Keith Olbermann’s Take on the (Close To) Ground Zero Mosque

Yet another opinion on Park51, this time from Keith Olbermann:

“This is America, dammit, and in America, when somebody comes for your neighbor, or his Bible, or his Torah, or his Atheist Manifesto, or his Koran, you and I do what our fathers did and our grandmothers did and our Founders did. You and I speak up!”

I know a lot of atheists don’t have a lot of respect for religion, much less Islam. But I’ve always known (most) atheists to defend believers’ rights to practice these faiths.

I’m disappointed that so many of us are against it in this case.

(Thanks to Jeff for the link)

  • http://www.asdf.com Harrison

    Nobody has said it better.

  • http://idleeyesandadormy.blogspot.com/ Sean

    Although I am an out loud and proud atheist and gay man and am not a fan (to put it lightly) of organized religion or the houses it is worshiped in, I am no hypocrite and my dislike of the concept doesn’t warrant my taking action to prevent it any more than their dislike of me justifies any action that would limit my liberties. Freedom for all means just that, and the way people are turning this into an “us” vs “them” and trying to deny the right of these people to erect their house of worship based on irrational fear, ignorance and hatred is disgusting to me. How quick we are to demonize a segment of our society based on the actions of a few. Have we learned nothing?

  • http://www.noforbiddenquestions.com NFQ

    How many atheists are you encountering who are against this? Maybe it’s just that I have started tuning people out when they make the same old tired arguments, but I was under the impression that the predominant atheist feeling was pro (or at least, not anti).

    Matt Yglesias made a particularly insightful point on this here — “people simply don’t actively support the construction of other people’s religious monuments.” you shouldn’t expect anyone except for Muslims to be “in favor” of building a mosque, in the immediate sense. Nobody except Muslims believes that Islam is true. But that isn’t the question on the table. It’s not, “Are you thrilled about the construction of a new Islamic cultural center?” It’s, “Do you recognize the right of people who think differently from you to exercise their first amendment rights?”

  • http://www.givesgoodemail.com Givesgoodemail

    It’s not that I oppose the mosque itself.

    I object to the timing (the 10th anniversary of 9/11, FFS!), the deliberately provocative location, and the complete lack of empathy for those who lost loved ones.

    I don’t agree with the wackadoodles who have knee-jerk reactions against Islam, but I can’t agree with this particular circumstance.

  • Claudia

    I can sort of see the bind many people find themselves in, because the position we are asked to take is so binary “Support the center” or “Oppose the center”. I’m betting there are a fair number of people who are “Support the freedom to build the center, while not thinking it’s a particularly good idea”. People who take this last position are taking a very different position from those who want the center “stopped” (apparently by magic, since reminders of the 1st ammendment just lead to them grumbling “yeah but still…”). To use a very extreme example; you can support the right of the KKK to march in Harlem whie still thinking its a very bad idea and opposing the message of the KKK.

    However those who oppose this center either need to make a convincing case as to why this place is destined to be a terrorist condoning wasps nest, or come out and openly say that they consider any Islam to be directly equivalent to Osama bin Laden style terrorist loving nihilist death worship. If an Islamic center is “insensitive” then it must be concluded that Muslims are collectively guilty for actions committed in the name of their religion. This presumably includes the bereaved Muslim families of Muslims killed on 9/11.

    If you looked around the US, I wonder how many Catholic Churches you could find close to centers dealing with sexual abuse. The victims of sexual abuse by priests could be quite understandably offended by the idea of a seminary opening up next to their therapy center. To those who say that the center should open somewhere else, would you also object to the seminary? If not, why not?

  • http://molotovcocktailparty.net Discount Deity

    I object to the timing (the 10th anniversary of 9/11, FFS!), the deliberately provocative location, and the complete lack of empathy for those who lost loved ones.

    What are you basing this on? I haven’t heard anything from the folks building the mosque that suggests the timing or the location were meant to be insensitive or provocative.

    Some might see a mosque near Ground Zero as tacky or insensitive, but that perception doesn’t necessarily prove that that was the motivation.

    I think the 9/11 victims’ families deserve respect, of course, but I don’t think that respect needs to take the form of Muslims accepting any responsibility for the actions of a handful of extremists (which I think would be implied by self-imposed restrictions on where and when mosques are built).

