Tuesday Column is Up

Today, let’s talk about how the disastrous way Obama, Pelosi, Bloomberg and others reacted to Park51/Cordoba House opposition has now ended any chance for compromise or conciliation between the two camps.

Resistance to a proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero is not about bigotry or xenophobia; the demonstrated tolerance of Americans during the last nine years belies those unhelpful charges. Rather, the rancor is an amalgam; it is constructed of built-up feelings of anger, powerlessness, indignation and—most potently—disillusioned self-awareness and resentment against ham-handed, disdainful leadership.

Anger alone would be manageable. In our therapeutic culture we know that before a psych patient can get well, he needs to touch a needle to the crux of what is eating at him, like an interior boil-lancing, and sometimes it takes a lot of roundabout discourse and venting to locate it. Until the thing is touched upon, though, there is no chance of healing, just a general sense of disease, failure, and hurt.

We could find it, lance it, and start healing. But America is are being told—by the very people who have spent decades promoting the primacy of “feelings,” over thought, and who have declared that “a feeling is neither right or wrong”—to shut up, to not express its feelings, to not even have feelings, because those feelings are bad, stupid ones that are very, very wrong.

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  • baleen

    “the demonstrated tolerance of Americans during the last nine years belies those unhelpful charges.”

    Oh, yes.

    We’ve only invaded two Muslim countries and bombed a handful of others.

    And we’ve killed fewer than a million innocent Muslim civilians in the process.

    Tolerance defined.

  • newguy40

    We have only to look to our own history for the leadership and maturity we so need right now.

    Perhaps expecting the shear strength of character and will of Lincoln now is asking for too much. But, I do pray daily for my country and my countries leadership. And, like Lincoln truly believe that God is has caused our suffering and confusion for a reason and greater good. 1864 was a fevered, confusing time too for out country.

    “Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether”

    With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

    Lincoln Second Inaugural Address


  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Not to mention all the foreign aid we’ve sent to places such as the PLA, Egypt, and the aid we’re sending Pakistan, after its floods, Baleen.

    Also, our intervention in the Kosovo conflict, to save Moslem lives.

    Horribly cruel, and intolerant, that!


  • archangel



    They wanted a Holy War… not us.

    If they want a Mosque on Ground Zero… I want a CATHOLIC CHURCH in MECCA!!!!!

    Until I get that… they can pound/eat/swim in sand.

  • KarenT

    My links didn’t go through at On the Square, so I thought I’d try here. I agree that Bloomberg made a big, early blunder. Framing the issue as TOTALLY about religious freedom sort of shuts down other concerns, doesn’t it?

    Were our political leaders set up for this conflict by the Cordoba Initiative group, and more specifically, by Imam Rauf? And if so, why didn’t they foresee the problems this conflict could cause them? Victor Davis Hanson writes about one possible reason.

    Watch the audience react to Imam Rauf as he explains to them how America is “Sharia Compliant”. He does have a certain charisma.

    Somehow, I don’t think that many Muslim theologians would agree with his thinking here.

  • baleen

    “They wanted a Holy War… not us.”

    Careful Archie, you’re ruining the…meme that the community center protest has nothing to do with religious bigotry.


  • archangel

    IMO- Their mosque and faith is nothing BUT religious bigotry and but for the fact that our CHRISTIAN principles keep our own animalistic tendencies in check that we don’t wipe THEM off the face of the earth.

    It is BECAUSE of our CHRISTIAN outlook that we are even capable of FORGIVING the majority of them for the SINS of their BRETHEREN

    They can build their mosque ANYWHERE else but there.

    YOU are starting to pull the tail of a tiger you don’t want to mess with. You think you’re clever. You are slowly descending into another category.

  • Kansan Julie

    Seriously Baleen?!?!?

    I think we are tolerant here and probably to tolerant. We are so tolerant I feel sometimes Christians are fought just as much as Muslims in this country. We can’t have Christmas trees, crosses, or mention God in a school. But if a Muslim has to leave class to do their prayers I don’t doubt they’d be allowed for fear of controversy or offending! This is my personal opinion though. We are all entitled to think as we want.

  • Kansan Julie

    Reading what I wrote, it sounds angry however I’m not, so I apologize if it comes across that way.

  • Question

    If the compromise is moving the center, then what is the result the opposition to the center wants? No center at all?

  • baleen


    I don’t think the actions the U.S. military has taken against Muslims in the name of all Americans can be left out of the equation when you’re trying to calculate how tolerant America has been towards Muslims over the past nine years.

  • Kansan Julie

    I hear that. I really do.

  • newguy40


    See… here is where we part paths.
    You seem to think that the US has been killing Muslims because they are Muslem

    I see the terrorists killing US citizens first. They just happen to be all Muslim.

    You don’t hear too much about Catholics flying airplains in the WTC and the Pentagon shouting, “Long Live the Pope”.

  • Brian English

    “I don’t think the actions the U.S. military has taken against Muslims in the name of all Americans can be left out of the equation when you’re trying to calculate how tolerant America has been towards Muslims over the past nine years.”

    If our real intent was to kill Muslims because we are intolerant, why didn’t we just saturation bomb Afghanistan and Iraq?

    Where do all the schools, health clinics, etc., we have built in those countries factor into your tolerance calculation?

  • archangel

    Baleen doesn’t care about the truth. He cares about his agenda. Hence, his descent.

