With all the brouhaha about the whackadoodle in Florida who thinks that certain books ought to be used as kindling, I figured I should weigh in on it. Actually, I think I just did — if you’re still in the dark as to my position on that, then let me refer you to Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin on the matter — I think they sum it up nicely. Let me also emphasize that, while I couldn’t give a flying fart about what homicidal maniacs may or may not be offended at, it does annoy me that goodly portions of their insane ire will be directed at our troops who, due to equally insane Rules of Engagement, won’t be able to do a damn thing about it. Also, having been on the receiving end of religious nastiness myself, my heart aches for the slap in the face that this is to all the Muslims, here in the U.S. and throughout the rest of the world, who actually like us, or at least don’t want to kill us. Way to be classy, Pastor Jones and Co.
Come to think of it, what is it with pastors named Jones, and why do they persist in doing crazy and/or stupid things?
Anyway, I linked to Sarah Palin’s astute take on the matter on my Facebook page; as a result, I got a message from my brother-in-law, who I am quite fond of. He told me that, while he agrees with Sarah’s stance on the Koran-burning, her opinion on the Ground Zero Mosque was really just one of religious intolerance — after all, if it was Catholics who had committed the terrorism, would we be so angry about a cathedral being built there? He then expressed his assurance that I, as a thinking person, shared his point of view.
I appreciate being thought of as a thinking person — believe me, there’s been a lot of time in my life where that would have been a misnomer. And I have been thinking about this. A lot. I’ve talked to other people who have been thinking about this. I’ve heard arguments for and against. And I’ve come to my conclusions.
Is there any doubt that Imam Rauf and his merry band of Sharia enthusiasts have the right to build this mosque? No. They have just as much right as the Westboro Baptist Church does to picket funerals with signs that say, “God hates fags;” as much right as the NAACP has to levy vile, unfounded accusations against Tea Parties; as much right as communist/anarchist groups have to burn the flag; and yes, as much right as Pastor Jones and his cadre of haters have to burn a book.
But the very fact that he’s insisting on building it at Ground Zero speaks volumes about this man’s intentions. Christ said, “By their fruits shall ye know them,” meaning, obviously, that a person’s actions will tell you much more about the intents of his heart than his words ever could. By this one fact alone, we know that Imam Rauf and his ilk have no intention of building bridges, dialogue, or little doilies made of pink and white construction paper hearts. The very location of this proposed mosque is a deliberate act of provocation. To say that the opposition is born of intolerance or bigotry or xenophobia is as absurd as claiming that the main (or only) reason people oppose our President’s policies is because of his relatively high cutaneous melanin levels. Muslims who are fundamentally opposed to the twisted ideals that drove those nineteen evil men to fly planes full of people into buildings full of other people would never dream of putting a mosque at Ground Zero. Why? Because no decent person would do that. You don’t stab someone in the eye in a show of solidarity.
Having been, as mentioned earlier, at the receiving end of a fair amount of religious bigotry, I tend to be pretty open-minded about the religious beliefs and practices of other people. I don’t care that Muslims tend to pray in the fetal position on special rugs, or that they seem to have a penchant for turbans. (I do care, quite a lot, about how the more radical ones treat women, little boys, gays, and apostates, but that’s another topic.) To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, if it neither breaks legs nor picks pockets, I don’t care. I don’t even care if you want to worship the Purple Monkey Sock Puppet Zamboni. And then, if you want to build a shrine to honor your sock puppet — by all means. Welcome to America. Don’t litter. However, if you propose to put that shrine in a building that, nearly ten years ago, was baptized in the ashes of innocent people who were pulverized in the name of Zamboni — well, then I take issue.
And we haven’t even touched on the other unsavory crap surrounding this little project — things like Rauf’s fondness of Sharia law, or his taxpayer funded fundraising jaunt to the Middle East, or the fact that the mosque’s first name was the Cordoba House, or this fun, new little soundbite about how moving the mosque would “endanger the troops.” Cute. Maybe Rauf thought, “Hey, it worked for the guy with the stars on his shoulders.” You know, Mr. Imam, when General David Petraeus says that something would endanger the troops, it’s a warning. When you say it, it kinda comes across as a threat. Perhaps, if you were really concerned about the effect of your little Victory Mosque on U.S. troops, you would have planned to build it elsewhere in the first place. You know, since any sentient being could have guessed that the selection of this particular location would be seen as an affront to 9/11 victims and their families, and that lots of people would be stridently opposed to it. Just sayin’.
I pray that this thing gets moved. Or, if that won’t happen, I fervently hope that Greg Gutfeld’s plans for a gay bar next door come to fruition. I could tolerate that.