  • Viggo the Carpathian

    The man is right… this is just more hate from the alarmists

  • MarkP

    I have not heard of any atheists saying that the mosque should be stopped. References please? All I have heard are people saying it is a bad idea, but that they have every right to build it. Even Sam Harris’ take, which many are claiming is anti-mosque, clearly states that they have every right to build it. Others just also have every right to say that they don’t like it.

  • cassiek

    I agree with Harrison. Beautifully put and well done, Keith.

  • Aaron

    The Daily Show said something like:

    Should we allow a Catholic church to be built near a playground, or is it too soon?
    Should Jews wear yarmulkes on Good Friday? Isn’t it insensitive to Christians for them to wear their “murder caps” on the day they killed Jesus?

  • JB Tait

    How far is far enough? By what definition of “close” is Area51[sic] “too” close? Would it be OK if it were built a block further away? Two blocks? Miles? In Salt Lake City?

    What about a monument to the Muslims who died that day, right at the site? Are their names to be stricken from the list?

    What if the terrorists had been without religion? Would the complainers then be objecting to a non-religious structure? No Macy’s for you, because the terrorists wore Santa Claus suits?

    Why can’t the Christians see the mosque as a mark of Muslim sympathy for their loss? As in: We will honor your (and our) dead by building a place of worship nearby.

  • Hitch

    They simply do not need my permission. One could call that “I’m for the mosque” but I don’t even need to be for the mosque. Noone asks me if they can build a church or a synagogue anywhere either. And they darn well shouldn’t have to.

    There are some cases where community may be concerned about some building. For example building a nuclear power plant right next to major schools, but the kinds of cross-dependency that would trigger a right to be part of the table, clearly don’t apply here.

    The whole sensitivity thing is a flawed. There is no guilt by association or shared belief-structure (if that can even be established). Certainly we wouldn’t forbid someone to build a church of a denomination some abortion doctor murderer held, near some abortion clinic, if there is no sign at all that the church itself promoted the violence.

    But people being free to build and buy anywhere does not mean that I agree with ideas promoted, or even the reason why it was built. That that is the nature of toleration. We allow things to happen that we disagree with, but as long as people uphold the rules of coexistence, pluralism and toleration in return there is nothing to argue here.

  • Hitch

    Cenk has a good rant on this too:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lzp5sKG0NX0

    (cannot miss to notice frivolous Nazi comparisons, and yes it’s spot on)

  • Angel

    I object to the timing (the 10th anniversary of 9/11, FFS!), the deliberately provocative location, and the complete lack of empathy for those who lost loved ones.

    Three things.

    Would it have been more tasteful to have it 9 years after the event? Or 14?

    The location has a mosque. It predates the date of the event. What is actually being “debated” is a community centre.

    I wasn’t aware that when the towers fell, only caucasian judeo-christians died.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net Yet Another Atheist

    The one thing that gets to me is the whole “perceived insult” thing. A few people are paranoid enough to think there’s an intent to insult 9/11 victims, and suddenly that makes it OK to prevent this community center from going up.

    If it were a real, actual mosque actually near Ground Zero, I could maybe see their point.

    If there were real, provable links to al Qaeda and terrorists, and not just half-baked rumors and lies, then I might be able to see their point.

    If we didn’t have a First Amendment that allowed for unconditional freedom of religion, then I could definitely see their point.

    I don’t think nearly as many people would be “insulted” if the right wing didn’t politicize this and twist the facts around to fit their perverted agenda.

  • keddaw

    They have a legal right to do it.

    All else is whining. (Wah, I find that offensive, wah-wah.)

  • Vas

    Sure they have a right to build their place of worship, (yeah I know, community center with the top 2 floors as prayer rooms, not a mosque) just like anyone else. That being said I personally oppose the building of any and all houses of worship for any and all faiths. Unamerican? Not really… I’m not doing anything to try and stop these houses of worship from being built, I recognize their right to do so, I just don’t like them and oppose them philosophically. I’d be happy if there was never another house of worship built in America and happier still if they tore down those now existing. Do I oppose this community center, (Park 51) any more than any other religiously affiliated building in any other spot? No.

    You know here in California the Catholics built a string monuments to their atrocities and conquest of the indigenous people, the California Missions. The California school system taught me all about it in the third grade complete with having me build a model of one of them and making field trips to see them first hand, (Facepalm). Everyone seemed to think the Missions were a fine idea, (BTW thanks for the non-native, invasive, mustard you conquering assholes). Hell the community center (park 51) isn’t even anything to do with the Trade Center attack so why the opposition? Can’t say that about the Catholics.

