Flim Flam Imam?

Wednesday, February 6, AD 2013

3 Responses to Flim Flam Imam?

  • He was not speaking of peace and ecumenism in the west much of the time either. Quotations from panel discussions and interviews in the fall of 2001 could have been published in The Nation, the opinion sheet for that slice of the chatterati Thomas Sowell calls “the one-uppers”. Rauf represented the intersection of the pathologies in American and Arab political cultures (which, I suppose, amounts to “building bridges” or some such).

    It is a good deal more plausible that a man in his 60s whose occupational life has consisted of superintending a small religious congregation would take to misappropriating or embezzling donations than is the proposition that such a man would launch a new career as a real-estate developer. There was always something hinky there.

  • One less mosque in NY.
    One more con man found out.
    One less; “Mohamed is the prophet, Allah is King and God.”

    I’ll sleep better tonight.

  • The suicide bombers were promised 72 virgins in heaven and that their families would be well provided for. After they are “in heaven” did the suicide bombers’ families receive any real aid?

Res et Explicatio for AD 9-13-2010

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

[UpdateRealCatholicTV is back online!]

Salvete TAC readers!

Here are my observations and opinions on the Catholic Church in the Internet:

1. A RealCatholicTV (RCTV) representative is reporting that they have been experiencing technical difficulties and should be up and running by Tuesday evening at the latest.

The RCTV Facebook page reports that they could be up as early as this evening!

2. Last nights Sunday Night Live on EWTN had Father Benedict Groeschel interviewing Archbishop Timothy Dolan and I have to say that the good archbishop is very impressive.

He has a strong presence and speaks well with authority.  Outside of dodging a question on female altar servers, he looks to be the leading archbishop and the unofficial primate of the United States of America for the foreseeable future.

His Excellency posited that the severe drop in receiving the Sacrament of Penance may have contributed to the vocational crisis since 1968.  Most of the interview though was on the recent increase in vocations though.

Another theory that His Excellency suggested was the loss of grandmothers within the home.  He truly believes that grandmothers have a significant impact in passing on the faith which leads to vocations to the priesthood.  But with more and more families sending their dear grandmothers to retirement “homes”, the family is losing a great advocate for vocations to the priesthood.

Cardinal’s hat within five years or less.

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16 Responses to Res et Explicatio for AD 9-13-2010

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  • Tito:

    You and I have disagreed on this before, but I think Fr. Longenecker’s point is that modernism is concerned with choosing between products, whereas our response to the Mass ought to be receptivity (not judgment). I’ve blogged on this topic before:http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/21/parish-shopping/

    There’s a fine line between parish-shopping and seeking out Masses that are truly reverent, one that Orthodox Catholics frustrated with liturgical abuses (and I include myself in this category) have trouble dealing with. In the end, it reinforces the need for a truly “catholic” church-one where the liturgy is universal and the laity ought not be put between their home parish and a reverent parish.

  • Sunday Night Live last night was a rerun from earlier this summer. Personally, I couldn’t bear to watch it again. I have a different opinion about “His Excellency.” You will recall that he asked the sod parish in N.Y. not to march in the sod parade under the parish banner. They ignored him and once again advertised their perversions under the name of the parish. “His Excellency” shows up at the parish to celebrate some sort of milestone, and as the various sod groups are presented to him, none of which are COURAGE, “His Excellency” nods and smiles in his good ole boy routine. Not a word about not participating in the parade. That wouldn’t be PC. “His Excellency” has no backbone. I would love to see what Jesus would have said in the same circumstance. And in the same program, the archbishop dares to laugh at those who call for authentic Catholicism rather than the watered-down, spineless version that’s currently being fed in far too many parishes.

  • Yeah, but what about those “Idaho Vandals” I so recently heard about? 🙂

  • Dale,

    They’re licking their wounds.

    🙂

    Michael,

    I have not met any serious Catholics that were “parish shopping”, but were looking for a reverent Mass in addition to actually being a Catholic parish and not a worldly “community”.

  • Cory,

    I’ve heard some other stories, but I’m praying he becomes more like Cardinal Spellman than another Cardinal “please like me” O’Malley.

  • “Cardinal’s hat within five years or less.”

    As much as it appears the Archbishop is such a well educated, bright and humble servant of his flock regardless of what he may be wearing over the next five years underneath it all I suspect he will still have on his “politically correct” T-shirt.

  • The more I learn about about Archbishop Dolan, the more tarnished he seems to be.

    He’ll get the red hat, but because it’s New York City, not because of his spine.

  • Parish-shopping too often betrays a consumerist mentality: “what can you do for me?” I wish my fellow orthodox would think more about the potential they have to make a positive impact, by their suffering through a mediocre liturgy if nothing else.

    Re: Dolan, I still don’t see what good blog comments criticizing bishops accomplishes. As I’ve said before, spend the time & energy in prayer for them instead.

  • Chris Burgwald,

    We need to take care of our soul first before we can take care of others.

    That’s why I advocate switching from a liturgical-dancing parish (after all efforts have been shot down) to a real parish.

    I’m all for cutting off the oxygen to a body that refuses to practice the faith.

    They shall be known for their fruits!

  • Tito,

    I’m certainly sympathetic to the desire to bail on liturgical-dancing… our liturgical abuses up here are certainly insignificant next to them.

    But, just to devil’s advocate… how is your soul imperiled by liturgical dance? If the sacraments are valid and there’s no actual heresy, why not gut it out for the sake of the clueless guy next to you who might need your example? Why not be the leaven in the bread? You might be it for those people, after all.

  • You make a good point.

    But what if you have children. You do your best to educate them and don’t want poor influences, especially when it comes in the form of a disobedient/dissident priest who should be a role model and not someone to avoid because he is just plain bad.

    Another thing to consider is if the priest refuses to improve and the bishop refuses to do anything about it, what do you do?

    I decided, because of my character and personality, to switch.

    Rather than soldier on and begin a blogging campaign I switched.

    My soul has reaped the benefits of reverent Mass, an enriching parish life, and many graces that I am still unaware of.

    I’m sure many, many other switchers understand me better than those that haven’t had to deal with a bad parish.

    I highly recommend it.

    Let that parish whither on the vine, especially if that parish priest (and bishop) refuse to do anything about it.

    I want to get into Heaven at the highest possible level. Why endanger it with dissident priests and parishioners who could care less (or even acknowledge) the existence of Heaven.

    I recently attended a seminar on penance at my old parish and this priest who is suppose to be a future star of the Church (he’s on his way to being a bishop) was advocating that penance isn’t that important and getting it twice a year was sufficient. He even pooh-poohed my comments of going almost weekly.

    As soon as I started explaining the many benefits of penance he did his best tap-dancing routine in backtracking on his comments.

    I was disappointed, but relieved knowing that I won’t have to worry about this at my parish once my children (if I’m blessed with them) start getting active in parish life.

    Yes the sacraments are still valid and your soul is better for it for suffering.

    But God does want us to avoid suffering if possible. And if not, embrace the suffering.

    Why put yourself in this position in the first place?

    Believe me, if I didn’t have a choice, I would have raised HELL at my parish and my name would be a curse word around the chancery by now.

    Do I want that?

    No.

    //On a side note I made a promise to myself that if I ever attended a Mass where there was liturgical dancing, I would strip down to my underwear and dance along with them just to show how much of a mockery they were making the Mass out to be.

  • I hope you post that video on YouTube. 🙂

    It’s certainly a matter of prudence, Tito. My point is to emphasize that sometimes we are placed in difficult situations because of what we have to offer, i.e. because *we* can bear fruit for others instead of focusing exclusively on the fruit we want to harvest.

  • Chris B.,

    Yes, if I were put in that position, I would do my best to be charitable.

    I would get involved, form an orthodox group of families, and begin transforming the parish with the priest (and/or bishop) kicking screaming.

    As for the YouTube video, I would post it! Only to prove that these shenanigans must stop.

    🙂

  • I also do not have a great opinon of NY Archbishop Dolan. He kept interrupting Fr. Groeshel in mid-sentence;
    never answered significant questions straight forward;
    and has no business being involved in NY zoning and politics that do not involve the Catholic Church – – since the Cordoba zoning does not involve Saving Souls and Fundamental rights of Man in accordance with the Gospel. (CCC 2245-2246)

    The Archbishop does not understand the Muslim culture, and the symbolic meaning of Cordoba. This is not his area of competance.

    Newt Gingrich wrote:
    “The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over,” Gingrich wrote. “The proposed ‘Cordoba House’ overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3,000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks – is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.”

    The Archbishop needs to clean up his own NY Diocese including Xavior Parish which still has gay information on its web site not in accord with the Church.

  • I should have added that the Archbishop likes to hear himself talk, and be seen about town.

    He needs to be exposed in the public for his public actions, so that he will NOT become a Cardinal in line to become a Pope.

Mosque Opponents: Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It

Saturday, August 28, AD 2010

The debate over the so-called Ground Zero mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center in New York has raised public interest in, and opposition to, other proposed or recently built mosques and Islamic centers throughout the country.

In areas where Muslim migration or immigration has been significant, some citizens have attempted to discourage construction of new mosques. Few come right out and cite the threat of terrorism; more often they seem to resort to time-honored NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) tactics such as creative interpretation of zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I understand the need to be vigilant regarding the potential for violent subversion, as well as the dangers of taking such a politically correct approach to militant Islam that people hesitate to report obvious suspicious activity for fear of being labeled bigots (as seems to have happened in the Fort Hood massacre case).

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45 Responses to Mosque Opponents: Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It

  • Outstanding article — thank you!!

    Question (and please forgive this social-networking-backward-participant!):

    Why doesn’t American Catholic enable readers to SHARE this via Facebook? (Maybe I’m flunking the IQ test and missed the link??? I just did a “copy & paste” on the link above on my FB page . . . Sad to say, I am still trying to figure out this RSS stuff!!!)

    Thank you!

  • Elaine,

    You raise some very valid points. But, did Catholicism, or the perversion therof, and Catholics or any Christians for that matter murder 3000 innocents on September 11? Or have Catholics or Christians committed bombings in recent years or pose threats of bombings around the world?

    I think the problem here is that the Muslims who have proposed this mosque have displayed absolutely NO sensitivity to the families of victims of 9/11 while demanding all the tolerance in the world from those 9/11 families,as well as other citizens. These “moderate” Muslims claim that they want to build bridges but all they are doing by forcing the building of this mosque at this partiular ultra-sensitive location is burning bridges. Why is this location so important when there are over 100 mosques located in NYC already? How is this mosque being funded? By terrorist organizations or not? I believe in order for the community as a whole to benefit from this mosque our government and our citizens must be as certain as possible that this mosque is not funded by terrorist organizations and will not be used as a terrorist training center under the guise of religious freedom. If the mayor and others would be willing to look into the mosque’s financial funding I believe that this would allay many peoples’ fears.

    I do understand that the people behind the building of the mosque has a right to be built according to civil law. But, as Charles Krauthammer pointed out, if zoning laws and aesthetics can trump one’s right to build why could the sensitivity to those families who had loved ones killed by a single act of war trump one’s right to build?

    As to the issue of this mosque being two blocks away from the primary ground zero site: Would you agree that wherever the planes hit or any of its part on 9/11 should be considered Ground Zero? If so, then so should the Burlington building since a part of the plane hit that building.

    I think this whole controversy could have been avoided if the NYC commission had shown some prudential judgment and declared the Burlingtion building as a historical landmark.

  • I agree that it wasn’t a good idea for the mosque/Islamic center to be built so close to Ground Zero. I see nothing wrong with encouraging them to build elsewhere. The $64,000 question, however, is whether or not the local government has a right to explicitly FORBID them to build at the site. That’s where the danger of setting a bad precedent comes in.

  • Elaine a ban on construction of new places of worship would be clearly unconstitutional and would not stand up in court longer than the time it takes a Chicago alderman to pocket a bribe. No one has been disputing the right of the Flim Flam Imam and his Cordoba Initiative (Dhimmis Always Welcome!) to build this Mosque, but whether it is right for them to do so. I am keenly aware of the frequent divergence of a legal right and a moral right. My opposition might well not exist if a local group of Muslims had wished to put up a Mosque for local worship. I think the Flim Flam Imam clearly has an agenda that has little to do with worshiping Allah, and quite a bit to do with furthering his Cordoba Initiative which has one message for gullible Western elites and another message for his backers in the Middle East.

  • I thought this post by Bob Murphy about the Glenn Beck rally today was a propos:

    Of course Mr. Beck and his fans have every legal right to hold a rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech.

    Nonetheless, we are asking that they hold their rally a few blocks away, and on a different date. There are 364 other days in the year; what’s wrong with them?
    Now look, we know full well that Mr. Beck and his supporters claim that they are trying to heal racial division. Intellectually, we black Americans know that just because we have been brutalized by angry white conservative males for as long as we can remember, that doesn’t mean that all angry white conservative males pose a threat to our physical safety.

    But this isn’t about logic or rationality. This is about sensitivity to our feelings. Surely Mr. Beck can understand why a majority of American blacks wouldn’t appreciate him holding a rally on the anniversary of Dr. King’s famous speech. If he goes ahead with his plans, he won’t promote racial unity. So we ask him to hold the rally in a different place, on a different date.

  • Teresa – Did you seriously just say that Christians have not bombed or killed significant numbers of people? Check the stats on our current wars sometime.

  • As usual, Blackadder mistakes cuteness for substance. By now Blackadder is aware that the objections to the Mosque are not grounded in a general objection to anything at all being built near Ground Zero.

  • “Teresa – Did you seriously just say that Christians have not bombed or killed significant numbers of people? Check the stats on our current wars sometime.”

    Our wars being the equivalent of Bin Laden’s murder of 3,000 innocent men, women and children? Moral equivalency: the opiate of the politically correct.

  • While I agree with Donald that the proposed ban shouldn’t pass constitutional muster (there’s a case that states you can’t ban all forms of religious speech-I think it’s Rosenberger v. Rectors & Vistors of UVA), you are absolutely right in stating that the opposition to the mosque establishes a precedent that is far more dangerous to Catholics than to Muslims insofar as some are advocating legal means to interfere with the building of the mosque.

  • “I think the Flim Flam Imam clearly has an agenda that has little to do with worshiping Allah, and quite a bit to do with furthering his Cordoba Initiative which has one message for gullible Western elites and another message for his backers in the Middle East.”

    Donald, I agree.

    Blackadder,
    If Alveda King has no problem with the rally I don’t see why any other person, of any color black, white, red, brown etc., should have a problem with Beck and others honoring Martin Luther King Jr’s message of equality for all. Yeah, and if he didn’t do anything honoring Martin Luther King the Left would make accusations about no person caring about blacks and spreading King’s message, so Your “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” according to liberalism.

    Martin,
    First, is that an admission that our nation is rooted in Christian values?

    Second, Did we really go to war as “Christians” or as a nation fighting against terrorism and for our nation’s national defense?

    Third, I didn’t know that a group of Christians not associated with the U.S. government went off on their own and specifically targeted a building or another location just to murder Iraqi inocents? I think your the person who is a little confused with reality, Martin.

    Fourth, Please name me one war in history that has had no civilian casualties?

  • I’m with Gen’l. (Vinegar) Joe Stillwell, “Don’t let the bastards wear you down.”

  • It isn’t even a matter of where the mosque is being built – replace the entire WTC site with the biggest mosque in the world, no problem – PROVIDED Islam changes its ways.

    I realize all the 1st Amendment issues involved here – but until I am no longer considered such subhuman filth that I cannot enter the precincts of Mecca, then I’m going to hold that Moslems must be curbed in what they do in the United States. Not stopped – not expelled; just carefully curtailed to ensure that everyone, especially in the Moslem world, knows that we have not lost our back bone.

    Tolerance does not mean going along happily with whatever someone wants to do – it is a two way street and it requires some compromise. We can easily tolerate a mosque in Manhattan – but we can’t tolerate it hard by Ground Zero…not now, and not until Islam changes its tune.

    Mark Noonan

  • Blackadder,

    I wonder if the author of that piece can find even a single black man brutalized by a conservative white man in the past 40 years.