  • Barbara

    Of course! How could I not see that its Obama’s fault again! The resistance to the Mosque is not about bigotry, it is about frustration with leadership!….If that is the rational necessary for the right to arrive at the correct conclusion that this xenophobic campaign is extremely dangerous matters little at this point, we have to stop this hate fest in its tracks!

  • P. Buchta

    As Mayor Mike so bluntly remarked at the annual Ramadan Iftar dinner at Gracie Mansion this evening,“Islam did not attack the World Trade Center – Al-Qaeda did. To implicate all of Islam for the actions of a few who twisted a great religion is unfair and un-American. Today we are not at war with Islam – we are at war with Al-Qaeda and other extremists who hate freedom.”

  • KarenT

    P. Buchta: Interesting report. Sounds like “Mayor Mike” is setting up straw men. People who want the mosque moved a little further away from Ground Zero are not “implicating all of Islam” in the attack, and for him to suggest that they are is inflammatory in the extreme.

    If opponents of the “debris-field mosque” were “implicating all of Islam”, they would be demanding that current mosques in New York be closed. The Germans have closed one mosque with ties to terrorism.

    Although “Islam did not attack the World Trade Center”, Al-Qaeda attacked it in the name of Islam. Since bin Laden often made reference to the re-conquest of Cordoba, why wouldn’t the backers think that the “Cordoba Initiative” would be seen as provocative by many Americans? Or as a triumphalist project by violent jihadists? What the backers of the mosque complex intended (and many have questions about this) may be less important than the actual psychological effect of the building on radical jihadists. Just because they may not be connected with the project doesn’t mean that they would be unaffected by it.

    When he framed the conflict as a narrow issue of religious freedom, Bloomberg made it difficult for the backers of the project to graciously change the site of their complex, out of sensitivity for the feelings of those who had lost loved ones on 9/11. Why would this have been a bad thing? Why are Muslim activists in Western countries always demanding accommodation, rather than extending it?

  • dry valleys

    Aren’t a lot of Muslims actually refugees from theocracies? It’s a shame they can’t go the whole hog (what a controversial word in this contet, eh?) & renounce their religion but they are not going to support the kind of things they explicitly fled from because they hated them.

    In a similar way, you may remember that minarets were banned in Switzerland, which a lot of people applauded but it was rarely mentioned that so many Swiss Muslims are from areas like the former Yugoslavia & are fairly secular.

  • Brian English

    “Aren’t a lot of Muslims actually refugees from theocracies?”

    Some certainly are. Imam Rauf and Daisy Khan certainly are not.

    “Swiss Muslims are from areas like the former Yugoslavia & are fairly secular.”

    Even in those areas, which had a tradition for being “Islam Lite”, Saudi influence is starting to appear.

  • Doc

    Barbara, what evidence supports your assertion that most Americans are engaged in a hate-fest against Islam and Muslims?

  • P. Buchta


    Let me put it another way. The pastor of our church who worked in Rome for several years in Joseph Ratzinger’s office had a sermon last year on what is being alluded to. He said specifically that it is wrong to condemn all of Islam. Al-Qaeda has perversely distorted Islam to meet their needs. Therefore, rationally Islam ≠ Al-Qaeda. One of BinLaden’s goal’s was to infer that all of Islam was behind his actions and that he represented all of the Islamic world. In some respects he has succeeded in convincing us that it is true. We know now that this is simply not the case and it is all important to realize this point.

  • Brian English

    “He said specifically that it is wrong to condemn all of Islam. Al-Qaeda has perversely distorted Islam to meet their needs.”

    I think that Imam Rauf’s statements regarding Al-Qaeda are hardly condemnations of distorters of Islam. He basically says the US made bin Laden and company do it.

  • KarenT

    P. Buchta:

    I agree with you that it is wrong to condemn all of Islam for the actions of Al Qaeda. Since a mosque complex built on a site where parts of one of the 9/11 planes fell would be a powerful triumphalist symbol in the minds of many AQ types or potential recruits, why would “moderate” Muslims want to risk starting a fight within Islam about the “meaning” of the building?

    In fact, many Muslims oppose this project – one prominent Muslim group in Canada has published a statement against it. Strong published opposition by respected Muslim scholars in Egypt is based upon the reality that this building would connect all of Islam to 9/11 in the minds of many people.

  • Brian English

    “In fact, many Muslims oppose this project”

    Including the daughter of a Muslim woman who was on one of the planes.

  • KarenT

    Lots of people, including government officials, seem really invested in portraying Americans as “islamophobic” with regard to this project. And the controversy is motivating a few nuts. It’s unclear at this point what motivated the assault by this guy. But he volunteered for a “left-leaning media organization” which is “funded by the mainstream, liberal Collegiate Church of New York “. This organization partnered with the Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement “to develop a Community Center and Muslim prayer space, called ‘The Cordoba House,’ at 47-51 Park Place in Manhattan. The vision is to create a place where individuals-regardless of race, faith or ethnicity-will find a center for learning, art, cultural expression and athletics; and most importantly, a center guided by the universal values of all religions-compassion, generosity, peace and human dignity.”

    Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But the Christian and Jewish backing for this project supports to the belief by prominent Muslim scholars that this project is a nefarious “zionist plot” to connect Islam with 9/11. And from what we know about Imam Rauf, I don’t think the Cordoba Initiative is prepared to do serious, long-term ideological battle with firmly established Muslim scholars in support of its Western-style “vision”. This project opens more cans of worms than the current conflict between Americans.