    Here’s any idea how about everybody stop building monuments to their own gullability.
    V

  • http://everydayatheist.wordpress.com Everyday Atheist

    @ keddaw said:

    They have a legal right to do it.

    All else is whining. (Wah, I find that offensive, wah-wah.)

    I second this, while noting people (Sam Harris included) also have the right to whine. As long as no one’s legal rights are infringed, everyone can whine all they want. It’s the willingness of our Constitution to countenance something that offends that must be protected. That’s where we show our national strength.

  • Gauldar

    A building is just a structure. It’s the mindset of the people inside that I may, or may not have a problem with.

  • Andrew Morgan

    Jesus H: how many times does it have to be said that supporting their right to build it doesn’t conflict with the idea that it’s a monumentally fucked up idea? Fuckin’ a. Misrepresent more.

  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    I object to the timing (the 10th anniversary of 9/11, FFS!), the deliberately provocative location, and the complete lack of empathy for those who lost loved ones.

    The amount of wrong in this statement is just astounding.

    There’s nothing indicating ANYWHERE that it’s opening on the anniversary of 9/11 (and even if it WAS, wouldn’t a community center that betters the community be a fitting way to remember the camaraderie we enjoyed as Americans following the attacks?)

    How is it provocative to build the Muslim equivalent of a YMCA near Ground Zero when there is an actual mosque another couple of blocks over? Is it that it’s new that’s provocative? Do we not want our Muslim friends to have nice things?

    I’m going to guess that in 3000 people, one or two of them were not white Christians. But perhaps we don’t need to show any kind of sympathy for them?

  • Judith Bandsma

    Olberman picks up the mantle of Murrow. Thank you.

  • Brice Gilbert

    Sorry, but the building is over 2 blocks away from ground zero. Not only do they have the right to build it, but I see no reason to think this is insensitive in any way.

  • False Prophet

    To riff on Olberman’s bit: I am an atheist. I am not an atheist because I hate God, or hate religious people, or because I personally had negative experiences with religion. I have just never been given a good reason to accept the existence of a deity.

    But first and foremost, I am committed to the principles of liberal democracy. There’s no other system in the world that would let me hold my minority views without fear for my life, liberty and livelihood. Whine all you want, then let them build their damned community centre.

  • Andrew Morgan

    “Olberman picks up the mantle of Murrow. Thank you.”

    Ha, you dishonor Murrow.

  • Guy Allen

    Let the Islamic Center be built, but to be fair, they have to let some guy sell little figurines of Mohammed on the sidewalk right in front of the building…

    THAT is America.

  • jose

    In order to demonstrate good will and super cozy warm interfaithy feelings they should host an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day!” event every year.

  • gwen

    Let them build the community center. It is their first amendment right. It is a manufactured controversy. You can’t see it from Ground Zero, no one goes to that part of the town, it is dilapidated with lower property prices and empty buildings. The community center will likely do the neighborhood good as an anchor for other businesses. There has been a mosque even closer to the WTC for more than 40 years…I haven’t heard a peep about that! I don’t like religion, As an atheist I wish they would all go away…but I am afraid the human condition would replace it with worse! Meanwhile, I am not for taking away rights of a group of people, especially when I can remember in the not too distant past, when the rights of my people were systematically ignored.

  • TychaBrahe

    The problem is the conflict between what the mosque means to America and what it means to Islamic Jihadists.

    To America, the mosque is a symbol of our religious freedom. The fact that people who are not of the majority religion can build a house of worship is the most important part of our fundamental freedoms.

    But to many Islamic Jihadists–who are not necessarily the people associated with building the mosque–it represents the conquest of America. Islam has a long history of building mosques on the grounds of religious building of other faiths. The original Great Mosque of Cordoba was built on a Christian church after the Muslims took the city of Cordoba, Spain, in 711.

    The fact is that Osama bin Laden is not some random weird nutcase using his personal twisted vision of Islam to justify his unrelated hatreds. He is not the Islamic version of Jim Jones. There are Muslims around the world who agree with him that Islam must take down the west and bring the entire world until Muslim rule.