  • We might just consider the possibility that these local pols want to limit the quantum of non-taxable property in that particular locality. Piggy, but unsurprising.

    It is not a novelty for houses of worship to face zoning tangles. Given the size of the metropolitan New York area, you will have to excuse me if I suggest that prohibiting the placement of a 13 story building of a particular character at a historic site of modest dimensions is a measure different in kind than prohibiting all construction of houses of worship in a given municipality.

    Martin:

    As far as I am aware, the Marine Corps does not have an icon of St. Michael on their weaponry and al-Qaeda does not do civil affairs projects.

  • Here’s my $64,000,000.03 question.

    If religious freedom/tolerance requires a $100 million mosque over the WTC site. How is religious liberty/tolerance served by denying the rebuild of THE Orthodox Church that THE muslim terrorists destroyed on 11 Sep 2001?

    AD:

    No! It’s much worse than that! USMC heroes wear (gasp) US flags on their uniforms.

    Re AQ civil affairs projects: They’re helping make Americans good. They believe the only good American is a dead American.

  • Lot of assumptions in this post; the assumption that the REAL motive folks have is fear of terrorism, and that they can’t possibly object for the reasons they give:

    zoning ordinances, claims of decreased property values, or claims of real or potential problems with traffic, noise, etc.

    Evidence for this claim? I know that the blog Beers with Demo did the research to show a pattern of harassment against a church in his area, but a blanket claim that 1) Mosques are being unusually opposed and 2) it is because of fears of terrorism is a claim that requires more than just a claim to be taken seriously.

    There’s also the issue of using charged terms inaccurately. NIMBY, while meaning “not in my back yard,” also implies that something is not opposed in general. (Example, opposing wind power generators in your area while promoting wind energy in general.)
    People who are worried about Islamic terror risings from Mosques are going to be bright enough to remember the home mosques of the 9/11 terrorists were far, far away, and would appose them in general, not just specific.

    Your notion of equivalence between “there shall be no non-profit organizational buildings in our district” and “no, you may not build a triumphalist religious center on the ruins created by said religion” is mind bending.

  • Martin-
    Go troll someplace else.

  • Wow. Far-ranging discussion.

    First, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The religion piece really has no bearing on the discussion over the Cordoba Mosque proposed for Ground Zero.

    How many mosques are there in Manhattan? About a hundred? Sounds like pretty free exercise of religion to me.

    Second: I challenge any black person who reads this blogs, or any black person who’s a friend of someone who reads this blog, to tell me the date of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. I had to memorize parts of it as a child (stand down, racialists: I’m Black). Never knew what day it was given; barely knew it was in August. Glenn Beck planned this rally (which I wish I had had time to attend)for the last Saturday in August. An lo and behold, what date did that happen to fall on? Why, August 28! August the 28th, which happened to be an anniversary of Dr. King’s speech!

    Why should a mosque be built at the site of a murder committed by people motivated by Islam? Why should a church of any type be built at the site of the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people (and others, including Catholic Saints)? Why should the Japanese in Hawaii build a temple at the site of the sunken USS Arizona?

    Answer? None of them should. Because it’s disrespectful. Why is this so hard to grasp? And what does it tell those who truly hate us about whether we will truly resist them?

    It is not un-Christian to stand up for common politeness.

  • Gee, RR, why didn’t you link to this much more recent article on those idiots?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/nyregion/08hate.html

    Those morons were accused of racial hate crimes and seem to be gang related. Notably, not “conservative white men”– just idiot gang members. (is that redundant?)

  • What are you trying to prove by arguing that white people no longer attack black people? For one, it’s a sad, callous, and absurd battle to fight. Do you, like, remember this one time, in, like, 1992 in LA where, like, some white cops beat up this black guy named Rodney King? White on black violence occurs a lot, as does black on white, white on white, black on black, brown on black, brown on white, brown on brown, white on brown, black on brown, etc, etc, etc.

    Also, please STOP calling it a mosque. A mosque is specifically a Muslim holy place where only prayer can be conducted. This is a Muslim community center, similar to a YMCA. It will have a culinary school, basketball courts, etc. With a prayer room on one or two of the fifteen or so floors.

    I can think of Catholic terrorism pretty easily: the IRA. And that was specifically religio-nationalist.

    It is utterly absurd to demand that “Islam” renounce its terroristic ways before the community center is built, as Mr. Noonan said. A religion cannot change its ways. People can change their ways, but abstract nouns cannot. And the people behind this community center have no terroristic tendencies to modify. Furthermore, there is no central authority for Islam as there is for Catholicism. In fact, some radical sects of Muslims hate opposing Islamic sects more than they hate America. Like al-Qaeda. Bin Laden hates America not “for our freedoms” but because we prop up the (in his mind) heretical Saud monarchy in Arabia.

    Quite frankly, it’s astounding that a debate over a Muslim community center is occurring in 21st century America. As someone who would never have voted for George Bush, I will say that I am so grateful that he modeled Christ’s love to American Muslims by not targeting them after 9/11, as seems to be occurring now.

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  • I would like to ask everyone – Do you think that Islam can be a “moderate” religion? I am not saying Muslims cannot be moderates, but can the religion itself really ever be considered moderate since it follows Sharia law?

    If Sharia law is one of the precepts of Islam then why wouldn’t Sharia law fall under the guise of religious freedom and challenge the constitution in several capacities and force all of us citizens to respect and follow Sharia as well? Is Sharia law and the Constitution really compatible?

    If those who believe in the “letter of the Constitution” instead of the “spirit of the Constitution” with regards to religious freedom truly believe that religious freedom is absolute without taking into account our national security interests (as it seems to me) how could one deny Muslims the “right” to follow their “moderate” religion that includes Sharia Law which would also impose Sharia Laws on the non-Muslim citizens when that clearly clashes with our Constitution?

    You might want to look at a some things that Sharia law demands:

    1 – Jihad defined as “to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion” is the duty of every Muslim and Muslim head of state (Caliph). Muslim Caliphs who refuse jihad are in violation of Sharia and unfit to rule.

    2 – A Caliph can hold office through seizure of power meaning through force.

    3 – A Caliph is exempt from being charged with serious crimes such as murder, adultery, robbery, theft, drinking and in some cases of rape.

    4 – A percentage of Zakat (alms) must go towards jihad.

    5 – It is obligatory to obey the commands of the Caliph, even if he is unjust.

    6 – A caliph must be a Muslim, a non-slave and a male.

    7 – The Muslim public must remove the Caliph in one case, if he rejects Islam.

    8 – A Muslim who leaves Islam must be killed immediately.

    9 – A Muslim will be forgiven for murder of: 1) an apostasy 2) an adulterer 3) a highway robber. Making vigilante street justice and honor killing acceptable.

    10 – A Muslim will not get the death penalty if he kills a non-Muslim.

    11- Sharia never abolished slavery and sexual slavery and highly regulates it. A master will not be punished for killing his slave.

    12 – Sharia dictates death by stoning, beheading, amputation of limbs, flogging and other forms of cruel and unusual punishments even for crimes of sin such as adultery.

    13 – Non-Muslims are not equal to Muslims and must comply to Sharia if they are to remain safe. They are forbidden to marry Muslim women, publicly display wine or pork, recite their scriptures or openly celebrate their religious holidays or funerals. They are forbidden from building new churches or building them higher than mosques. They may not enter a mosque without permission. A non-Muslim is no longer protected if he commits adultery with a Muslim woman or if he leads a Muslim away from Islam.

    14 – It is a crime for a non-Muslim to sell weapons to someone who will use them against Muslims. Non-Muslims cannot curse a Muslim, say anything derogatory about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam, or expose the weak points of Muslims. However, the opposite is not true for Muslims.

    15 – A non-Muslim cannot inherit from a Muslim.

    16 – Banks must be Sharia compliant and interest is not allowed.

    17 – No testimony in court is acceptable from people of low-level jobs, such as street sweepers or a bathhouse attendant. Women in such low-level jobs such as professional funeral mourners cannot keep custody of their children in case of divorce.

    18 – A non-Muslim cannot rule even over a non-Muslims minority.

    19 – H***sexuality is punishable by death.

    20 – There is no age limit for marriage of girls under Sharia. The marriage contract can take place any time after birth and consummated at age 8 or 9.

    21 – Rebelliousness on the part of the wife nullifies the husband’s obligation to support her, gives him permission to beat her and keep her from leaving the home.

    22 – Divorce is only in the hands of the husband and is as easy as saying: “I divorce you” and becomes effective even if the husband did not intend it.

    23 – There is no community property between husband and wife and the husband’s property does not automatically go to the wife after his death.

    24 – A woman inherits half what a man inherits.

    25- A man has the right to have up to 4 wives and she has no right to divorce him even if he is polygamous.

    26- The dowry is given in exchange for the woman’s sexual organs.

    27 – A man is allowed to have sex with slave women and women captured in battle, and if the enslaved woman is married her marriage is annulled.

    28 – The testimony of a woman in court is half the value of a man.

    29- A woman loses custody if she remarries.

    30- To prove rape, a woman must have 4 male witnesses.

    31 – A rapist may only be required to pay the bride-money (dowry) without marrying the rape victim.

    32 – A Muslim woman must cover every inch of her body which is considered “Awrah,” a sexual organ. Some schools of Sharia allow the face and some don’t.

    33 – A Muslim man is forgiven if he kills his wife caught in the act of adultery. However, the opposite is not true for women since he “could be married to the woman he was caught with.”

    The above are clear-cut laws in Islam decided by great Imams after years of examination and interpretation of the Quran, Hadith and Mohammed’s life. Now let the learned Imam Rauf tell us what part of the above is compliant with the US constitution?

  • Ryan-
    who are you talking to?
    NO ONE was talking about “whites never attack blacks”. Blackadder posted a quote of someone claiming that “angry white conservative males” have been brutalizing blacks for “as long as they can remember,” and someone else challenged him to find a single case of a white conservative assaulting a black person. RR then posted an article that implied but did not claim anti-Dem motives, and which five minutes of research showed to just be gang idiots.

    Secondly, go yell at the Cordoba House proponents, and even the initiative itself; half the time, they call it a mosque. (Generally when they want to drum up the religion side of it; when it’s more flattering to emphasize the “community center” side, it becomes a building that includes a mosque.)

    If the reading comprehension and careful consideration of the argument you’ve shown in this post is standard for you, no wonder you can’t see how this is a topic for valid debate. Straw men with only a nodding acquaintance to the topic aren’t very good aids to understanding.

    A wise lady once told me that if you can’t argue the other side of something, you have no business arguing your own side because you clearly don’t know enough about the topic. I try to keep it in mind, maybe you should try it?

  • In response to jihad etc…

    I am not sure where you are getting your information on what jihad and sharia is….but you have incorrect information. Jihad and sharia is much more complex then what you have stated. As I have reserached this extensively I will just point out very plainly and in layman terms what jihad is. Jihad means “struggle”.
    More commonly known in the Muslim world as an internal spiritual struggle to be better and serve God. It can also mean warfare where one needs to defend themselves when attacked- so it has two meanings to it. There are a lot of inaccuracies in your e-mail and I do not have time to go over them now…but one just to correct one is that bride money is not given for sexual organs. Bride money is called “mehr” and it is an obligatory gift that the groom must give his wife so that she is not left with nothing if he decides to leave her. It is the right of a woman and not a man. Actually in researching Muslims I found that there are a lot of similaries to Catholicism…and then there were differences as well. An interesting bit of information I came across was “Marriage helps men and women to develop along natural lines and head towards development and success through mutual co-operation. Marriage prevents immorality licentiousness and irresponsibility. The spouses in marriage agree to share rights and responsibilities to develop a happy family”….doesn’t that sound like something Catholics believe in as well? What happened on 9/11 was plain WRONG. I have friends who are Muslims and they beleive it is wrong…they say that the people who did this are crazy. So I have to think before I judge anyone and encourage you to do the same.

  • Sandy-
    please do not misrepresent your study, which seems to have been of the more modern and mild forms of Islam, as representative of Islam in general.

    Also, your definition of “mehr” is incorrect, (In Canada, it often functions like a pre-nup– often enough that a basic google will bring up a LOT of legal help boards.) as is your characterization of Jihaad.
    (links to understanding-Islam.com, which is affiliated with Al-Mawrid Islamic Research foundation out of Pakistan.)

  • Foxfier, white conservatives can’t be in gangs?

  • RR,

    Gangs are color neutral, but I’m having a hard time picturing how a conservative could be in a gang since gang life and activities run counter to conservative values. My guess is that you’re perhaps angling toward skinheads because the media like to call them conservatives. However, conservatives have about as much appreciation for neo-nazis as they do racist gangs/parties typically associated with the left, which is to say none.

  • “Gang life and activities run counter to conservative values”

    Well, it goes without saying that violence, vandalism, drug use, other criminal activity, and intimidation of non-members go against conservative values (and probably even the values of most moderates and liberals I know).

    But, isn’t it true that gang membership, especially among urban teens, basically takes the place of the families they don’t have — giving them a structure, culture and sense of belonging that they don’t get from absent or incarcerated or unknown fathers, mothers who change boyfriends as often as they change clothes, being shuffled from one relative to another, etc.?

    So in that sense, gang membership does express (albeit in a perverted or distorted fashion) one very important “conservative” value: the absolute primacy of the family as the basic unit of society, and the consequences that result when it is undermined or destroyed.

  • I can think of Catholic terrorism pretty easily: the IRA. And that was specifically religio-nationalist.

    True to some extent. But it wasn’t expansionist.

  • Actually I think in a number of areas there are limits on, if not the building of churches, at least the size of churches. Where I once lived this limit made it impractical to build a Catholic Church as the size limit was too small for what was required to meet the needs of the Catholic population without building multiple small churches. Those restrictions were placed in the 90’s as I recall. No big First Ammendment concerns have been raised. Perhaps they should.

  • Mary Margaret Cannon,

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Until recently, WordPress.com did not allow this function (WordPress.org does I believe).

    But today I noticed this option was now available and I have just finished adding this particular function.

    Enjoy!

  • Hey, why not make a page, too? You can set it up to autopublish your blog with the “notes” feed, or us
    e http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/newuser1.php

  • Foxfier,

    We have ‘something’ on Facebook, not sure what.

    I’m going to investigate and get this set-up/streamlined for greater social-networking-optimization (SNO).

  • Scott Gentries might want to take a look at this:

  • …Might strike home if the primary arguments weren’t specifically related to the history and culture of Islam, Ryan.

    Fail.

  • RL, if conservatives can’t be in gangs by definition then sure there are no white conservatives in gangs. There are no Catholics in gangs either then.

  • i would like to point out that the proposal only bars new buildings, and not changing the use to of already constructed ones. the mosque near to us was once a church, a church was previously a synagogue, and the nigerian christian group uses a clothing warehouse.

  • Teresa, half of what you said is inaccurate / disinformation. if the USA followed the other half, maybe they wont have millions of inmates that the taxpayer has to support.

  • I would just like to point out a couple of things that are on point:

    1. It’s not a mosque. It’s a community center, and you can read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/08/opinion/08mosque.html?_r=1&src=tptw the words of the chairman of the project, stating that one of the many goals of it is to include prayer centers for those of Christian and Jewish faiths in hopes that this will strengthen interfaith relations.

    2. I’m not usually a fan of Charlie Brooker, but he hit one point straight on the head when he said that being a 2 minute walk and around the corner is not at all the same thing as being AT the same location. He said something like, he’s used a bathroom 2 minutes away from Buckingham Palace, and has yet to be arrested for defecating on the Queen’s pillow. We’re talking about Manhattan, and if you’ve ever been there, it’s a crowded place. How close is too close, exactly?

    3. To the person who said Catholic/Christian extremists haven’t bombed or killed significant numbers of people in recent years, I ask: Have you ever heard of the Irish Republican Army? Visit Belfast or Glasgow sometime and ask around – just… be careful in which neighborhood you ask and what colors you’re wearing when you do.

