Christian Privilege, Bigotry Alive and Well in Kennesaw, GA

As we’ve seen in New York City, Murfreesboro, TN, and other places around the country, a whole lot of Christians really do think that the First Amendment applies only to them. When it comes to Muslims, they gleefully try to deny them even the most basic religious freedoms while demanding an ever more expansive definition of it for themselves. The city council in Kennesaw, Georgia is refusing to allow a Muslim group to rent property to worship in because they’re dumbest and most bigoted residents object to it.

Last month, a Muslim community in and around Kennesaw, Georgia asked the city council for the right to rent a 2200-square foot space in a local strip mall to conduct daily prayers and Friday services. The group argued that many of their worshippers currently have to drive long distances to meet with other Muslims for religious gatherings, and wanted to use the storefront as a temporary location until they found a more permanent home.

But after two weeks of heated debate, the council silently denied the community’s request on Monday night, striking down the measure in a 4-1 vote without further comment. Only one council member, Cris Eaton-Welsh, voted in favor of the motion.

“This is 100 percent, bar none, a First Amendment issue,” Eaton-Welsh told ThinkProgress, referring to the Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing all Americans the right to freely express their religion. “They have the right to assemble. I don’t understand their religion, but they have the right to do this.”

The rest of the council, however, did not agree. It wasn’t immediately clear why the majority of the council voted against the motion, but their actions were celebrated by opponents of the mosque, including many who protested outside the city council building before the vote. The demonstrators held signs with emblazoned with anti-Islam slogans such as “Ban Islam” and “Islam wants no peace!”, and appeared to oppose both the mosque and Islam in general.

“To me [the mosque] is a threat to my freedom, my liberties, and everything I own,” one demonstrator told local news station 11 Alive.

The city is using a familiar argument:

Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews listed more practical arguments for rejecting the temporary mosque, explaining to the Marietta Daily Journal that frequent Muslim prayer times could increase traffic in the area and interfere with the business of nearby shops. Mathews also reportedly told local news affiliate WSBTV that this was the first time the city had been asked to provide worship space in a retail center.

But as the Marietta Daily Journal reported on Monday, city records show that the council has allowed religious groups to use retail spaces in the past. Council members voted as recently as July to allow a Christian congregation — Redeemed Christian Fellowship Church — to inhabit a 4,000 square-foot retail space in the city, a unanimous vote that renewed a June 2013 decision to grant the Pentecostal community use of storefront property.

It’s funny how only Muslim groups cause traffic problems. It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma how that happens. This is just plain old bigotry and Christian privilege. In other words, it’s a day that ends in Y in America.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • blf

    It’s funny how only Muslim groups cause traffic problems.

    It’s the flying carpets. They need a lot of room to maneuver for landing and takeoff — have you ever seen a hundred try to take off at once, it’s chaos, CHAOS, I tell you… — and then there’s that Whoooosing noise.

  • themadtapper

    Muslim prayer times could increase traffic in the area

    Where I live, there’s a cop out on Sunday directing traffic outside a huge church to make sure there are no accidents and that church traffic doesn’t hold up other folks and vice versa. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Kennesaw has cops directing church traffic too. But Muslims? Oh no, can’t have Muslims causing traffic. Only Christians get to clog up the roads.

    and interfere with the business of nearby shops

    And I’m sure they banned Black Friday sales for the same reason, right? I mean, if their concern is with excessive people clogging up the mall and interfering with nearby shops, that seems like a no-brainer. Hell, should probably ban sales of any kind. Wouldn’t want too many people in a mall, now would we? The sad thing is, it by all rights should be a GOOD thing for the nearby shops. More people in the mall means more people that might decide to buy something while they’re there. The only reason they consider it a bad thing is because it’s Muslims.

  • John Hinkle

    The group argued that many of their worshippers currently have to drive long distances to meet with other Muslims for religious gatherings…

    Good. The further they drive the better. In fact, why don’t they drive back to where they came from dammit.

  • Larry

    Severe ass-whooping from the courts to the city council in 3.. 2.. 1..

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Ban Islam

    Dibs on Star Wars character name!

     

    themadtapper “More people in the mall means more people that might decide to buy something while they’re there. The only reason they consider it a bad thing is because it’s Muslims.”

    It’s both. It increases the number of customers, but those customers are Muslins. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stuck in line behind one who holds everything up while he stops to pray to Mecha or returns his tupperware because it’s not halal. Plus, there’s all that jihading!

  • John Pieret

    “To me [the mosque] is a threat to my freedom, my liberties, and everything I own,”

    Yeah! Just one of them mosque thingies moves into the neighborhood and there go all the home values!

  • colnago80

    Re themadtapper @ #

    In Fairfax Co., Virginia, there is a large Mosque just east of Seven Corners that has several Fairfax Co. officers directing traffic on Route 7 on Fridays.