    Manfred Murck, the deputy chief of Germany’s domestic security agency describes Muslims who go on tours so that they can pray at the mosques at which great terror attacks were organized:

    Devotees of the 9/11 killers have come from all over on a tour of jihadism that starts in Hamburg, then proceeds to Madrid, then to London, where dozens were murdered in the tube in 2005. “Hey, I prayed where Mohamed Atta did . . .”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704407804575425212127101800.html

    I cannot believe that the choice of name, the choice of location, and the timing are without coincidence. It wasn’t a coincidence than when the National Socialist Party sought to stage a march in Skokie, either.

    We are going to permit this. We have to permit this. We could try to block it–a very un-American thing–but it would be an expensive legal fight that would ultimately be found in favor of those who wish to build the mosque.

    But what I want to know is why all of those people who are calling for the mosque to be built are doing so on legal grounds. Where are the Muslims who will use this? Why aren’t they saying, “Hey, I may be a Muslim, but I’m not a Jihadist. I’m an American and a capitalist, just like you. And I know Muslims who died during 9/11, bankers and traders and office workers, not terrorists, who died just as your friends died, for trying to live the American dream. It’s not just your tragedy. It’s ours, too. This mosque is a celebration of the America that welcomed us, not the foreign terrorists who attacked us all.”

    Is there anyone who is going to say that?

  • http://onestdv.blogspot.com OneSTDV

    You guys are obtuse.

    I second Andrew Morgan’s comment: they have a right to build it, but that doesn’t mean we should welcome something that symbolically amounts to spitting in our faces. And anyone with a brain can make the connection, not just RAAACCCIIISSST white people:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=192585

    or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Olbermann’s take was pretty goddamned perfect.

  • TychaBrahe

    I want to add that I’m really sick of the way racism has become the Boogeyman in our society. Are you concerned about the cost of providing social services to illegal aliens who are largely uneducated, illiterate, and ill-prepared to find a family-supporting job in the information/service age? You are a racist. Are you concerned about the reasons behind the building of the mosque? You are just a racist.

    Back in the day, I was on the line with Clinic Defense in downtown Los Angeles when Susie “four abortions for me, but none for you” Carpenter-MacMillan showed up to lead an anti-abortion protest. She loudly referred to the pro-choice women present as “lesbians.”

    Well, I am neither a racist nor a lesbian, and I refuse to be cowed at the threat of being called one. (OK, there’s a huge difference between lesbianism and racism, at least on our side of the fence. I’m sure Susie thought she was insulting us.) You can’t shut down my dialogue by calling me names.

    It only points out how pathetic your argument–or lack thereof–is.

  • http://twitter.com/alexandra_opny Lexy

    In America, you have the right to piss people off and hurt their feelings if you want, so long as you aren’t inciting violence against people or property. It hurts my ‘feelings’ when xtians say I’m an abomination and a sexual deviant because I’m homosexual, but they damn well have the right to do it. It hurts Muslims’ feelings when we draw Muhammed, but we have the right to do it. Stop valuing feelings over freedom.

  • Angel

    but that doesn’t mean we should welcome something that symbolically amounts to spitting in our faces.

    Right. Because a community centre that provides the local residents, regardless of religion, a place to learn proper onion dicing techniques and to shoot a hoop is TOTALLY a giant middle finger. Giving back to the community is a giant scheme to hurt our anglo-saxon judeo-christian birther website feelings.

  • Ikkyu

    To “TychaBrahe”:

    The racism would not be in the “concern” but what do you plan to do about it.
    If you defend racial profiling that’s racism. If you propose other ways to deal with Immigrants that are not discriminatory and fair fine.
    My wife teaches in a High School in which several “uneducated, illiterate, and ill-prepared” High School illegal aliens won a robotics competition against a team from MIT (Yes Carl Hayden).
    About the Cultural Center. The first amendment is a good enough reason to defend it. And why do they have to be “capitalists” too? I’m a socialist and that does not make me less of an American citizen.

  • Dan W

    I love Keith Olbermann’s special comments. He certainly shows his knowledge of history in this one, and dispells the bullshit claims made by those who oppose the “Ground Zero mosque” here. I’m honestly not sure what my favorite part of this video was. It was all great.

  • Aj

    They seriously named it after the capital of the Islamic caliphate in Spain? Haha.