  • 4. On the topic of how Muslim women are clothed, ask yourself if you’ve ever questioned the chaste garb (and lifestyle, for that matter) of nuns and priests. I bet you just take it as a matter of course, because it’s what you’re used to. Of course, there is spousal abuse and other unsavory activity that goes on among members of the Islamic faith, but again, look closer to home. Surely you cannot insist that no Catholic or Christian has ever abused another human being.

  • Brian,

    Strawman.

    The IRA is a nationalist organization. To be more accurate, they are a violent Marxist nationalist organization looking to impose communism under the guise of being “Irish” and “Catholic”.

    Being Catholic has nothing to do with it.

    They don’t espouse anything Christian AT ALL.

    You’ve never heard them saying they are dying in the name of Jesus. Only in the name of Ireland.

    You need to do better than that to espouse your anti-Christian bigotry around here.

  • Brian,

    Again your bias is grossly revealing itself.

    Religious wear their clericals as a choice, not in being imposed.

    Whilst on the other hand Muslims force women to wear burkas, regardless of their religiosity.

  • Brian, you’re exposing your ignorance or willful blindness– the folks building it called it a mosque until their PR guys realized that was not so good. They also called it the Cordoba House, until word got around what that indicated, especially with the 9/11/11 opening date.

    Also, you’re pointing to an opinion piece in the NY Times. Not exactly hard, unbiased facts– I notice you didn’t bother to do the research Powerline did about another time that “chairman” spoke in the NYTimes.

    As Teresa pointed out above, a building destroyed by chunks of the plane on 9/11 is part of ground zero.

Just Build the Damn Thing

Monday, August 23, AD 2010

Travelling in the second half of last week, I had occasion to realize how pervasive the TV news coverage of the “ground zero mosque” has become — perhaps in part because it is doubtless a dream situation for TV news producers: All you have to do is draw 3-4 people into the studio and have them debate the question for twenty minutes, throw in a couple of commercial breaks, and voila! you have another 1/48th of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. I was reminded again of how glad I am to have cancelled the cable TV subscription and never put up an antenna.

As I think about it, this seems to me a made-for-TV controversy in more ways than one. For all the talk about this being the “ground zero mosque”, the location two blocks away will not be visible from the WTC monument itself, and is currently occupied by sacred precincts such as the offices of the University of Pheonix, Marty’s Shoes and the Dakota Roadhouse. This is New York, for goodness sake. A thirteen story building isn’t exactly going to stick out. And the visible symbols of religion closes to Ground Zero will remain St. Peter’s Catholic Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal, and John Street United Methodist. (If anything, it’s a little disappointing the plans for the mosque look rather like a vertical shoebox with abstract patters on it — no minarets here.)

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113 Responses to Just Build the Damn Thing

  • I don’t think “conservative orthodoxy” had a thing to do with JP II’s decision to put an end to the convent at Auschwitz.

    I’ve tried to make the point that this isn’t about politics, or shouldn’t be at any rate. It is about people who claim they want to be friends behaving in a most unfriendly manner. It’s a contradiction in their entire argument, and it suggests that they either do not know the meaning of friendship, or that it was never really the goal to begin with.

    And if friendship wasn’t the goal, what is? Was one more mosque needed that badly? Or shall we resort, once again, to the lazy, unthinking claims of power and rights: I do this because I can.

    That’s why for all of the claims of “irrationality” here, it is those behind this project who cannot rationally justify it. I believe people act purposively, though. So if friendship is ruled out, and arbitrariness is not to be taken seriously, what is the goal? What is the reason?

    It matters if we really are going to try and understand one another, all questions of legal rights aside.

  • You’re welcome to come here and enjoy our liberties so long as you behave yourselves and follow our laws. If not, we’ll level your cities and depose your leaders. Once we’re done, we’ll rebuild your cities better than before, give you a better government, and leave you the hell alone unless you make the mistake of attacking us again in which case God help you

    Immigrant populations behave badly, so we attack their countries of origin?

    University of Pheonix, Marty’s Shoes and the Dakota Roadhouse.

    Among other things, Mohammed Atta is not known to have been motivated by a zeal for selling commercial educational services, shoes, or steak.

    and it’s become clear that there’s really not much of anything that can be done about how the owners want to develop this particular piece of real estate,

    Tell that to Larry Silverstein.

  • “You’re welcome to come here and enjoy our liberties so long as you behave yourselves and follow our laws. If not, we’ll level your cities and depose your leaders. Once we’re done, we’ll rebuild your cities better than before, give you a better government, and leave you the hell alone unless you make the mistake of attacking us again in which case God help you.”

    Not sure I subscribe to this rather aggressive approach to foreign policy (and it doesn’t seem to be working out well in Afghanistan), but otherwise I thought the post was spot on. I tried to make the media-generated controversy point last week.

  • Joe,

    While I can acknowledge that John Paul II did the culturally sensitive thing in asking the Auschwitz nuns to move, I don’t think it was particularly admirable of the Jewish community to demand that they do so. Similarly, I would like to see the American community not make a fuss about this.

    Art,

    I’m not clear that Mohammad Atta was motivated by a zeal for building community centers either.

    My point was, this is hardly memorial row. It’s just ordinary businesses on a street a few blocks away from where the WTC stood. I don’t think there’s any call to consider this “sacred ground”.

  • I’m not clear that Mohammad Atta was motivated by a zeal for building community centers either.

    I can’t believe the levels of obtuseness being displayed here. As has been pointed out repeatedly, first of all, this is not some random point two blocks away. This happens to be located on a street in which a building was destroyed because it got hit with one of the airplane’s landing gear. I really wish supporters of this thing would retire the “two blocks away” talking point.

    Anyway, as to Art’s point, what he is saying is that none of the other businesses you mentioned were in any way remotely tied to the attacks on 9/11. I don’t think there’s a University of Phoenix terror cell that was linked to blowing up the World Trade Center.

    And yes, we can’t link all Muslims to terrorism, blah blah blah. But we can actually link the particular Muslims associated with this structure to a brand of Islam that is certainly no more moderate than I am left-of-center. These are not individuals who have actually shown a real interest in “building bridges,” but rather seem not too eager to completely disassociate themselves from the radical jihadi movement.

    Long story short, it’s quite silly to say that building a mosque (or community center) on this spot is no worse than building a shoe store. It betrays a level of dispassionate libertarianism that, is quite frankly a little disturbing.

  • I’ve tried to make the point that this isn’t about politics, or shouldn’t be at any rate. It is about people who claim they want to be friends behaving in a most unfriendly manner.

    Joe, you seem to be really concerned about whether the Cordoba people are acting in a friendly manner. You don’t seem to care at all about the fact that lots of the mosque protesters have been acting in an unfriendly manner. Why is that?

  • Among other things, Mohammed Atta is not known to have been motivated by a zeal for selling commercial educational services, shoes, or steak.

    Atta was motivated by a desire to do the will of God. I suppose one might therefore be offended by the existence of St. Peter’s so close by. Of course, that would be silly, because while both the hijackers and the parishioners at St. Pete’s believe in God, they have very different ideas of what God is about and what he desires of us. But then the Cordoba people also have a fundamentally different understanding of God’s will than the hijackers. It’s just that most Americans don’t know much about Islam, and can lump all Muslims together in a way that they would never do with all Christians or all theists.

  • Paul,

    I concur with that last remark. Not only is it dispassionate, it appears to be downright cynical.

    Darwin,

    Why is it so hard to just accept that people have certain boundaries that are formed by too many variables to even possibly account for, and simply respect them?

    BA,

    I couldn’t care less about how the Cordoba people act. I’m simply pointing out that THEY claim that THEY want friendship, and are acting in a manner most inconsistent with that goal.

    I think that Americans who take 9/11 seriously – as the offended party – aren’t being unfriendly or uncharitable at all when they say that this building at this location should not exist. They’re simply making their boundaries known. Many of them (I include myself) would be more than willing to actually be friends should this simple and harmless request, which causes no injustice to anyone (legal rights aside), respected.

    Your entire argument, BA, is based upon a perpetual conflation of those who categorically despise Islam and those who are merely opposed to this particular project.

  • “It’s just that most Americans don’t know much about Islam, and can lump all Muslims together in a way that they would never do with all Christians or all theists.”

    You did it again. It’s all you have, really. And lefties like Sam Rocha will appreciate you for it, but the rest of us see through the layers of obfuscation you have attempted to drape over this issue.

  • But then the Cordoba people also have a fundamentally different understanding of God’s will than the hijackers.

    This fellow Rauf arguably has a fundamentally different understanding. What about who’s behind him? (And, again, his understanding of the political pathologies of the Arab world is fundamentally similar to characters rather familiar to us all, whose sentiments I do not want on public monuments).

    You don’t seem to care at all about the fact that lots of the mosque protesters have been acting in an unfriendly manner. Why is that?

    Because I do not regard their objection as an act of cultural aggression. It would be agreeable if everyone protesting was well-mannered and articulate. Friendliness has its time and place. So does asperity.

    I’m not clear that Mohammad Atta was motivated by a zeal for building community centers either.

    Clever.

  • Joe,

    I don’t think that all opponents of the mosque despise Islam. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to see how someone could oppose the project unless he was lumping all Muslims together to some extent. People wouldn’t object to the building of a Jewish community center.

  • Oh my gosh, reading the comments in reply to this post, and then watching how supporters or should I say the “tolerant” seem to create a tic and tie issue out of what they want us all to believe is “no big deal”, no different then “just let them build the damn thing” attitude. It doesn’t really matter whether “you” or anyone else who supports this think we who see this as a smack in the face of our faith, rights , and safety should just “let them build the damn thing” in context as though it’s not a big deal. Truth be told Americans, too many of , have given in to tolerance way too much. In that I mean this definition of tolerant, medicine no longer responding to a drug that has been taken over a prolonged period, or suffering no ill effects from exposure to a harmful substance this kind of tolerance is why we are , in my opinion more exposed and in danger of terrorism than ever before. And certainly more than our forefathers anticipated our country to be. This nation was not founded on multiple religions, and the freedom of religion act was intended to separate the state from religion. Our forefathers were simplistic, not idealistic in that they certaintly didn’t expect their descendents or future immigrants to pick a part and search for loop holes in our constitution, twisting the words to fit their own agenda. I’m sure had they known this would happen i’m sure they would have clarified to prevent the “ostentatious” attitude in too many americans we see today!

  • “it’s hard for me to see how someone could oppose the project unless he was lumping all Muslims together to some extent”

    Well there are many reasons.

    My primary reason is this: regardless of the intent of the builder, the construction of a mosque that close to the site of jihadist triumph is an additional jihadist triumph, and will be recognized as such the world over, especially by those who cheered in the streets on the day the towers went down.

    It is easy to project the Western liberal mindset onto the rest of the world, moreover, but what the educated, enlightened set in the West is now seeing as a “useless distraction”, the Muslim fanatic sees as an important symbolic victory.

    I would deny them that victory. I would establish a 1 mile radius around ground zero in which no specifically Islamic religious structure could go up, in fact. Outside of that, they may build wherever they like, however they like, with what resources and property they are able to legitimately acquire, like the rest of us.

    Sometimes abstract rights conflict real-world considerations. I think my view balances them both. And I find it shameful that we have become so materialistic in our outlook that we see issues such as these as “symbolic distractions.” This is why Western civilization will be defeated and destroyed, with Islam leading the charge against it.

  • …does the name of the group that wants to build it mean anything to you?

    If a group called “Japan beat the @#$# out of you, stupid round-eyes” wanted to build a community center at Pearl Harbor today, would that be cool? Even if none of them even had relatives involved in the bombing?

    The culturally sensitive response to this ‘cultural center’ (which includes a mosque in the design) is too rude to write here!

  • Moreover, I tend to agree with Geert Wilders. He doesn’t lump all Muslims together – but he argues that the “good Muslims”, the so-called “moderates”, are in fact bad Muslims by the standards of the Koran.

    From what I have read in the Koran regarding how Muslims are to interact with the non-Muslim world, I can’t say he is wrong. But I haven’t read the whole book, so I’m not going to say anything for certain.

    There was an excellent interview in Inside Catholic recently about the intellectual divide that took place in Islam way back in the Middle Ages, and the prospect of “re-Hellenizing” Islam, of bringing back to it the sort of synthesis of classical philosophy and theology that was achieved in the Catholic Church through the scholastics.

    THAT, more than the construction of some mosque, will do more to bring Islam into the modern world. We should support any and all Muslims who are part of this “re-Hellenization”. I’m all for that.

  • And just how many people are familiar with the “two blocks” meme… with respect to falling landing gear and proximity to WTC? I’d venture to say not many. And in that light, I’d also venture to say that many people would say “Really!? This was has people’s panties in a wad both on the right and left? Really!?” Seems to me that “Ground Zero” is a bit of a misnomer to say the least. In the end, this strikes me as much ado about nothing.

  • On the other hand, it’s hard for me to see how someone could oppose the project unless he was lumping all Muslims together to some extent.

    There is genus and then there is species.

    People wouldn’t object to the building of a Jewish community center.

    Gong.

  • I found the mental image that some of the folks who jumped fell further than this cultural center with a mosque will be from the footprint of the towers to be a useful visualization.

    That the site they want to build on is clear because it was nearly destroyed by debris on 9/11 would also classify it, in my mind, as part of “ground zero”– even if it is not the footprints of the twin towers, since it is a primary damage rather than a secondary (smoke, dust, etc) damage.

    That an already existing Christian church was denied the ability to either rebuild or re-locate makes it even more offensive that folks would depend on the willful cultural ignorance– perhaps we can call it taking advantage of our polite tendency to not point out the rude actions of others?– of folks.

  • I would establish a 1 mile radius around ground zero in which no specifically Islamic religious structure could go up, in fact.

    And you would violate the First Amendment in doing so. Considering how much Catholics will desperately need the strength of the First Amendment to be upheld as forces try to impose change upon Catholicism to fit the values of modern secularism, I think Catholics ought to be eager to defend the right of the Muslims to worship their God in the way they choose.

    Although I wish they would follow the JPII example, the First Amendment has no provision limiting its application to only the prudent, considerate, and charitable exercises of religion.

  • And you would violate the First Amendment in doing so.

    Thanks for the advisory. Since the 1st Amendment, in the hands of our appellate judiciary,holds that the tender sensibilities of the village atheist must not be injured by prayers at football games, you are going to have to excuse me if I tend to suspect that provision, and several others, have degenerated into excuses for a faction of the bar to impose the social policy it prefers. We are not protected by that 1st Amendment.

  • Michael,

    “And you would violate the First Amendment in doing so.”

    Though I’m sure the courts would see it that way, in the end, I certainly don’t. I don’t think establishing a zone in which a certain kind of religious building cannot go up is tantamount to denying freedom of religion if they can do anything they like outside that zone.

    I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about it. I think it’s unreasonable to insist that anyone has a right to build whatever they want, wherever they want, regardless of all other human and social considerations. To me, that’s a sort of fanaticism detached from reality.

    We’ve already seen the FA abused by pornographers and perverts of every stripe. Invoking it to prevent a prudential consideration such as the one I have brought up is, I think, another abuse. Not even the founders believed that these rights were absolute and unconditional, applying to all possible modes and methods of expression in all times and all places.

    ” I think Catholics ought to be eager to defend the right of the Muslims to worship their God in the way they choose.”

    Like the others, you totally muddle this issue. The “way” they worship is not in question; it is where they propose to construct a building that will offend the sensibilities of millions and serve as a symbolic victory for the jihad that is in question.

    I’d like to say, though, that I’m sure glad that here in Catholic Fascist land, we can have such a hearty and vigorous disagreement. Our fascist taskmasters must be losing their grip to allow such dis-uniformity of opinion!

  • “I tend to suspect that provision, and several others, have degenerated into excuses for a faction of the bar to impose the social policy it prefers.”

    Considering United States Supreme Court jurisprudence in regard to abortion clinics and buffer zones, Art, you are absolutely correct. Here is Scalia’s comment in dissent in Hill v. Colorado:

    “What is before us, after all, is a speech regulation directed against the opponents of abortion, and it therefore enjoys the benefit of the ‘ad hoc nullification machine’ that the Court has set in motion to push aside whatever doctrines of constitutional law that stand in the way of that highly favored practice.”