  • cjcolucci

    Props to Cris Eaton-Welsh. I hop it doesn’t cost him, or her, his, or her, seat.

  • Kevin Kehres

    How does the city council get to decide who can rent space in their town? Even with zoning?

    Doesn’t make sense.

  • marcus

    They are trying to use zoning laws to restrict worship and as they should already know:

    Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act

    The land use provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq., protect individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws…

    My home county tried to limit the size of a proposed Christian church here using the same reasoning, the church brought suit based on the RLUIPA. I don’t always agree with how this law is implemented, but it is the law.

  • matty1

    Why would the frequent prayer times affect traffic? Islamic tradition does call for prayer five times a day but that is private prayer, prayers in the mosque are once a week same as Christian church services.

  • throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    “To me [the mosque] is a threat to my freedom, my liberties, and everything I own,” one demonstrator told local news station 11 Alive.

    Sounds like they have more to fear from an overzealous city council. There’s only going to be so much more shit that a persecuted minority will take before the bigot’s fears will be confirmed. They then ignore the impetus and say ‘told ya so’. For example: #Ferguson.

  • themadtapper

    Sounds like they have more to fear from an overzealous city council. There’s only going to be so much more shit that a persecuted minority will take before the bigot’s fears will be confirmed. They then ignore the impetus and say ‘told ya so’. For example: #Ferguson.

    You know, that’s a recurring theme with Republicans, and not just limited to race. They go out of their way to create the problems they tell people to be afraid of. Fear Obamacare, it’s a dangerous failure! (go out of their way to make it fail) Fear atheists, they’re using the courts to take your Jesus away! (go out of their way to pass laws that will get challenged in court) Obamacare, government in general, atheists, Muslims, blacks… they tell people to fear and despise these people and things (not necessarily in those words), then go out of their way to sabotage them all.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    @themadtapper

    It’s a con man’s trick — you wave something flashy (fearful) in the mark’s eyes and they won’t notice you picking their pocket. In the case of the fear mongers, the marks are more than happy to open their pockets.

  • magistramarla

    Here in Texas, the movie theaters all rent out a section to xtian churches on Sunday mornings. We like to catch a cheap Sunday morning showing of films to avoid the crowds, and we really detest having to navigate around the god-botherers who attempt to herd us into their “worship”.

    This simply didn’t happen in California. We were able to attend the theater without dealing with god-botherers.

    Oh, and nearly every strip mall contains a “worship center”.

    Reason 10001 to get the heck out of Texas as soon as possible.

  • laurentweppe
    Ban Islam

    Dibs on Star Wars character name!

    Bann Islam sounds more Fereldan than Alderaanian to me.

    ***

    More people in the mall means more people that might decide to buy something while they’re there. The only reason they consider it a bad thing is because it’s Muslims.

    Well of course it’s a bad thing: you can only spend time in a file behind a tired, overworked middle class muslim couple trying to keep their noisy hyperactive kids in check before starting to see these people as mundane human beings and feeling empathy toward them and we most certainly can’t have that.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    It’s pretty common for large businesses, private schools, churches and other organizations in the Chicago area to hire uniformed, off-duty police officers to direct traffic during peak traffic times. In fact, they’re often required to do so. The pay is pretty good and many cops rely on these jobs for a significant boost in their income.

    From the agenda for a village board meeting in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights:

    “The Hospital shall hire off-duty police officers to direct traffic at peak times “

  • Don Quijote

    Is comment Nº 3 supposed to be funny? If not it’s just stupid.

  • bbgunn

    “To me [the mosque] is a threat to my freedom, my liberties, and everything I own,” one demonstrator told local news station 11 Alive.

    Picture in my head: Demonstrator re-installs the original tires under the home and tows everything the family owns to a new pad site. After all, how much space can an armory, a couple of Ted Nugent CDs and the Duck Dynasty DVD collection take up?

  • culuriel

    Kevin @9- I can think of two reasons. The first is that the mosque will need some sort of business license to open. The other is that retail and public assembly are two distinct building code use groups, and the mosque would like to get a change of use from the city. Based on local govt, that could go through zoning, but the more likely department is building/planning.

  • Dave Maier

    “Is comment Nº 3 supposed to be funny? If not it’s just stupid.”

    I’m thinking so, yes. Not everyone’s got Modus’s chops I’m afraid.

  • erichoug

    “frequent Muslim prayer times could increase traffic in the area and interfere with the business of nearby shops”

    Yes, because getting a lot of traffic past your location is something business owners are always looking to avoid. Why I remember in my first job, the owner just couldn’t stand having all of those customers walking by, stopping in, buying stuff.

    Terrible.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Tsk, tsk, all this criticism.

    Please remember, folks: the Christians of Kennesaw, Georgia, are not (in spite of what you all may think) perfect – just forgiven!

  • forestdragon

    Not by me.