  • Lothar Schroder

    Keith spoke very well on this matter. His last paragraph has to be my favorite. However one comment made earlier really got to me. @ givesgoodemail
    “I object to the timing (the 10th anniversary of 9/11, FFS!), the deliberately provocative location, and the complete lack of empathy for those who lost loved ones.”
    I wonder if people are aware that innocent Muslims lost their lives as well. What about the feelings of their loved ones? My best friend is a Muslim. She Is also a police officer in Chicago, and she lost her son and bro on 9/11. She is a victim that has feelings. So it bothers me when you talk about lack of empathy for the victims. Are you saying all muslims are terrible? I mean my friend puts her life on the line everyday and she is still a devout Muslim. The only reason one would think opening a Muslim community center, near 9/11, is wrong, is someone who is uneducated would group people into one category of terrorists because of their religion.

  • GSW

    Some muslims take “Freedom of Religion” out of the “freedom to practise” section and place it squarely in the “freedom to shove it up your nose” section.

    Does freedom of religion give 5000 muslims the right to block the streets of Paris and Marseilles for 2 hours every friday?
    Or does it just give them the right to pray without being set on fire/tortured/murdered (a right they are often unwilling to give others).

    Freedom of religion is NOT freedom to do whatever the hell you like, trample on other peoples feelings, mutilate your daughters in the name of chastity, force your wives to wear tents etc. and call it your “religion”.

    Freedom of religion means:
    THE RIGHT TO PRAY TO ANY GOD(ESS) YOU WANT TO PRAY TO AND NOT TO PRAY TO ANY GOD(ESS) YOU DO NOT WANT TO PRAY TO.

    And it also means:
    THE RIGHT NOT TO FINANCIALLY SUPPORT ANY RELIGIOUS GROUP YOU DISAGREE WITH.

    No more and no less!

  • stogoe

    I’m disappointed that so many of us are against it in this case.

    Who’s against it, exactly? Because I surely haven’t seen atheist voices saying “don’t build it blargh!”

    What I’ve seen are “It’s weird that there are people who still want to build worshippin’ huts for any goofy faith, but whatever, it’s their right to do so even if it’s silly.”

  • Hypatia’s Daughter

    My biggest disappointment in atheists who are critical of the proposed building is that many formed their opinions based on media hype – it’s a mosque!! it’s a jihad school!! – rather than doing a little research first. Gees, guys, dial your skepto-meters to the “on” position, and do a little fact checking before you accept the media hysteria at face value!

  • Josh

    I’m an atheist who is against this mosque. I’d also be against a church being built there. Or anywhere. I’m happy with any effort that makes it a bit more difficult to build churches or mosques anywhere. We don’t need them. Nobody needs them. The only way we’ll arrive at a future in which there are no churches is to do what we can – legally – to prevent churches from being built.

  • Angel

    I’m an atheist who is against this mosque.

    It is important that there are facts being discussed. This is not a mosque. It is a community centre. Being specific matters.

  • Chris

    I’m actually a little surprised to read the thoughts of some of you “so-called” atheists. I once called myself an atheist. Of course, I still reject the childish mythology embraced by my parents but over the years, as I’ve matured, I’ve relaxed my aversion to the possibility of something divine in the cosmos.

    I’m referring specifically to Josh’s comment regarding arriving at “a future in which there are no churches.” It smells of the kind of utopian thinking that has driven men (and women) mad since time immemorial. I suggest you embrace the will of our founders and enjoy living in a nation where people can express both wisdom and folly. Your desire to rid the world of “believers” is no different than the desire the Jehovah’s Witness has when he knocks on my door. They are just flip sides of the same coin. You become a nuisance to me, just the same.

    Regarding the mosque in Manhattan? Most sensible people are not stridently trying to halt it’s development – they would just like it’s developers to use a little common-sense (so often demanded by the right) and sensitivity (so often demanded by the left) and build the thing somewhere else. To build the mosque there is legal, constitutional and very, very foolish.

  • Richard Wade

    Chris, you said,

    I’m actually a little surprised to read the thoughts of some of you “so-called” atheists.

    Is someone who calls himself an atheist, not really an atheist but just a “so-called” atheist if his social or political views do not agree with yours? If he is more strident than you, or if his vision of the future reminds you of the domineering vision of theists, is he not a true atheist, but some kind of counterfeit?

    Suggesting that it is undesirable for atheists to have attitudes that resemble those of theists may be good advice, but first check your own attitude. Plenty of Christians dismiss other Christians as “so-called” Christians because they disagree on social or political issues.

  • Aj

    Chris,

    …I’ve relaxed my aversion to the possibility of something divine in the cosmos.

    I tend to use my rational mind to judge possibility, and leave my feelings to other things.