    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/assembly/topic.aspx?topic=buffer_zones

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/98-1856.ZD.html

    Tell me how chattering class elites line up on any issue, and I can predict with a high degree of accuracy how the federal courts will rule, Constitution be hanged.

  • for whatever reasons, you refuse to consider the consequences of these actions.

    No, I just disagree with you about the consequences. I don’t think the cultural center/mosque will cause much of a problem in NY; it’s a pretty crazy, busy place with all the varieties of humanity on display. A mosque is not going to change that, and, absent the borderline obsessive coverage of the news media, it would hardly attract notice at all. In six months, no one will care about this, least of all New Yorkers.

  • regardless of the intent of the builder, the construction of a mosque that close to the site of jihadist triumph is an additional jihadist triumph, and will be recognized as such the world over

    I’m not sure that jihadists would view this as a triumph (sufis aren’t considered Muslims by Wahabis, but polytheists). In any event, not doing something because it might be viewed positively by jihadists is a fool’s game. It’s letting the jihadists control you.

    I tend to agree with Geert Wilders. He doesn’t lump all Muslims together – but he argues that the “good Muslims”, the so-called “moderates”, are in fact bad Muslims by the standards of the Koran.

    You know, I hear people say this sort of thing from time to time, but I’ve never been able to figure out why I should care. If I were a Muslim, then whether my beliefs met with the standards of the Koran would be important. But if Islam is not the true religion, then the claim reduces to saying that moderate Muslims are following one set of made up beliefs rather than another. So what?

  • Here’s a REAL example of denying religious freedom:

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jihadwatch.org%2F2004%2F10%2Findonesia-brandishing-weapons-muslims-demand-catholic-church-and-school-shut-down.html&h=c4c53

    No, there’s no equivalence. Most Americans are either fine with or indifferent to a mosque almost anywhere else. But it appears that many Muslims don’t want Catholic churches ANYWHERE in their societies.

  • I would establish a 1 mile radius around ground zero in which no specifically Islamic religious structure could go up, in fact.

    Joe, less than 48 hours ago you were saying that no one denies the right of Cordoba to build near ground zero. Now you are denying that right.

  • Joe, less than 48 hours ago you were saying that no one denies the right of Cordoba to build near ground zero. Now you are denying that right.

    Actually it’s worse than that. In a comment at 2:41 p.m. today, Joe says “I don’t dispute their right to build. I never did.” Eight minutes later, at 2:49 p.m., he says that he would “establish a 1 mile radius around ground zero in which no specifically Islamic religious structure could go up.”

    At first I though he must only be speaking morally, not legally (i.e. Muslims have the legal right to build wherever, but morally it’s wrong to do so within 5,280 feet of the WTC). But no, in a follow up comment he elaborates: “I don’t think establishing a zone in which a certain kind of religious building cannot go up is tantamount to denying freedom of religion if they can do anything they like outside that zone . . . I think it’s unreasonable to insist that anyone has a right to build whatever they want, wherever they want, regardless of all other human and social considerations. To me, that’s a sort of fanaticism detached from reality.”

    That’s a remarkable turn around.

  • BA,

    “I’m not sure that jihadists would view this as a triumph (sufis aren’t considered Muslims by Wahabis, but polytheists).”

    I don’t think that distinction matters to a growing number of young Muslim fanatics who are themselves not too educated on the subtleties of their own religion’s varieties and history. Steyn documents this in “America Alone.” This sort of nebulous “Islam” is an identity filling a cultural vacuum among young Muslims in Western countries. And these particular Muslims are just as, if not more, prone to acts of terrorism and violence than Muslims living in a place like Saudi Arabia or Indonesia.

    “In any event, not doing something because it might be viewed positively by jihadists is a fool’s game. It’s letting the jihadists control you.”

    Well gee, you might as well say that defending yourself against a violent attack is letting the aggressor “control you” as well. Naturally anyone who initiates force is attempting to “control” another person. As always, the use of reason must be employed to discern whether or not to respond, and how to respond.

    Yes, we must modify our behavior to meet the aggressive behavior of others. Such is the sad reality of the fallen world in which we live. But by doing so from time to time, we actually prevent our enemies from establishing an even GREATER degree of control over us.

    Allowing the enemy an important symbolic and psychological victory boosts his morale and emboldens him to undertake more aggressive actions. Doing nothing, by contrast, is a sign of weakness. It is therefore better to prevent that victory than to allow it. Meanwhile no injustice is done to the Muslims who aren’t terrorists. They are free to build wherever else they choose, and most Americans won’t begrudge them that.

    Why anyone would want to avoid this win-win situation is absolutely beyond me. Something to do with some unreasonable desire to cling to abstract ideas, I suppose.

    “if Islam is not the true religion, then the claim reduces to saying that moderate Muslims are following one set of made up beliefs rather than another. So what?”

    Well, it was just brought up in response to the notion that opponents of this mosque “lump all Muslims together.” I don’t, but if Islam is inherently a violent religion, and we oppose it on those grounds, then it “looks like” an attack on Muslims in general. When the reality is, of course, that we have no problem with the doctrinally “bad” Muslim, though I am sure it is an insult to those Muslims to suggest they aren’t consistent in their faith.

    It seems unavoidable. The best thing we can do for Western Muslims, in the end, is convert them to Christianity. Because they’ll never get Sharia here without a war. And if they can’t have Sharia, I don’t see how they can remain “good Muslims.” So we should step up our conversion efforts.

  • BA,

    You’re right. I guess I did have a sort of rhetorical turn around there.

    I’m not quite sure what to say about it or think about it at this point. The more I hash things out, the less sure I am of what the right position is.

    I can only put it like this: I recognize their legal right to build it.

    I don’t think they should use it.

    And I don’t think there would be anything inherently wrong with them being denied that right by our courts.

    But that won’t happen. Our courts will allow it. And so I’m not even proposing that we make an attempt to deny that right. It would be a pointless waste of time. In my perfect world, it wouldn’t be a problem.

    So I really haven’t changed my position. I was engaging in a bit of fantasy myself, I suppose, but taking the REALITY of the situation into account, that’s not my position.

  • Joe-
    FWIW, I took it as a statement of your understanding of what IS, vs what you would do.

  • What’s the justification for allowing Muslim structures on the island of Manhattan at all, for that matter?

  • Joe struck upon something that has finally brought me out of the teeming family woodwork for a moment- my thoughts on this have been mostly centered upon how this whole episode has been a wasted opportunity to put the issue of reciprocity of religious freedom front and center in the international diplomatic arena.

    Obama could have scored big If he had weighed in to say- “Look- we aren’t going to re-draft our religious liberties so as not to allow some few violent extremists in the Middle East some moment of misplaced celebration- we should allow the community center/mosque to proceed with the same mechanisms as would a Christian or Jewish community center/place of worship. BUT this is a moment where the world should take Big Time Notice- there is a major problem in Muslim-dominant nations with the legal and moral principle of respecting religious freedoms- to allow Christians, Jews, Muslims and others to follow their conscience to worship freely, to speak freely, to share their Holy Books and literature- this is something that the UN should take up with increased vigour…..” And so on.

    I think if we had leaders take up this tack we would do much better than the two main approaches put forth as I have been reading and seeing. We need to be looking at even economic relationships as places where the principle of true religious freedom enters into Trade Pacts- lest we continue allowing the Money to trump the freedom concerns at the end of each business day- be it in Saudi Arabia or China. How can anyone take Americans seriously on something as huge as Reciprocity of Religious Freedoms if it makes no difference in the way we go about doing business- I don’t expect obama to take up this fight- the Left doesn’t really care much about the religious question- it is just a place of discomfort for them, and the Right certainly doesn’t like to bring in moral qualifiers into Trade/Economic policy discussions- so I’m not sure there are any white hats in the mainstream for me.

  • I’m a bit unclear as to why anyone would consider the building of a mosque/cultural center in New York to be a sign of “jihadist victory”, given that the 9/11 attacks killed far fewer people than intended at the WTC, only slightly damanged the Pentagon, completely failed in attacking the objective of Flight 93, and resulted in the US taking the Taliban out of power, largely dispursing Al Qaeda, and turning Iraq into a fairly functional liberal democracy.

    Yes, a bad thing happened. We were attacked and Americans were killed in a cowardly and underhanded fashion. But we turned around and beat that tar out of those who had attacked us and generally strengthened our position in the world. How does the fact that we are so strong and so secure that it is no threat to us to allow a mosque to be built on our territory represent a victory for jihadists?

    Nor am I sure that examples relating to the Islamicization of Europe are on point here — the US does not seem to even remotely have that problem, for various cultural and political reasons.

    Come to that, if anyone wants to build a shrine to the cult of the emperor at Pearl Harbor, I’m fine with that too. That didn’t exactly work out too well for Imperial Japan in the end either…

  • I thought America was different from Europe (in a good way)–i.e. easier acculturation, a bill of rights, a republic founded on ideals, etc.

  • Learning a lesson isn’t the same as emulating. I’d rather NOT emulate them in this regard, since their laxity has resulted in an increasingly dangerous situation.

  • But I thought the problem of Islam in Europe was related to their secularism–something that is not a problem here.

  • I’m a bit unclear as to why anyone would consider the building of a mosque/cultural center in New York to be a sign of “jihadist victory”,

    Because, looking at the prior pattern, the Islamists–or Jihadites or whatever phrase we’re going to use for the violent ones– go in to an area, destroy a cultural, religious or easily identifiable land mark, and build on it.

    As I linked earlier, the Cordoba Cathedral is a rare example of one of these structures that was later converted back– only rather than destroying it and building on the rubble, they just used it as a church.

    The name of the “cultural center”– before it became Park51– was the “Cordoba House.”

    Once conquered by Islam, always under Islam, is the belief– if we’re going to have a “dialog,” I’m going to listen to the other side.

  • I will heartily agree that the First Amendment has unfortunately been used to uphold filth and not uphold genuine speech and religion. In fact, I intend to be writing a lot on that topic.

    However, I reject the idea that just b/c others have trashed it that it it is useless. I think the First Amendment if interpreted properly can protect genuine religious expression. Catholics, knowing full well that the secularists hate us far more than Muslims, ought to be encouraging the idea of the First Amendment protecting religious expression that is deeply unpopular.

    And yes, Muslims have often denied Christians their right to worship. But their injustice does not justify injustice on our side. I believe there is a saying involving cheeks which applies.

    To that end, a 1 mile “no-Islam” zone is not tolerable.

    The “way” they worship is not in question; it is where they propose to construct a building that will offend the sensibilities of millions and serve as a symbolic victory for the jihad that is in question.

    Most sensibilities are offended nowadays by crosses marking tombstones and by the mere existence of large churches that look like churches, not to mention public prayer or other displays of religious expression. If you go down this road, you have no defense for those who wish to use similar arguments to further exclude Catholicism from the public square. Our rights, however trampled they may be, are extremely valuable in protection from those who wish to silence the Church. It is folly to throw them away in order to prevent this mosque.

    I’d like to say, though, that I’m sure glad that here in Catholic Fascist land, we can have such a hearty and vigorous disagreement. Our fascist taskmasters must be losing their grip to allow such dis-uniformity of opinion!

    Not if we’re only pretending to heartily disagree, in order to confuse the liberals into thinking we’re open-minded, and thereby ensnare them into the recognition of the American state as the City of God.

  • But we haven’t been conquered by Islam. Indeed, be pretty much obliterated all of the visible groups that were involved in the 9/11 attacks — aside from a few guys hiding in caves so remote that it’s difficult to get at them.

    And the mosque would only be built there because the land was purchased and built on just like any other organization could. By our laws, under our system.

    I’m just not seeing any kind of victory here.

    I mean, when the Turks conquered Constantanople they took over Hagia Sophia and renovated it as a mosque. (It’s now a secular museum, because of Ataturk’s secularizing regime in the 20th century.) That was done by the Turks as a conquering power because they could take anything they wanted.

    There is no conquering power in New York — and we are the conquring power in Kabul. I’m just not seeing it as similar.

  • Michael

    “However, I reject the idea that just b/c others have trashed it that it it is useless.”

    So do I. I never said it was useless, and I don’t think anyone else did either. Saying it isn’t applicable in every conceivable circumstance isn’t the same as saying it is useless, and I think you recognize that. So we agree on that basic point.

    “Catholics, knowing full well that the secularists hate us far more than Muslims,”

    I question that assumption, Michael. I think some Muslims hate us more than some secularists.

    “But their injustice does not justify injustice on our side.”

    No one says it does. There’s no injustice in preventing the construction of one building for prudential reasons. It would be unjust if we said they couldn’t build anywhere.

    “If you go down this road, you have no defense for those who wish to use similar arguments to further exclude Catholicism from the public square.”

    Well, I disagree. This is about a very specific thing. Now of course I grant that unreasonable, duplicitous people try to make equivalents out of things that are not. But these are truly not equivalents. Genuine religious freedom is not denied through this prudential consideration. It is denied when secularists attempt to banish a whole religion from every aspect of public life.

  • But we haven’t been conquered by Islam.

    By our sane measure? Goodness, no.

    And a consecrated Host is just a bit of bread to that PZ Meyers fellow.

  • Darwin,

    With due respect to you my friend, I think you are being incredibly naive. Take a look at my last link.

  • “What’s the justification for allowing Muslim structures on the island of Manhattan at all, for that matter?”

    Freedom, the same reason racists are able to freely spread hate in our society. That does not mean we allow racists to set up shop at Gettysburg.

  • The victory will be in the eyes of every fanatic in the Middle East who believes this is further proof that the US is the weak horse. I have absolutely no doubt that this is precisely the message the Cordoba House (Dhimmis always welcome!) Imam is intending to send to one of his audiences, while his talk of peace, tolerance and bridge building is purely for gullible Western consumption.

  • “I’m not sure that jihadists would view this as a triumph (sufis aren’t considered Muslims by Wahabis, but polytheists).”

    I don’t think that distinction matters to a growing number of young Muslim fanatics who are themselves not too educated on the subtleties of their own religion’s varieties and history.

    You know, one of the “dogs that didn’t bark” in this whole situation is that I haven’t seen any comments from actual jihadists about how the mosque represents a victory for Islam (maybe they are out there but I’ve just missed them somehow). There’s been lots of talk about how Muslims all secretly believe this, but they seem to be remarkably well disciplined in keeping their true feelings under wraps.

    This sort of nebulous “Islam” is an identity filling a cultural vacuum among young Muslims in Western countries. And these particular Muslims are just as, if not more, prone to acts of terrorism and violence than Muslims living in a place like Saudi Arabia or Indonesia.

    If this is going to be the standard, then you have to ask: what is more likely to make young Muslims in Western countries turn to violence, 1) allowing a group of moderate Muslims to build a cultural center, or 2) treating all Muslims as if they are terrorists until proven innocent?

    Well gee, you might as well say that defending yourself against a violent attack is letting the aggressor “control you” as well.

    No, if someone is *actually* physically attacking you then you have to defend yourself. But if the “aggression” involves nothing more than a guy thinking he has conquered you because you wore a white shirt today, then I say let him have his pathetic fantasy. Never wearing white again to deny him his “victory” allows him much more control over your life than if you just ignored him.

    Allowing the enemy an important symbolic and psychological victory boosts his morale and emboldens him to undertake more aggressive actions.

    We’re talking about building a community center. Some aggression. (“if we don’t nip this in the bud, next time they’ll want to add bingo night”).

  • BA,

    It’s getting boring responding to things such as this:

    “treating all Muslims as if they are terrorists until proven innocent?”

    Objection your honor.

    No one claims this, no one said this. Sigh. Yawn. At what point does it become immoral for you to keep repeating it? You think about it.

    In any case, it may be damned if we do, damned if we don’t let them build. If we do, we are weak. If we don’t, we are “oppressive.” Either way, it gives them an excuse to do what they want to do anyway. So there’s no reason for us to give them a morale boost.

    Your last paragraphs are nothing but a flippant dismissal of the realities of warfare, which are as much psychological as they are physical. In any case, I didn’t say the mosque itself was aggressive, but that it’s construction will embolden aggressive behavior.

