I’m reading a piece over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, where Ed Brayton focuses on the “hypocrisy of opponents of the Manhattan mosque, particularly the American Center for Law and Justice …”
And I understand that a religious freedom broad enough to allow equal rights of belief to all is, in some undeniable ways, in all our interests.
But it seems to me that it’s turning into a black-and-white knee-jerk issue of equal rights with too many of us unbelievers, when there’s a few shades in between that we should be pointing out.
I left a reply:
Ed, I’m disturbed at how much effort you seem to put into defending religious groups. In this case, I get it that it’s an issue of fairness in law. But really, you can write “… that law, which grants religious organizations exemptions from zoning laws that apply to every other type of building” and then follow up that phrase with NOTHING about how misguided the law itself is? That it’s just one more of thousands of different ways in which churches and religions are deliberately privileged by American law, despite the supposed church-state separation?
More generally, the public discussion of this issue is drawing an interesting line in which all too many of my fellow atheists are moving vigorously onto the “I’m with the mosque builders” side of it.
It seems to me they’re heeding a too-narrow interpretation of their humanitarian values that, rather than recognizing that Islam is an especially poisonous flavor of religious mind control, gives first priority to welcoming more anti-egalitarian goddiness into the world under the camouflage of equal rights.
Nobody seems to be saying “Well, sure they have every right to build the mosque. But is another ‘house of worship’ a good thing? Hell, I’d much rather see fewer churches of all types in the city.”
The point has been made that there are no synagogues or churches in Mecca, and refuted with the argument that we liberal Americans shouldn’t lower ourselves to the offensive barbarity of Islamic exclusivity.
But we shouldn’t let that offensive barbarity escape us, either.
This is more than the black “We cain’t let them evil Mooslims build that-there terrorist mosque on our hallowed ground” and the white “Oh, golly, yes, our Muslim brothers have the same rights as everybody else!”
There’s a nuance in the middle of it that I think thoughtful unbelievers should bring into every discussion of the issue.
This is not some minor peripheral point. Failing to bring it out is a disservice to ourselves as unbelievers and to a larger world in which pernicious goddiness ensnares billions of our fellows.