  • Gibbon

    NFQ

    Nobody except Muslims believes that Islam is true.

    I’ll call you on that. I’m not a Muslim, not even religious, but I am willing to state that the Muslim religion is true, for those who build a successful and respectable life through it. But that is just me, I’m what many people would call a cultural relativist, I’m just unwilling to support the notion that there is a one-size-fits-all tradition or culture for all people, what can essentially be called cultural imperialism.

    TychaBrahe

    But to many Islamic Jihadists–who are not necessarily the people associated with building the mosque–it represents the conquest of America.

    If that really was the case then the United States would be in a no-win position, because preventing the community centre (not mosque) from being built would be vindication of the jihadists’ belief that the United States is the enemy of Islam. On top of that the whole controversy would (has) reveal(ed) that through the 9-11 attacks the jihadist terrorists were successful in striking fear and terror into the American people. This is aside from the fact that allowing the centre to be built would be a confirmation of those values which according to right-wingers are why the extremists hate the United States.

    In fact ever since the events of 9-11 the United States has been in a no-win situation. The United States has not been able to do a thing that would not give the jihadist terrorists what they want. By starting a war with them the US is providing the Afghan-Soviet type war that is desired by the militant jihadists, but pulling out of the Middle East entirely would also give them what they want. One must not forget that US intelligence reports have described how the Iraq War has served as a cause celebre for al Qaeda.

    Where are the Muslims who will use this? Why aren’t they saying, “Hey, I may be a Muslim, but I’m not a Jihadist…..”

    Is there anyone who is going to say that?

    This reminds me of the interview that Glen Beck did with the Muslim congressman Keith Ellison a few years back where Beck more or less implied that Ellison had to prove he wasn’t with the jihadists. The burden of proof is not on the Muslim to prove that they are not with the violent extremists; instead the burden is on the non-Muslim to prove that the average Muslim is with the violent jihadist or extremist, because simply being a Muslim is not enough of a reason to believe that they are. The last I checked there were literally dozens if not hundreds of different sects and denominations within the Muslim religion.

    Chris

    Most sensible people are not stridently trying to halt it’s development – they would just like it’s developers to use a little common-sense (so often demanded by the right) and sensitivity (so often demanded by the left) and build the thing somewhere else. To build the mosque there is legal, constitutional and very, very foolish.

    How is it any more insensitive for American Muslims to build a 17 storey community centre two blocks from Ground Zero when there are plans to construct a 540 metre tall tower in the place of the original World Trade Centre, on the exact location that 3,000 people were killed in a terrorist attack?

    Explain the logic behind the argument that it is not acceptable for Muslims unaffiliated with the terrorists to build a community centre on their own land where no one was murdered but it is reasonable to build a skyscraper on the site where thousands of people, including Western Muslims, were slaughtered.

  • Claudia

    “It’s a bad idea”
    “It’s insensitive”
    “They should just relocate it”

    I’ve heard this a lot from people who absolutely do not question the legal right of the center to be built, and would not agree with them being prevented from doing so, but who think that the planners should have chosen a different location.

    What I haven’t heard clearly described is WHY it’s a bad idea, WHY it’s insensitive. I think its because the more enlightened people who are still uncomfortable with the idea don’t want to clearly say what such objections imply: Muslims as a whole can be held collectively responsible for the actions of an extreme few.

    I find it difficult to see what other rationale can be used. If it’s “insensitive” or a “bad idea” it means that there is a neccesary relationship between 9/11 and the Muslims who want the center built. Mind you, this could be the case. If there were strong evidence that this center was planned as a celebration of the attacks, or if there was proof that it was destined to become a training center for extremists, then I would consider the point valid. However most people who oppose the center I suspect did so before finding out the slightest detail beyond “There are Muslims and it’s in the general area of Ground Zero”.

    I’m not saying that discomfort isn’t natural or even understandable, to a certain extent. But as rational humans we do have to step back and realize that our gut reactions are not neccesarily our best reactions.

  • http://nojesusnopeas.blogspot.com James Sweet

    I’m disappointed that so many of us are against it in this case.

    Couldn’t agree more.

    I’ll say all sorts of bad things about Islam. Heck, I’ll even go out on a limb and say that my gut feeling is that certain aspects of Islam – even mainstream Islam — make it more dangerous (by a hair) than the other major world religions, in that it practically begs to be mutated into extremism.