  • Iraqi-American against the meaning of the name. It’s inflamitory.

    Muslim cleric saying it would “become a focal point for both the supporters of terrorism and the champions of Islamophobia.”

    “In an interesting sidebar, some clerics from Al-Azhar recently spoke out in opposition to the construction of the Cordoba House mosque near New York’s Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood. Dr. Abd Al-Mu’ti Bayumi, a member of Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy, said that the mosque’s construction could link Islam to 9/11, even though Islam is innocent of the deed. He also called the plan a “Zionist plot.”[1]”

    Opinion article from ME English-language newspaper accepting the tradition of building on the enemy’s ruins, but arguing that the Cordoba “Mosque” was really about a victory over other Muslims, and this cultural center will be a victory of “culture and religion over commerce and fashion.”

    That’s from a moment’s search, and a few minutes of sorting. It honestly took more time to write the links and copy stuff over than to find it. (Amazing how the news stations haven’t managed it, eh?)

  • Most sensibilities are offended nowadays by crosses marking tombstones and by the mere existence of large churches that look like churches, not to mention public prayer or other displays of religious expression.

    Very few people are offended by that. Those that are have the solicitude of people in gatekeeper positions. Someone else would be told to buck up and get lost.

    I’m just not seeing any kind of victory here.

    Because you have forgotten what the battle is.

    I never said it was useless, and I don’t think anyone else did either.

    I did.

    You know, one of the “dogs that didn’t bark” in this whole situation is that I haven’t seen any comments from actual jihadists about how the mosque represents a victory for Islam

    Perhaps because it is money that talks.

    If this is going to be the standard, then you have to ask: what is more likely to make young Muslims in Western countries turn to violence, 1) allowing a group of moderate Muslims to build a cultural center, or 2) treating all Muslims as if they are terrorists until proven innocent?

    What induces troublesome youths to engage in self-aggrandizing behavior in other situations:

    1. A deficit of clear and consistent discipline;

    2. Lack of domestic responsibilites.

  • No one claims this, no one said this. Sigh. Yawn. At what point does it become immoral for you to keep repeating it?

    I would like to second that remark.

  • No one claims this, no one said this.

    Of course people have said that. Lots of people have said that. Open your eyes.

    In any case, it may be damned if we do, damned if we don’t let them build. If we do, we are weak. If we don’t, we are “oppressive.” Either way, it gives them an excuse to do what they want to do anyway. So there’s no reason for us to give them a morale boost.

    I was almost with you till the end, where you seem to pull back from the logical implication of what you are saying. If we do X, they will be emboldened. If we don’t do X, then they will be emboldened. Therefore we must do X to keep them from being emboldened. Doesn’t quite work. What I would propose instead is that since no matter what we do some people will use it as an excuse to hate us we should forget about how they might react and strive to live up to our higher principles.

  • BA-
    are you talking about somewhere else, or here?

  • “Of course people have said that. Lots of people have said that. Open your eyes.”

    No one HERE has said it, and since it isn’t the necessary premise for opposition to the mosque, there’s no reason for you to keep repeating it.

    “Therefore we must do X to keep them from being emboldened.”

    That’s not exactly what I said. They might be angry if the mosque doesn’t go up – but they’ll be elated if it does. I’d rather have my enemies angry than elated. And I’d rather they see us as a society that hasn’t entirely folded in on itself as opposed to a paper tiger. That belief does not eliminate dangers, but it checks them. If they’re determined to attack us no matter what, how they perceive our resolve will determine how bold and aggressive they will become in those attacks.

    I think the jihadists are watching and waiting. I think that’s why you haven’t heard anything yet. And I think they know full well that this idea of “adhering to higher principles” – not something I totally toss aside, mind you – is one of the West’s soft spots. This is why they use “hate speech” laws in countries that have them to silence enemies of Islam. They appropriate the language of political correctness and political victimhood of the left, when of course in reality they hate the same left and would wipe it out the day they took power. Here they appropriate the idea of equal rights.

    We want to see everyone as equals. Biologically, we are. But equality isn’t just about our race, or faith, or gender, or sexual preference. It also presumes that we all agree to live and work and play by certain rules in a certain spirit, towards a certain end. When those rules are systematically violated and undermined, then we have to question their application. We can’t forget that the rules are not pure, perfect, divine categories, things-in-themselves floating in the ether. They are established for certain ends, and they can also be used and abused for different ends.

    The jihadists know this. Almost nothing is sacred to them in the pursuit of their own ends – they are allowed to lie, cheat, steal, rape, murder, and perform every other sin and evil against infidels to further the cause of Islam. This was known to Americans during the Barbary Wars, an episode we’ve all but forgotten and ought to remember now especially. This has been the modus operandi of expansionist Islam for 1300 years.

    The jihadists know that we have categorical imperatives, that the Christianity they face today is not that which they faced at Tours, Jerusalem, Lepanto and Vienna, that secularism and liberalism contain within them the seeds of their own destruction through their fanatical devotion to tolerance. They know how to use the modern psychology of the modern Western man against him.

  • Also-
    Morale boost may mean emboldened, but isn’t what he said anyways.

    Morale boost does NOT equal an excuse, and an excuse is what he said they’d have either way.

    Given a choice, when someone is going to pick a fight with me either way, I’ll take the route that is most likely to make his buddies that might be on the fence have second thoughts.

  • No one HERE has said it, and since it isn’t the necessary premise for opposition to the mosque, there’s no reason for you to keep repeating it.

    Joe, if you’ll recall, what I said was that having people equate all muslims with terrorists was more likely to radicalize young western muslims than was allowing some moderate muslims to build a community center two blocks from ground zero. That remains true regardless of whether the offending statements occurred on this blog or elsewhere.

    They might be angry if the mosque doesn’t go up – but they’ll be elated if it does.

    How do you know this?

    I’d rather have my enemies angry than elated. And I’d rather they see us as a society that hasn’t entirely folded in on itself as opposed to a paper tiger.

    It’s a common argument against the free society that our openness is interpreted by our enemies as weakness. Yet as the years roll by it is the closed societies that have had a tendency to crumble. From my perspective, our freedoms are a sign of our strength, not our weakness. A strong society isn’t threatened by opposition marches, or religious differences, or someone burning the flag. I see the opposition to the mosque as a sign of many Americans insecurity. Things like the financial crisis have made people worry that we are a lot weaker than we really are.

  • having people equate all muslims with terrorists was more likely to radicalize young western muslims than was allowing some moderate muslims to build a community center two blocks from ground zero.

    Who cares? It’s not like it’s an either-or choice.

    As my links show, NONJIHADIST Muslims are far from uniformly in favor of this symbolic victory.

    We are not talking about “treating all Muslims as if they are terrorists until proven innocent”– so why do you keep harping on this odd notion?

  • Here’s a question– why are you treating the Cordoba House as representative of all Muslims, when the project has questionable roots and is trying to hide information about itself?

    Do you think being dumb enough to think that building a mosque and cultural center on or by a crater created by members of your faith will PROMOTE civil dialog?

  • Bah, dropped the “is characteristic of Muslims” from that last sentence.

  • BA,

    What you said was this:

    “If this is going to be the standard, then you have to ask: what is more likely to make young Muslims in Western countries turn to violence, 1) allowing a group of moderate Muslims to build a cultural center, or 2) treating all Muslims as if they are terrorists until proven innocent?”

    No one is proposing 2. Even most of the extreme opponents of the mosque don’t propose 2. That’s why I object to you constantly bringing it up. You’re attacking a position that no one here holds, and that few people in general hold.

    There’s a certain person who contributes to a certain blog who likes to come here and do that on a regular basis. Don’t emulate him.

    “as the years roll by it is the closed societies that have had a tendency to crumble”

    I don’t deny that closed societies crumble. But the extent of “openness” we in the West are forcing upon ourselves today is unprecedented. You go on to say,

    “From my perspective, our freedoms are a sign of our strength, not our weakness. ”

    From my perspective, it is precisely because we have historically sought to balance our ideals with necessity that has been the source of our strength. Balances are hard to achieve, but we have to try anyway. We can look back historically and say that the FDR’s internment camps were a terrible idea – can we, with all confidence, say they were entirely unnecessary? We could say the same about Lincoln’s suspension of habeus corpus, or any number of similar incidents.

    And it’s only been about 50, 60 years – a few generations – since the West has become multicultural, militantly secular, and self-loathing. This anemic civilization has not yet faced a true test, until now. And I’d say given the look of Europe, it isn’t passing.

  • Yet as the years roll by it is the closed societies that have had a tendency to crumble.

    Argentina (1930-43), Uruguay (1955-73), Chile (1939-73), France (1931-40). Which was a ‘closed’ society?

    From my perspective, our freedoms are a sign of our strength, not our weakness.

    Your freedoms in law are dependent upon the arbitrary will of the appellate judiciary. That aside, what is at issue here is not freedom, but manners.

  • So do I. I never said it was useless, and I don’t think anyone else did either. Saying it isn’t applicable in every conceivable circumstance isn’t the same as saying it is useless, and I think you recognize that. So we agree on that basic point.

    Fine. Your argument renders it useless. The fact that you and Art have justified it based on the past sins of Muslims effectively makes the First Amendment meaningless and useless, whether you would call it that or not.

    I question that assumption, Michael. I think some Muslims hate us more than some secularists.

    That is undoubtedly true; however the secularists hate Catholics far more than they hate Muslims. I was unclear.

    No one says it does. There’s no injustice in preventing the construction of one building for prudential reasons. It would be unjust if we said they couldn’t build anywhere.

    I don’t think you mean that. Prudence may be one thing but it’s another to interfere with one’s property rights and right to religion. I don’t think the prudential considerations for banning the mosque outweigh the costs government intervention in property rights, etc. on such a flimsy standard as “sensibilities.” If we adopt the precedent that houses of worships may not be built in areas where it would offend the local sensibilities, then we will never see another Catholic Church built in the city of San Francisco. I’m exaggerating of course, but I think you get the point-you’re establishing a very low standard by which opponents of religion can ban religious buildings they don’t like.

    Well, I disagree. This is about a very specific thing. Now of course I grant that unreasonable, duplicitous people try to make equivalents out of things that are not. But these are truly not equivalents. Genuine religious freedom is not denied through this prudential consideration. It is denied when secularists attempt to banish a whole religion from every aspect of public life.

    That’s fantastic, but when you become outraged at the next instance that religious freedom is denied to Catholics or Christians, don’t be surprised if they’re using the same arguments you are advancing here today. Then, your witness will not be as effective and the important battle lost.

  • @ Michael….seriously you are going to compare the building of a mosque near ground zero to catholic/christian crosses being put up to honor christ or in memory of the deceased? Really? Wow , not only have Americans become too tolerant, as I stated earlier, but misguided as well. First of all to the best of my knowledge, there weren’t catholics/christians who used planes to smash into buildings killing over 3000 people in America, all in the name of Catholicism or christianity..Secondly however the framers of the constitution initially intended the first amendment to be taken, on a literal basis, I’m pretty sure there would have been some major re-work on it if they had to deal with americans being murdered in this country in the name of a any religion. On top of that, people in the name of thier so called religious beliefs who werent even born in this country but rather took advantage of the opportunities this country offers in giving them a right to come over here on a visa, go to school here, work here and yes even learn how to fly our planes, and blow us up. Keep in mind people this kind of thing had never happened during the time our forefathers created the constitution, or anything of this magnitude in history , nor from any religion whose primary focus in their belief is anyone who is not muslim should be killed and the goal and intent of that religion is to conquer the world. I’m pretty sure all the other religious beliefs and practices in this country are about peace and not war, and believe that all have the right , by God, to practice thier own beliefs in thier own way, none of them threaten the lives and security of mankind. I know my faith does not promote anything but peace in all things save for self defense. So in a nut shell we should not be lumping together the islamic faith and beliefs with any of the other religious faiths and beliefs in this country, including the lack of any faith at all, atheism. Period!

  • Secondly however the framers of the constitution initially intended the first amendment to be taken, on a literal basis, I’m pretty sure there would have been some major re-work on it if they had to deal with americans being murdered in this country in the name of a any religion.

    Given the history of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, which included wars of religion which had killed hundres of thousands if not millions in the struggle between various branches of Christianity, I really don’t think that the idea of killing in the name of religion would have been foreign to the founders. If anything, the idea of not having an established state religion was a response to such history.

    On top of that, people in the name of thier so called religious beliefs who werent even born in this country but rather took advantage of the opportunities this country offers in giving them a right to come over here on a visa, go to school here, work here and yes even learn how to fly our planes, and blow us up.

    Which it may be satisfying to refer to “so called religious beliefs”, it seems to me that it is not religious beliefs themselves that are the problem here. Mohammad Atta could have been a devotee of the Spaghetti Monster for all I care, so long as he didn’t fly planes into buildings. Nor would I be more pleased with him if he’d committed his crimes because of political beliefs instead of religious ones. It’s the killing that is unacceptable, and it seems to me that after bombing Afghanistan, driving the Taliban out, and building a new government there, we’ve made our displeasure with attacking our buildings pretty clear.

    Keep in mind people this kind of thing had never happened during the time our forefathers created the constitution, or anything of this magnitude in history

    All at once, maybe. But let’s be honest: the history of the world is soaked in the blood of religious wars. The only thing unique about 9/11 is that it’s recent, it’s local and it involved airplanes.

    nor from any religion whose primary focus in their belief is anyone who is not muslim should be killed and the goal and intent of that religion is to conquer the world.

    As a Catholic, I definitely believe that Islam is a false religion which involves some dangerous tendencies, but your characterization of it is woefully ignorant. Islam does not preach that anyone who is not a Muslim should be killed — though given a certain interpretation it does support conquering the whole world, in the sense that it holds that Islam should become the one religious faith. I object to that because I think Islam is false, and I object to using the means of coercion or conquest (which not all Muslims support) but I can hardly object to it in principle since I think that it would be best if everyone were Catholic.

  • It is apparent that DarwinCatholic has forgotten about 9/11 and thinks we should get past, and forget 9/11. With that kind of mentality, and ignorance which actually was prevalent up until 9/11 and allowed 9/11 to happen, one would almost be inviting or allowing another attack to occur in the future.

    Plus, it is insensitive to the extreme, especially to to the 9/11 victims families, to want them as well as others to get over 9/11 exceptionalism, move on and to want have this mosque built a stone’s throw away from Ground Zero. Plus, there is already a mosque located about 5 blocks away from Ground Zero, where absolutely NO Muslim extremists killed 3000 innocents, so what is the true purpose of this mosque? Is it really to “build bridges” with the West when there actions are quite disrecpectful insensitive to the ultra-extreme and they are producing the exact opposite of their “stated intent”? Or is this mosque being built to “build bridges” from the Middle East to America and try and impose Sharia laws on us under the guise of “religious freedom”?

    Was 9/11 not the most deadly attack in U.S. history? Would you want a tribute to be built to the Japanese at or near Pearl Harbor? If not, it is the same principle of showing common sense and sensitivity.

  • Bah. Not even close. He doesn’t seem to accept the power of they symbol, or even that it exists (the tired old saw about smiling at a dog comes to mind), but he hasn’t forgotten it.

    9/11 is not unique. Nothing I believe requires that it be so– it is part of a current conflict, the first blow that was was utterly un-ignorable, and a wake-up to the population. None of those things are singular in the history of the world.
    Every blow in a knife fight has been done before, between others, and probably for the same reasons– doesn’t change that it’s life and death.

  • (to be clear– the first symbol I’m talking about is building on the rubble, the second is the attack itself; wish editing was possible)

  • The fact that you and Art have justified it based on the past sins of Muslims effectively makes the First Amendment meaningless and useless, whether you would call it that or not.

    Constitutional provisions have been rendered meaningless because they have been promiscuously impressed into the service of the imperious will of the haute bourgeois crew who make up our appellate judiciary. Not my doing.

