that a right is only a right if you are free to actually exercise it, without protest from government officials such as yourself?

There is nothing insensitive or unwise about building a muslim cultural center near Ground Zero, unless you believe that muslims as a whole are responsible for 9/11, or you're willing to allow a ginned up mob of bigots to determine your standards of morality.

I have seen no polls of 9/11 families on this issue, so I question the "sensitivity" issue to start with, but even if they are by and large opposed, there is no American or Constitutional right not to be offended in this country. (In fact, the first amendment all but guarantees that at some point, every American likely will be offended by something another American says or does.)

I can appreciate that some 9/11 families may irrationally blame all muslims for the murder of their family member, but that doesn't make them right. And just as we wouldn't permit anyone to bar any jewish family from buying a house in a neighborhood where someone was murdered by a jewish man, even if the family of the murdered man was "sensitive" to jews after losing their family member, we cannot allow an irrational distrust of all muslims based on the acts of 19 extremists, to take hold in this case.

Please reconsider your statement, and stand up for the Constitution, not only in theory, but in practice.

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