    But none of that should let us get suckered into going along with Christianist theocrats who want to shred the First Amendment. Even if you think the “mosque” is in “bad taste” (and that’s a tough sell, considering it’s more like a YMCA than a mosque, and considering it’s nowhere near Ground Zero), now is not the time to say so. There is one message and only one message only that is appropriate right now: The theocrats are wrong, and the group has every right to build what they want on their private property.

    And I daresay it will almost undoubtedly be good for the community too. Hmmm, abandoned Burlington coat factory vs. a shiny new YMCA Muslim community center…. easy call!

  • Aj

    NFQ,

    Nobody except Muslims believes that Islam is true.


    Gibbon
    ,

    I’ll call you on that. I’m not a Muslim, not even religious, but I am willing to state that the Muslim religion is true, for those who build a successful and respectable life through it. But that is just me, I’m what many people would call a cultural relativist, I’m just unwilling to support the notion that there is a one-size-fits-all tradition or culture for all people, what can essentially be called cultural imperialism.

    Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary,

    2 a (1) : being in accordance with the actual state of affairs (2) : conformable to an essential reality (3) : fully realized or fulfilled

    The statement was about truth. Not about whether you personally consider them “respectable” or successful on any measure. Answer this question yes or no: Did God in reality speak to Mohammed, is the Qur’an revealed by God? If you answer “no” then you do not believe Islam is true, and you have lied. You know what was meant by “true”. You may think that “truth” means whatever you like or makes you feel good, but you know what other people mean by it. Why misrepresent someone and answer questions no one asked?

    Cultural relativists wouldn’t qualify “truth” (meaning support for preference) with respectability and success they would support all cultures, therefore you are not a cultural relativist, you just pretend to be one when it suits your purpose. You exclude cultures based on your preferences and call them not “respectable”, we deem “respectable” cultures that are not based on “revealed” knowledge or superstition, both known as “faith”. You could be a truth relativist but that’s also only adopted when it’s useful, not when you decide to leave a building from the ground floor instead of the second.

    If you seriously believe that the skeptic secular community believes in a one-size-fits-all tradition or culture, then you are extremely ignorant. if you believe that our non-support for cultures that are irrational, misogynistic, racist, abusive, or authoritarian leaves only a limited “one-size-fits-all” tradition or culture, then you are delusional or you must be living in a homogeneous culture based on cultural imperialism, and are unaware of the diversity of secular tradition and culture in liberal democracies.

    Do all the pretend “relativists” that comment here realize they’re being dishonest or are they delusional?

  • http://nojesusnopeas.blogspot.com James Sweet

    I wrote the previous before seeing the Olbermann video. WOW. Everybody should see that.

  • Prendahl

    We will always have fanatics. Passionate, one-eyed squeaky wheels – armed with microphones, blogs or guns – who would impose their world view onto us.

    We have them among our number – militant atheists who would see us adopt their world view: No religion at all.

    It begs the question what then do we do when people choose religion? Do we kill them? Fine them? Jail them? Re-education camps? Do we take their children away?

    The militants will always be here. They demand submission and subjugation. They fly planes into buildings and bomb civilians and lie to promote their agendas. They think they know the way forward and need us to follow.

    The best thing we can do to them and for them is to resist their hysterics and counter it with reason.

    I want the freedom to be an atheist and if i want that then I must offer it to others in turn. In my opinion militant atheists are as big of a problem as militant Muslims or Christians.

  • dapper

    I say yes, by all means they should build it and not give in to this, boogie man mentality that seems to grip everyone one you say the word Muslim. As an atheist its just another church on a corner to me, as an American, they have a right to worship where and when they please as much as I have the right not to. Just because some nuts wanted to blow up 2 towers and 4 planes in the name of their god, it does not give us Americans the moral grounds to condemn a religion of millions and millions of people that want nothing else than a better tomorrow. Let us not forget the number of people in history that in Jesus name committed acts of barbarism, and I doubt that any religion ever conceived, didn’t have a few screwballs running around that thought they could change the world with a provocative act committed in the name of their lord.
    As far as the location argument is concerned as being to close to the attack sight. Let us remember this is not the world trade center,, this is 2 blocks away. There is a building that was attacked on 9/11 that has a real mosque, (not a cultural center) right INSIDE of it. It is called the pentagon. Wake up America, this is really getting ugly and I hope that my country is better than this petty argument

  • http://cdogzilla.blogspot.com/ cdogzilla

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