    Both Mr. Hargrave and myself have repeatedly said we are primarily concerned not with the exercise of legal rights and entitlements but rather with what the project says about the taste, motives, and sense of self of the promoters. People’s obligations in public life are not reducible to their legal rights, but you and Blackadder have persistently argued as if they were. That having been said, I cannot help but note (as Mr. McClarey has) that you have distended the meaning of ‘free exercise thereof’ to cover putting a 13 story building at a national historic site.

    Personally, I would not care if the usual lumbering machinery of the regulatory state frustrates this fellow Rauf (and whomever is behind this) as it has Larry Silverstein. Our liberties have suffered notably in the succession of low dishonest decades in which we have lived. Making a fuss over the property rights of this odoriferous crew is the equivalent of chasing cockroaches on your windowsill when you’ve got a house full of coyotes.

    I really don’t think that the idea of killing in the name of religion would have been foreign to the founders. If anything, the idea of not having an established state religion was a response to such history.

    The idea of community control was not foreign to them either. The 1st Amendment applied only to the central government (“Congress shall make no law”).

  • Constitutional provisions have been rendered meaningless because they have been promiscuously impressed into the service of the imperious will of the haute bourgeois crew who make up our appellate judiciary. Not my doing.

    Yes, but by encouraging this you’re not making it better. If you want to change the status quo, you need to oppose it in all of its manifestations, not merely those which are pleasing to you.

    Both Mr. Hargrave and myself have repeatedly said we are primarily concerned not with the exercise of legal rights and entitlements but rather with what the project says about the taste, motives, and sense of self of the promoters.

    That’s simply not true. When you have this mile radius, you’re dealing with property. I agree it’s in bad taste but you are advocating the government’s interference with those property rights. It’s very different to say “They shouldn’t” and “they can’t” build.

    That having been said, I cannot help but note (as Mr. McClarey has) that you have distended the meaning of ‘free exercise thereof’ to cover putting a 13 story building at a national historic site.

    It is not “at” a national historic site; it’s by a national historic site. It’s two blocks away. There are very few historic sites that command power over the surrounding areas. For example, in D.C. you walk off the mall and there’s no restrictions. Subways, McDonald’s, etc. (other than you can’t be taller than the Capital). Same with battlegrounds from the Civil War.

  • Joe,

    I don’t know if anyone has explicitly said “we should assume all muslims are terrorists until proven otherwise.” A lot of people have been acting that way, though. I could provide examples, but when I’ve done so previously you’ve dismissed them as irrelevant.

  • The examples are irrelevant [and SHOULD be dismissed as so] because your pointing to them is nothing more than engaging in the very sort of guilt by association of which you’re accusing Joe et al.

  • Jay,

    Joe’s argument was allowing the mosque would incite western muslims to violence. My counter was that insulting statements by anti-mosque people is more likely to incite. How is the fact that such statements have been made irrelevant to that point?

  • Michael D-
    The place was mostly destroyed by the events of 9/11; historic enough for me. If they are sincere, then they won’t mind moving to someplace that doesn’t symbolically match the Cordoba mosque.

    If they are sincere, well, we have no constitutional responsibility to aid and abet the other side in a war.

    Blackadder-
    your definition of “assuming they are all terrorist” seems to include paying attention to their choice in names, past associations and current choices. Notice how nobody is suggesting that all mosques be required to go through the FBI before they’re built? Or all mosques do anything?
    Instead, we respond to suspicious activity– desire to build on the scene of an attack by co-religionists in recent history– and treat that activity as suspicious.
    It is not trying to criminalize Halloween if you outlaw masks in banks!

    BTW, Joe specifically said “Muslim fanatics.” Nothing there about Western Muslims, although he did later identify that some young Muslims in the west were identifying themselves with extremism. (A ‘no duh’ statement for anyone watching the news for terrorism cases.)

    Why do you keep offering false choices?

    What everyone seems to be missing is that the “standard procedures” have clearly not been followed, or the church that was destroyed on 9/11 would not have been fighting for permission to rebuild for longer, then abruptly been denied.

  • It is not “at” a national historic site; it’s by a national historic site. It’s two blocks away.

    For the umpteenth time, the bloody landing gear fell on that Burlington Coat Factory outlet, it is within eyeshot of the point of impact, and radius of debris and dust was wider still.

    That’s simply not true.

    That is true, if you read his words and mine in their entirety. (BTW, I never said jack about specific distances. I would not draw the line where he did at that point in time, though I cannot say his is unreasonable).

    I am not enamored of the fact that the stock of Christian congregations has fallen so that they are harried by local zoning boards in ways they did not used to be. However, simply invoking the magic words ‘free exercise’ does not tell you how to adjudicate these sorts of disputes.

    Yes, but by encouraging this you’re not making it better. If you want to change the status quo, you need to oppose it in all of its manifestations, not merely those which are pleasing to you.

    Oh yes I am. No one has been fined for recusancy or debarred from public office due to their religious affiliation since 1833. Instead, ‘establishment of religion’ and ‘free exercise’ have been construed to mandate a secular orthodoxy and to cosset small and litigious minorities which the appellate judiciary deems more appealing than the rest of us. That is the actually existing ‘First Amendment’, not what you would have it be, and what you are advocating has little to do with real working liberties. At the core of discourse over the First Amendment is not liberty but the insistence of the bar that it is their place to vet and regulate every aspect of our common life.

    The problem here cannot be understood well in terms of individual rights and entitlements, and neither can the interaction of the religious and secular elements of the public life be well understood in that way. That site is part of our common life and its disposition is properly the discretion of our common institutions. (The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation certainly does not qualify, as even Mayor Bloomberg now sees). Whether it be sticking a mosque there or replacing that cross with a replica of Sally Rand doing a fan dance, some additions are not in keeping with the history of the site.

    The following have been implicit in your remarks or in Blackadder’s, sometimes both:

    1. Specific individuals or formally constituted corporations are the only bearers of interests worthy of consideration and the only categories between which one may legitimately draw distinctions.

    2. Obligations are reducible to legally-defined rights.

    3. What Rauf says can be taken at face value (but not what J. Hargrave says).

    All are false.

  • For the umpteenth time, the bloody landing gear fell on that Burlington Coat Factory outlet, it is within eyeshot of the point of impact, and radius of debris and dust was wider still.

    Under that thinking, the entire city of New Orleans is a historic site due to the flooding it experienced city-wide after Katrina.

    Specific individuals or formally constituted corporations are the only bearers of interests worthy of consideration and the only categories between which one may legitimately draw distinctions.

    Where on earth did I imply this? My position, in these terms, is more along the lines of this: The community (whether you define that as NYC or USA) has an interest in protecting its historic site. However, considering the distance between the WTC and the proposed building, the community’s reasonable interest in keeping the mosque away is fairly low. This interest is still high enough that a reasonable, prudent, and charitable builder would take the mosque elsewhere. However, it is not high enough to justify the interference with one’s ability to use his own property and to practice his religion. That precedent would be harmful to good religious expressions and uses of property. Therefore, the government ought not to interfere even if it would be better to not build the mosque.

    Also, I didn’t use the language of rights. That takes care of #2.

    3. What Rauf says can be taken at face value (but not what J. Hargrave says).Never said that. I don’t really care what he says. Maybe he believes in tolerance; maybe he wants to show the growth & superiority of Islam. I don’t really care. Doesn’t change the calculus.

  • What Rauf says can be taken at face value (but not what J. Hargrave says).

    Never said that. I don’t really care what he says. Maybe he believes in tolerance; maybe he wants to show the growth & superiority of Islam. I don’t really care. Doesn’t change the calculus.

    Not to you, but it has been a big part of the calculus of many of the most vocal backers of the proposal. E.g., “this is the kind of Muslim we need to encourage!”

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2008432,00.html

    As increasingly appears to be the case, Imam Rauf has no problem blowing the Islamist dog whistle while his fawning western admirers bathe in his unicorns and rainbows rhetoric.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/244515/united-states-has-more-muslim-blood-its-hands-al-qaeda-has-its-hands-innocent-n

    http://www.slate.com/id/2264770/?from=rss

    While this does nothing to change the legal calculus–if he and the Cordobans acquire the full title and the funding, they can indeed build the damn thing–it certainly changes the moral light in which we view the project. Or should, but YMMV in 2010 America.

  • Under that thinking, the entire city of New Orleans is a historic site due to the flooding it experienced city-wide after Katrina.

    The flood was a natural disaster. Of what possible relevance is it to what is under discussion?

    You have arbitrarily drawn the boundary of what is of concern at the trapezoid which encompasses six of the seven buildings conventionally referred to as the “World Trade Center”. I do not know why you did this, given that the boundary of destruction was wider.

    Where on earth did I imply this?

    It was Blackadder I had in mind.

    However, it is not high enough to justify the interference with one’s ability to use his own property and to practice his religion. That precedent would be harmful to good religious expressions and uses of property.

    Tell it to the zoning board in the subdivision in which you live.

  • Also, I didn’t use the language of rights. That takes care of #2.

    No, your references to the 1st Amendment were in the language of something else.

  • Michael D,

    “Fine. Your argument renders it useless. The fact that you and Art have justified it based on the past sins of Muslims effectively makes the First Amendment meaningless and useless, whether you would call it that or not.”

    Is it possible for people to make an argument around here without putting words in another person’s mouth? I don’t think I said anything about “past sins”. Neither the issue of American sentiment, nor the message the mosque would send to the jihad, are issues located strictly in the past; they are ongoing disputes.

    And is it possible to argue around here without the slippery slope fallacy? The notion that barring people from one area is tantamount to injustice and persecution is just nonsense.

    And it shouldn’t be necessary either – they should voluntarily assent to our request, if they want to be such great friends.

    “That is undoubtedly true; however the secularists hate Catholics far more than they hate Muslims. I was unclear.”

    What was the point of this again?

    “I don’t think you mean that. Prudence may be one thing but it’s another to interfere with one’s property rights and right to religion.”

    We do it all the time. We do it to Christian scientists who won’t medicate their kids, we do it to Mormon polygamists, even the ones who don’t marry 14 year old girls. Sometimes we decide that there are certain moral issues that supersede these rights. Nothing was ever meant to be absolute and untouchable.

    “I don’t think the prudential considerations for banning the mosque outweigh the costs government intervention in property rights, etc. on such a flimsy standard as “sensibilities.””

    No, I get it; you guys think anyone who has a problem with this is some sort of sentimental fool who should just get over it. Pissing off 60% or more of Americans is ok – they have decent lives, they should just go live them and be quiet. But Allah forgive us if we ever inconvenience a few Muslims.

    In any case, if it were only about sensibilities, it would be one thing. But this mosque will be construed as a victory sign by the jihad, and that’s something for various reasons America ought to avoid.

    I acknowledge the existential fact of their right to build, as well as the fact that nothing will stop them from building it, but I don’t think they have an absolute moral right to do so.

    “If we adopt the precedent that houses of worships may not be built in areas where it would offend the local sensibilities,”

    I think we’re talking here about sensibilities related to a national tragedy such as 9/11, in which thousands lost their lives. If a Catholic mass murdered a bunch of gays in San Francisco, in the name of Christ and the Church, a church right next to the site of the massacre might indeed be in bad taste.

    So the standard isn’t as low as you think.

    “That’s fantastic, but when you become outraged at the next instance that religious freedom is denied to Catholics or Christians, don’t be surprised if they’re using the same arguments you are advancing here today. Then, your witness will not be as effective and the important battle lost.”

    The argument I’m using today centers around a mass murder and a symbol of victory to those who cheered when it happened. I would argue, in the future, that if those things aren’t present, the cases aren’t the same. And in any case it won’t matter what I argue, since the secular courts/government are determined to continue waging war on Christianity anyway.

    I mean really, some brilliant argument from one of us is going to single-handedly stop the secular world from prosecuting us and treating us AT LEAST as a good as Muslims? I don’t think so. Christianity will always be held to a different standard.

  • Under that thinking, the entire city of New Orleans is a historic site due to the flooding it experienced city-wide after Katrina.

    If Prince Namor shows up to build a cultural center for better understanding and cooperation between the people of New Orleans and Atlantis, I will be sure to point this out.

  • Not to you, but it has been a big part of the calculus of many of the most vocal backers of the proposal

    I’m not one of the most vocal backers of the proposal. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

    The flood was a natural disaster. Of what possible relevance is it to what is under discussion?

    The devastation of Katrina is historic. Unless you’re going to draw the line of historic places to be only those places made historic by acts of man, I think by your logic everywhere that suffered damage under Katrina ought to be declared a historic site.

    You have arbitrarily drawn the boundary of what is of concern at the trapezoid which encompasses six of the seven buildings conventionally referred to as the “World Trade Center”. I do not know why you did this, given that the boundary of destruction was wider

    I don’t know what’s “arbitrary” about it. The World Trade Center was the target, not the Burlington Coat Factory. We mourned the attack on the WTC, not the Burlington Coat Factory. I would bet that mourners walked right by the Burlington coat Factory on their way to the WTC site to leave their respects. Pretending this Burlington is a historic site is absurd.

    Tell it to the zoning board in the subdivision in which you live.

    I will, thanks.

    No, your references to the 1st Amendment were in the language of something else.

    I should have been more clear. I did use the language of rights before, but in that comment I did not in order to demonstrate that my position is not merely a rights-based one but one that I think takes better account of the common good.

    Sometimes we decide that there are certain moral issues that supersede these rights. Nothing was ever meant to be absolute and untouchable.

    Never said it was absolute but there’s no way this rises to the high levels in the examples you gave (i.e. trying to curb child death and child abuse).

    No, I get it; you guys think anyone who has a problem with this is some sort of sentimental fool who should just get over it.

    Actually, yes. You need to be reasonable and your outrage at this mosque is not in proportion to the wrong. While I have repeatedly agreed with you that it would be preferable to not build the mosque there, I don’t the wrong they do justifies the wrong you propose.

    I think we’re talking here about sensibilities related to a national tragedy such as 9/11, in which thousands lost their lives. If a Catholic mass murdered a bunch of gays in San Francisco, in the name of Christ and the Church, a church right next to the site of the massacre might indeed be in bad taste.

    If you read Andrew Sullivan’s response to Douthat on gay marriage, Sullivan makes the claim that a failure to provide marriage for homosexuals constituted a mass murder of gays at the hands of the Church and other Christians. So actually, you give a good example of how easily this could be twisted against Christians in the modern world and therefore the need to more stringently protect the right of religion.

    I mean really, some brilliant argument from one of us is going to single-handedly stop the secular world from prosecuting us and treating us AT LEAST as a good as Muslims? I don’t think so. Christianity will always be held to a different standard.

    Speaking of putting words in one’s mouth. Christians can start small and hopefully over time attitudes will change. But to change minds we need to be consistent. You’re not consistent. Pretending like this is just “one area” entirely misses the point.

  • I think by your logic everywhere that suffered damage under Katrina ought to be declared a historic site.

    In my home town, there are any number of landmarked properties which preserve sites of significance in local history or the residences of figures of import, or examples of architectural styles. I am not aware of any museums devoted to Genesee River flooding. Civil War battlefields are taken off the market and maintained as public parks; the paths of F5 tornadoes are not. Environmental history is treated differently than social history as a matter of course. Not my ‘logic’.

    The World Trade Center was the target, not the Burlington Coat Factory.

    Actually, Tower 1 and Tower 2 were the targets, but the sequence of events destroyed all seven buildings and several other structures. By your logic, we ought to draw a chalk mark around where they found Christine Olender’s teeth and sell the rest to private developers to put in strip joints.

    So actually, you give a good example of how easily this could be twisted against Christians in the modern world and therefore the need to more stringently protect the right of religion.

    The fact that Sullivan is off his head discredits only Sullivan.

    You’re not consistent.

    I am consistent.

  • I’m tiring of this, so I’ll just add a few points:

    Katrina is just a tad more important than the Genesee River Flooding.

    So we have the actual targets (Towers 1 & 2) and the area intimately associated with it (WTC). No more protection is needed.

    Sullivan is widely read. Sullivan’s folly is a folly shared by many. Pretending he’s the only one so deluded is sadly not accurate.

  • “I’m not one of the most vocal backers of the proposal.”

    I didn’t say you were. You’re pretty ambivalent about it, and I can respect that. But the purported moderation of the Cordobans has been a major selling point, not least of which by the Cordobans themselves. It is a major factor in the debate.

  • Michael D,

    Re. Sullivan’s lunacy:

    There’s nothing we can do to prevent this sort of utter perversion of logic. This will occur whether we call for all Muslims to be forever banned from America or we pay 10 million Muslims to relocate in the US, put them all on welfare, and build 50 mosques near ground zero.

    People can abuse logic anyway they please, to make any point they please. This can’t dictate our responses.

    However, in the ACTUAL case of a mass murder – which I think most rational people can distinguish from some hypothetical abstract scenario – I do think the sensitivities of the victims can and should be taken into account.

    I’m not going to abandon reason because Andrew Sullivan or the gay mafia does.

    “Christians can start small and hopefully over time attitudes will change. But to change minds we need to be consistent.”

    I don’t know whose mind you want to change. But you should know that if its the secular left, the professional punditocracy, the opinion makers and perception shapers, you’re going to have to do a lot more than agree to this mosque to get them to think highly of you. You’ll have to give up some pretty basic Catholic teachings, performing what Arafat called a “humiliating striptease” before your enemies.

    “You’re not consistent. Pretending like this is just “one area” entirely misses the point.”

    I think I am consistent. There are clear precedents for limiting each of our first amendment liberties; it is a falsification of history, the intent of the founders, and reason to invoke the first amendment as a debate stopper. That is precisely where the debate begins.

    But in any case, I’ve already said I recognize the existential fact of their right to build. I’m not proposing to challenge it under these circumstances. But I don’t mind saying that ideally, it could be challenged and there are grounds for doing so.

    Finally, I’m not “pretending.” I believe reasonable people can distinguish between circumstances, and that is most unreasonable to insist that every scenario is the same. Frankly I just think that’s intellectually retarded, childish even, I think it’s the real tactic of demagogues and rabble-rousers, to create fallacies in order to whip up hatred.

    And I believe unreasonable people aren’t going to be swayed by arguments in our favor. That’s the problem with trying to appease unreasonable people – you have to keep getting more and more unreasonable.

  • Dale,

    I don’t think the quotes in the links you provide show that Rauf isn’t a “moderate Muslim.” They show that he is a loopy progressive, hardly the same thing.

    Here, for example, is an article by the Imam arguing against an Islamic ban on alcohol. To me, it reads not as the work of an extremist, but as the equivalent of something you might see by a Unitarian minister or Reform rabbi. And if a Unitarian minister said that America had killed more Muslims than al-Qaeda killed Americans, that would not be surprising.

  • BA: In the first link, it’s the “*innocent* non-Muslims” that’s the dog whistle. The circle of innocence can be remarkably circumscribed in Islamic law, alas. Why the distinction between Muslims in toto and *innocent* non-Muslims?

    With respect to the second link, giving even a circumscribed endorsement to the Iranian theocracy is quite troubling.

    As to the alcohol argument, it’s not new. Al-Ghazali argued for essentially the same thing back in the 11th Century. [Not so BTW, the Cambridge History of the Islamic World is an excellent primer on the subject, and examines Al-Ghazali in some detail.] Certainly, the imam’s proposal to turn the fine into a community service is meritorious, but it still presumes the primacy of sharia. Which is problematic, especially in a multi-religious polity like Malaysia.

    I do agree that the purely political stuff–blowback arguments and the like–are indistinguishable from something you could find in “The Nation” or “The American Prospect.” They don’t shed light on the question of “moderation.”

  • I do agree that the purely political stuff–blowback arguments and the like–are indistinguishable from something you could find in “The Nation” or “The American Prospect.” They don’t shed light on the question of “moderation.”

    They do. These sorts of comments are a.) gratuitous but b.) banal nevertheless. They are not informed by the minimal knowledge of modern and contemporary history that even a schmuck like yours truly might possess. (My verbose tangles with Maclin Horton’s blogging partner show what happens when you try to unpack these sorts of assertions).

    Thomas Sowell has done a persuasive diagnosis of the sort of political pathology represented by a fellow like Victor Navasky. How it is salient here is that this is a good deal of the kultursmog into which immigrant populations are received. It may be of no account in most cases, it is here. It could be for purely idiosyncratic reasons, but I tend to think not.

    Dr. Sowell has also offered his take on the Arab World and adjacent areas – as places struggling (not very successfully) to process the encounter between themselves on the one hand and the West and the Industrial Orient on the other. Per Sowell, it is atypical for societies facing these sorts of challenges to respond constructively; recrimination is more common. This Imam Rauf is part of a political culture which has as a feature a refusal to take collective responsibility for its failures. It is one end of a spectrum which has Osama bin Laden at the other end.

    Rauf may get positive feedback from the purveyors of kultursmog, but we can wager he’s a different sort of character. He is an example of failed immigrant incorporation. He may not make statements more obnoxious than Susan Sontag did. In both cases, their loyalties are somewhere else.

  • Art, I hadn’t thought of it in the “blame everybody else first” sense of imbibed victimology. But I should have. Interesting point.

  • Wow, reading all these comments, as they are continuously coming into my email ( my bad) , the first thought that comes to mind is , “ Can’t we all just get along?” Trying to light the mood here….but really? Look at us? We are arguing amongst ourselves, our points of views, dividing instead of uniting. Isn’t this what “ the evil one” ( from whatever angle he is coming in at) wants us to do? So let’s not give in to the temptation to divide each other here and conquer each owns opinion and/or beliefs, but rather ask for and seek the truth.
    My truth in this is safety. I really believe this is a safety issue. Have any of you seen the Discovery channel series “The Colony?” It’s a show on several people being put together in a post apocalyptic scenario, with nothing but limited sources on hand to survive. You see them all worrying about water, food , shelter, medical supplies, etc., which yes are essential to life, but the least of their thoughts are on security. Until that is , the very survival necessities they work so hard to acquire are threatened and taken from them. They realize, after medical supplies, food and water has been taken by thieves and looters, they need to build a secure structure to protect what they are working so hard to achieve just to simply survive. The second season just started a few weeks ago and in both seasons they make this discovery, later than they should have but thankfully not too late to start over, with security measures put into place first and foremost. It is a real eye opener to me for many reasons. It leads me to question my own ability to safely protect my family, my children who are innocent and defenseless, if danger were imminent. If in that kind of situation would I know how or would I have the means to protect my family? That of course leads to more questions and so on. But the bottom line here is that is what is going on with this whole mosque debate. Half the people are simply thinking of protecting their country, family, and children. Myself included.

    I saw this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. he spoke back in 1960 and it says a lot .. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    Here also are some brief definitions of the terms referred to when addressing this issue.

    Security: Safety from attack, harm or damage
    National Security : The protection of a nation from attack or other danger
    Threat – declaration of intent to cause harm: the expression of an intention to cause harm or pain

    I am including something I read that sums up the defining reason why most Americans feel threatened of when taking up this mosque issue.

    http://www.gatheringofeaglesnc.org/hidingthetruthofislamicviolence.pdf

    In short, we all want peace, we all want freedom, and we all claim to have it here in America. But do we really?

  • They Are No Longer Good
    When good men do nothing, they are no longer good. Many have the mistaken notion that good is merely the absence of doing that which is wrong. Not so! One is good not merely because he does no evil, but because he is actively working for what is good. “Let him eschew evil, and do good” (1 Pet. 3:11). James explained, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

    The eldest of Israel, Reuben, knew his brothers’ murderous plot against their younger brother Joseph was wrong. He started an attempt to deliver Joseph, but as he hesitated and vacillated, the other brothers sold Joseph into slavery. When Reuben heard what they had done, he realized his failure to act had helped to bring about this evil result.

    Instead of correcting his error, Reuben sought to cover his guilt by agreeing with his brothers to lie to their father about Joseph’s disappearance (Gen. 37:18-35). Reuben had “good intentions” and he was not even present when Joseph was sold into slavery, but he knew his inaction and absence made him just as guilty as the rest of his wicked brothers. This guilt continued to haunt him through the years (Gen. 42:21-22).

    The prophet Obadiah severely condemned the Edomites for doing nothing when evil was befalling their brethren, the Jews. When Jerusalem was invaded by her enemies, the Edomites “stood on the other side” doing nothing but watching the slaughter as spectators. God said by their failure to act and to help their brethren “even thou wast as one of them” (Obad. 11).

    Today, there are preachers and Christians who fail and refuse to meet the real foe, refute error and fight the enemy. Instead, they have turned to viciously savaging their own brethren. They are filled with bitterness and hatred and they maliciously attack, slander and misrepresent other Christians and gospel preachers.

    Paul warned about such men and behavior among those professing to be Christians, “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Gal. 5:15). Those who engage in such behavior are spiritual cannibals.

    While the conduct of these so-called Christians is shameful, what about those supposedly “good” men who do nothing? Those stand on the other side and do nothing but watch as their brothers are being slandered, slaughtered and devoured, they cease being innocent bystanders and idle spectators. Their failure to act not only allows evil to triumph, but makes them just as guilty as the spiritual cannibals they refuse to reprove and rebuke. In God’s words, “even thou wast as one of them” (Obad. 11).

    Conclusion
    “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Those who fail or refuse to do good in the face of evil are sowing some dangerous seeds. They are doing nothing good as Jesus commanded them to do; they are helping evil to win and have ceased being good and have become partakers of the evil they did nothing to stop.

    Do not allow evil to triumph. Do not sit by and do nothing. Stand up and be counted, speak up against evil and speak out against evil men and their sinful deeds. (http://www.padfield.com/1997/goodmen.html)

    The question I have to myself here after reading the above is, how do we discern the evil in this mosque situation to triumph against it? I don’t really care about being politically correct, I care about doing God’s will. So that is the answer and the truth I and I believe all of us seek here.
    Ok, seriously I’m done…for the day, hahaha.

  • wait i forgot this part…haha

    They Help Evil To Triumph
    When good men do nothing, evil triumphs. Evil, sin and sinful men must be opposed. God commands those who are good, not just to avoid evil but actively oppose it.

    Christians are to not only to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but (also) reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). Those who do nothing about sin and evil, help the sin and evil to prevail. One who is silent when there are those around him in sin becomes a partaker with them (Eph. 5:7).

    In the days of Elijah, the silence of many had allowed the evil of Ahab and Jezebel to prevail throughout the land of Israel. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). The silence of the people spoke volumes of their indecisiveness and inaction. Their failure to stand up, speak up and speak out permitted wicked and evil men to run rampant.

    Jesus told of a traveler who was robbed, beaten and left him half dead. The men who did this were wicked and did a very wicked thing. But the Levite and priest allowed this evil to continue unanswered by doing nothing as they each “passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:31-32). Fortunately for the traveler there was one man, a Samaritan, who was willing to stand up for what was right (Luke 10:33-36).

    Jesus warned “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matt. 12:30). In the fight against evil there is no middle ground, no gray area, no neutrality. Those who are not actively and vigorously fighting against evil are helping evil to triumph.

  • I’ve been frustrated by the tone and stridency of both sides of this debate, and I appreciate Darwin Catholic’s effort to inject some perspective.

    That said, I disagree with the conclusion. Within the blast radius and on a site where airplane parts fell is too close.

    FWIW, my thoughts on the subject at NCRegister.com.

  • [/b][/b][/b]P.S. Wow, the runover bold here is really hard to kill. I tried to throw up a major roadblock, and it did nothing.

  • Not sure what was going on there with the bold formatting, but I think it’s fixed now.

  • The problem with many people is the idea that Christianity is the symbol of inmobilisation. On the contary Christianity is base in the principles of love and justice amongst us [all].But in your proposal where is the justice and love for the victims of 9/11 ?.. Remember the fruit of Justice is Peace. In this case justice and love should not only be for the proponents of the Center, but for the majority of americans who believe the idea to build the Center so close to the terrorist attack is extremely hurtful ,out of touch and provocative . Whenever issues of sensitivity arises we should follow the advice of John Paul II. He told the carmelites nuns please, build elsewere. If they persist in that bad idea the Center will be the idol of the eternal discord.

  • Some these comments are just plain crazy…even insulting to include Katrina disaster and MLK. There aren’t any sects in Islam nor is there any division in the interpretation of the Koran. Islam is one faith and belief. Islam is incompatible with christainity and its principles. I have never heard any Muslim apologized or disagree with 9/11 other than to explain how the islamic principles and beliefs could justify and permit 9/11 atrocities. Nor have I have heard any Muslim condemn these attackers by name for their jhidist antics. We who are christain are considered infidels and USA country are infidels. The christain liberty we enjoin to all, whether they share our beliefs are not, is not held in regard nor are reciprocated. I believe our charity and dignity for neighbor will be the blade and sword of the Islamic enemies and our laws mocked to serve their end and jhidist purposes. Only in America you can trample upon the lives of its citizens and guests in this country and hide behind liberty and laws your islamic faith calls for you to despise and destroy. The protestors duly note this mockery and are well in their rights as citizens to protest.

  • Islam has been divided almost since the very start– IIRC, between the followers of the head disciple and the followers of the husband of one of his daughters.

    It’s as if Peter and Mary-at-the-tomb had founded two versions of Christianity….

  • Winky,

    There aren’t any sects in Islam nor is there any division in the interpretation of the Koran. Islam is one faith and belief. Islam is incompatible with christainity and its principles. I have never heard any Muslim apologized or disagree with 9/11 other than to explain how the islamic principles and beliefs could justify and permit 9/11 atrocities.

    While it is true that Islam is “incompatible” with Christianity in the sense that because we know Christianity to be true we understand Islam to be false — everything else you say here is total rubbish.

    There are most definitely sectarian splits within Islam. There is much division as to interpretation of the Koran. And all one has to do in order to hear a Muslim denounce 9/11 as incompatible with Islamic principles is listen to one do so. Plenty have.

  • Yes, and as Robert Spencer points out, those who have, Darwin, are persecuted in the Muslim world.

  • Obviously, you all uninformed and feel you intellectual opinions can rewrite history…but history, current events and news condemns you. Islamic beliefs permits these acts and no Muslim as condemn these acts for it would condemn Islam. As for Christ, he foundEd only one church and one rock, Peter. on which he said he would build that church…the faith which meet both criteria is the roman catholic church, the Vatican. It the only church that is built over the tomb of Peter. As for you all, your christain faith or lacked thereof…is neither here nor there for in the islamic eyes you all are infidels and deserve death. I still hold the american people have a right to protest the mockery.

  • Joe,

    I don’t doubt it — which is why I’d rather see things made fairly comfortable for Muslims who denounce terrorism if they live in the US.

    Winky,

    I’m not clear what you’re trying to get at. Of course I believe that Christ founded only one true Church and that is the Catholic Church. I don’t doubt that I am an infidel to Muslims (just as I’m a gentile to Jews and Mormons.) But frankly, it strikes me as really weird that you, as a Catholic, would believe that Islam has some sort of perfect and totally unified magisterium, when even Christianity has, through sin and human frailty, been wracked with division and heresy since its origins.

    Islam is a false religion. God did not reveal truth to Mohammad. Why in the world would we expect to see Islam be totally unified in belief? Why would we expect there to be only one interpretation of the Koran?

    And, indeed, there is not. There are plenty of Muslims who are not fans of violent Jihad or of 9/11. That doesn’t make Islam true, it just makes it human. It is divided.

    Now yes, as you state, you have the right to protest the mosque near ground zero. However, they also have the right to build it. It may not be polite or wise of them to do so, but they have the right. Personally, I think keeping those rights absolute is a good thing.

  • And by the way, Winky:
    ??? ????? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ?? ??????? ?? ????.

    🙂

  • Darwincatholic(sigh!)…speak English….the problem with you and others is solving a problem from principles that are not embraced by the muslim. If the principle of natural law did not exist you would not be here…for there is nothing in the Islamic texts to prevent or prohibit 9/11 from happening again. Were you on planet 9 for the unveiling of the Ambassador of Death?

  • You can’t solve stuff until you face the facts; you seem to only have great self-regard, and a lack of facts.

  • The two main divisions of the Islamic world are between the Shia and the Sunni. The division goes back to a power struggle following the death of Mohammed. The Shia are the followers of Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed, who was the fourth caliph, commander of the faithul, and who was assassinated in 661. The Shia and Sunnis differ on many points, although they each view the Koran as the ultimate authority, although how passages are interpreted differs widely between the two sects.

    Many Moslems have condemned the attacks on 9-11. The troubling fact though is that many Moslems have also applauded the attacks. It is wrong to hold all Moslems accountable for 9-11. It is dangerous to ignore that aspects of Islamic teaching of both sects make living in peace with Christians and Jews in conditions of legal equality difficult. Those Moslems who call for war against the West until Islam has the upper hand, are much closer in spirit to the way Islam has been viewed by most Moslems throughout history than Moslems in the West who proclaim that Islam is inherently a peaceful religion.

    Bernard Lewis, the foremost English speaking authority on Islam, said it best shortly after 9-11 as to the peril and the opportunity for the West:

    “For Osama bin Laden, 2001 marks the resumption of the war for the religious dominance of the world that began in the seventh century. For him and his followers, this is a moment of opportunity. Today, America exemplifies the civilization and embodies the leadership of the House of War, and, like Rome and Byzantium, it has become degenerate and demoralized, ready to be overthrown. Khomeini’s designation of the United States as “the Great Satan” was telling. In the Koran, Satan is described as “the insidious tempter who whispers in the hearts of men.” This is the essential point about Satan: he is neither a conqueror nor an exploiter—he is, first and last, a tempter. And for the members of Al Qaeda it is the seduction of America that represents the greatest threat to the kind of Islam they wish to impose on their fellow-Muslims.

    But there are others for whom America offers a different kind of temptation—the promise of human rights, of free institutions, and of a responsible and elected government. There are a growing number of individuals and even some movements that have undertaken the complex task of introducing such institutions in their own countries. It is not easy. Similar attempts, as noted, led to many of today’s corrupt regimes. Of the fifty-seven member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, only one, the Turkish Republic, has operated democratic institutions over a long period of time and, despite difficult and ongoing problems, has made progress in establishing a liberal economy and a free society and political order.

    In two countries, Iraq and Iran, where the regimes are strongly anti-American, there are democratic oppositions capable of taking over and forming governments. We could do much to help them, and have done little. In most other countries in the region, there are people who share our values, sympathize with us, and would like to share our way of life. They understand freedom, and want to enjoy it at home. It is more difficult for us to help those people, but at least we should not hinder them. If they succeed, we shall have friends and allies in the true, not just the diplomatic, sense of these words.

    Meanwhile, there is a more urgent problem. If bin Laden can persuade the world of Islam to accept his views and his leadership, then a long and bitter struggle lies ahead, and not only for America. Sooner or later, Al Qaeda and related groups will clash with the other neighbors of Islam—Russia, China, India—who may prove less squeamish than the Americans in using their power against Muslims and their sanctities. If bin Laden is correct in his calculations and succeeds in his war, then a dark future awaits the world, especially the part of it that embraces Islam.”

    http://humanities.psydeshow.org/political/lewis.htm

  • …in all fairness to Jews and Mormons neither of these groups killed innocent Americans in the name of their religion and they are known to reciprocate charity to neighbors are Gentiles who do not share their beliefs.

  • I’m not clear that Islamic texts have much to do with it. The main reason that something like 9/11 has not happened again in the last ten years is that our military and the CIA under Bush (and one can only hope this will be kept up under Obama despite his rhetoric to the contrary) have made it very clear how unhealthy it is to attack the US. And while many people may be happy to see the US take a fall, few of them area eager to risk being blown up by predator drones or shot by Marines in order to accomplish the task. Most would rather just go about their business.

    Keeping mosques out of New York won’t make us safe, but having a strong and active military and intelligence service goes a long way towards doing so.

  • Donald…thank you for your insights. But don’t put words in my mouth and stick to the facts: I don’t hold every muslin accountable for 9/11. I do believe the American people have a right to protest a mosque built near the 9/11 tragedy. I believe that America and its christains principles are being mocked. I also believe that the underlying principles for these attacks is Islam, the Koran…for its perpertrators each and everytime: in tapes, tv, videos, and battle cry: God is Great! has reaffirm their basis as belief in islam and the Koran. Your position is erroneous to limit to politics and erroneous apply tribal factions halfway around the world as applicable to 9/11…the enemy has consistently presented itself as Muslim and the principles it invoke is Islamic when it took lives on the American soil and attempt to blow up planes. I as a citizen will not ignore the above points and it is my prayer that those responsible for the safety and sovereignity of this country keep these facts ever before their eyes.

  • Actually Winkyb my observations were general in nature and not addressed to you. When I wish to direct my comments to someone in the comboxes here I quote the passage I am responding to or mention the blog name of the person I am responding to.

  • Does everyone agree here that Hamas is a terrorist organization? If so, would you agree that there is a serious problem when there is a person, who is a Muslim, that does not in speeches and/or refuses to denounce Hamas and say that Hamas is a terrorist organization?

    This Imam, that is building the mosque, has refused to call Hamas a terrorist organization and has made several controversial statements against America but I haven’t heard any criticisms or denunciations of terrorism or terrorist organizations from him. This is why I would not classify him nor any other Muslims who are for the mosque being built as moderates. The Muslims who want this mosque haven’t done their due diligence of reaching out to Americans who are non-Muslims beforehand but are willing to inflame the public and cause greater tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims now by violating 9/11 victims families sensitivities and being utterly disrespectful to their feelings and concerns.

    Would everyone agree that where the plane crashed and landed on 9/11 would be considered to be Ground Zero?

    If so, then if part of the plane landed 2 blocks away in the Burlington building wouldn’t that be onsidered to be part of Ground Zero and this sacred ground?

  • Category error– after all, there may be honestly peaceful Muslims who just don’t know much about the guy– but that’s a large part of why I’m much against this. It occurred to me earlier today– it’s like fighting words.

On Media and Mosques at Ground Zero

Saturday, August 14, AD 2010

One of the interesting (by which I mean dull, predictable and repetitive) aspects of the 24 hour news cycle is that all forms of media have incentives to magnify and actively seek out controversy. Not only does this increase ratings/page views/newspaper sales, it provides media outlets with something – anything in a slow news month – to talk about. I can’t help but feel that the recent outburst of commentary about the construction of a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks is the type of story designed to increase media consumption and accomplish little else. The First Amendment is not in dispute here; freedom of religion is well established and protected by settled case law. Furthermore, the proposed mosque is to be constructed on private property, and there is no legal reason to challenge its construction. And so most of the discussion revolves (and frequently devolves) around taste and symbolism.

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44 Responses to On Media and Mosques at Ground Zero

  • I take your point about media generated controversies, but I’m not sure I’d place the mosque controversies at least entirely in that category. I find the following aspects of this controversy to be very remarkable and worthy of reflection:

    1. The legal right of Muslims to build houses of worship has been called into question.

    2. Islamic terrorists are being conflated with all Muslims.

    3. It’s being proposed that Islam really isn’t a religion.

    I really see our country at a crossroads right now. The increased presence of Muslims challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation) and the extent to which we value are willing to extend religious liberty. This controversy is forcing us to ask ourselves who we are, and that question is as serious as anything.

  • I suppose, in turn, I take your point Kyle. There are important issues connected to the controversy (although points 1 and 3 strike me as rather fringish, self-marginalizing ideas). I think it is a matter for serious concern that so many voices on the right have picked this particular battle. At the same time, I do not see why it is a national, rather than a local, issue. There is no legal basis for challenging the mosque’s construction, and there is virtually no chance of that changing in the near future (barring a cataclysmic series of events). I am glad that liberals have stated these truths and criticized the over-heated rhetoric from the right, but I still see this more as a controversy-of-the-day, rather than a matter of significant national import.

  • John Henry,

    There are a lot of things I can say about your perspective, and few of them would be very flattering. I’ll limit myself to this: as a Catholic, you ought to have a better understanding and appreciation of the symbolic. To dismiss the importance of symbolism in the manner you have seems rather crudely materialistic to me. Symbols are generally representations of real things.

    “there is little reason for anyone else aside from the families of the victims of 9/11 or residents of that area of New York to comment”

    And yet here we are, in a free society, in which people don’t need reasons deemed acceptable by others to engage in public discourse. Don’t let it burn you up too much 🙂

    Kyle,

    “1. The legal right of Muslims to build houses of worship has been called into question.”

    It has not. And someone ought to question the wisdom of the builders.

    Moreover, people have a right to make legal challenges if they like. It doesn’t mean they will succeed, and they may even be charged with the court cost if their case turns out to be frivolous.

    Finally, some suspect that the mosque is funded by a man with ties to terrorism.

    “2. Islamic terrorists are being conflated with all Muslims.”

    No, I think it is more accurate to say that Islamic terrorists are being portrayed as consistent Muslims, while the “moderate” Muslim is being portrayed as inconsistent, given the clear teachings of the Koran on the relations between Muslims and infidels. You won’t find anything like that in the New Testament.

    “3. It’s being proposed that Islam really isn’t a religion.”

    Yes, I don’t see the point in that. It isn’t a religion like others, to be sure, but in the West we tend to think of religion as something different (though not entirely unrelated) from politics, and from science, a legacy we can thank the Church for. These distinctions are what enabled Western society to advance far beyond others, I believe.

    Then again, I believe communism is a religion, just a secular one. Environmentalism is also fast becoming a religion, neo-pagan for some, secular for others.

    “challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation)”

    We are a Christian nation, if for no other reason than that the majority of Americans are Christians. If you mean in the substance of our policies, well they rest upon a Christian legacy anyway.

    In Lebanon, Islam “challenged the national narrative” of a Christian nation by repeatedly attempting to slaughter all of the Christians. Only God and the impenetrability of the mountains of Northern Lebanon saved them from that fate.

    Now I’m not saying that the Muslims who live here now either desire such a thing for the United States, or that they could do it if they did. I do wonder however how the picture will change if/when they become 20% of the population or more. This isn’t an observation limited to Islam either: ANY group with ANY ideas will seek to impose them more and more as their numbers grow. That’s just rational human political behavior, it is universal.

    Perhaps looking at Europe’s experience we would be wise to take certain precautions sooner, rather than later.

  • To dismiss the importance of symbolism in the manner you have seems rather crudely materialistic to me. Symbols are generally representations of real things.

    Symbols can be important, but they can also be ambiguous or frivolous. I wasn’t categorically rejecting arguments about symbolism; just saying that this particular one wasn’t particularly fruitful given that there are very few repercussions for public policy.

    And yet here we are, in a free society, in which people don’t need reasons deemed acceptable by others to engage in public discourse. Don’t let it burn you up too much

    This is silly, Joe. Saying that I don’t think a particular controversy is very valuable is hardly the same as saying I am upset that people are free to have it. I’m consistently on the side of freedom here – whether it be of religion or speech.

  • A commenter on a friend’s facebook page remarks that Muslims have the right to practice their religion in their own countries, but not in ours. I’d say that qualifies as denying the religious freedom of Muslims in the U.S. Teresamerica asserts that the sensitivity of the 9/11 families is grounds to refuse the building of the “ground zero” mosque. She’s not just questioning the wisdom of the building planners, but their legal right to build in that location. I can also point to the opposition the president has received in response to his statement that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as we all have. As for lawsuits: Exhibit A.

  • Cordova House: Why don’t we start a $100,000,000 fund to build a cathedral dedicated to St. Perfecto, a Spanish martyr murdered for the faith in Cordova during the 700 years the mass murderers held Spain?

    You geniuses will see how this plays out in November.

    Meanwhile, you will see a representative sample of 80% of US at 2PM on 11 September.

    You insensitive America-hating geniuses . . .

    Practicing their religion . . . flying large airplanes into tall buildings.

  • Regarding jihad, Adams states in his essay series,

    “…he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.”

    Confirming Adams’ assessment, the late Muslim scholar, Professor Majid Khadduri, wrote the following in his authoritative 1955 treatise on jihad, War and Peace in the Law of Islam :

    “Thus the jihad may be regarded as Islam’s instrument for carrying out its ultimate objective by turning all people into believers, if not in the prophethood of Muhammad (as in the case of the dhimmis), at least in the belief of God. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have declared ‘some of my people will continue to fight victoriously for the sake of the truth until the last one of them will combat the anti-Christ’. Until that moment is reached the jihad, in one form or another will remain as a permanent obligation upon the entire Muslim community. It follows that the existence of a dar al-harb is ultimately outlawed under the Islamic jural order; that the dar al-Islam permanently under jihad obligation until the dar al-harb is reduced to non-existence; and that any community accepting certain disabilities- must submit to Islamic rule and reside in the dar al-Islam or be bound as clients to the Muslim community. The universality of Islam, in its all embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.”3

  • Kyle,

    Well, frankly, the cited examples all strike me as fairly marginal views. Your Facebook friend isn’t in favor of the First Amendment (and likely hasn’t really thought much about the history of Catholics in the United States); Teresaamerica is proposing manipulation of a city zoning requirement protecting landmarks to prevent the construction of the mosque, which is a rather startling example of using a facially neutral requirement for discriminatory purposes. As to lawsuits, they are unlikely to make it past summary judgment, if they even make it that far. As I said, there are important questions connected with this controversy, but for the most part these conversations involve issues more significant than – and distinct from – whether or not New York has another mosque.

    I should add, though, that I appreciate you taking the time to provide examples. It may be that I’m wrong about the significance of this particular controversy, or have chosen a poor example to illustrate the point I was trying to make.

  • T. Shaw – the purpose of this thread is not to debate the place of jihad within Islam; please try to provide comments that relate more directly to the topic of the post.

  • Right.

    “Taste”: I would use “sensitivity” or “sensibilities.” I know where your “head” is on this.

    Of course, the media actively magnified the immaterial, tragic events of 11 September 2001 (the boring History Channel mini-series they air each September need to cease and desist, too), so widows and other survivors have their evil bowels in an uproar over the religion of peace building a pacifist training camp two blocks away from where their little eichmann’s got it for liberating Kuwait from Saudi Arabian bases and supporting Israel.

  • “Muslims have the right to practice their religion in their own countries, but not in ours. I’d say that qualifies as denying the religious freedom of Muslims in the U.S.”

    This is one of the most laughable statements posted here in quite some time.

    All over the Muslim world, Muslims are denied the right to practice as they see fit. No whirling Dervishes if you are in Saudi Arabia. Want to wear a burqa in Turkey? Have fun in jail. Surely the hundreds of thousands of Muslims arrested each year on charges of “crimes against Islam” reveal the claim as absurd?

    And, with regards to Muslims not being able to practice in the US, what could your Facebook friend POSSIBLY mean by THAT allegation? Is she suggesting that opposing the building of a mosque at Ground Zero represents an absolute bar to the practicing of Islam in New York City or the United States as a whole? If so, she has lost her furry little mind.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with opposing the building of Cordoba House at Ground Zero, we shouldn’t jump on the victimized bandwagon just yet. Lets face it, Cordoba House isn’t the first mosque to be built to praise Allah for a great victory… The Blue Mosque in Constantinople is.

  • John,

    “I wasn’t categorically rejecting arguments about symbolism”

    That wasn’t very clear originally. I thank you for the clarification.

    Kyle,

    Your link is just a link to people who want to stop the construction of one mosque. That is a far cry from arguing that “Muslims don’t have a right to practice their religion.”

    You know, we deny a lot of different religious groups the right to certain practices. We prosecute Christian “scientists” who refuse to give their children medicine when they are sick, for instance. So this idea of absolute religious freedom is as detached from history and reality as those who proclaim an absolute right to free speech. I don’t claim that there are grounds at the moment to deny certain aspects of Islam, but they could well arise at some point.

    My compromise would be this: today, right now, before 10% of our population is Muslim, we pass state or even federal constitutional amendments forever barring the implementation of Sharia law at any level. We make resolutions to avoid what has happened in Europe and some of the commonwealth countries, in which “culture” or “religion” has been used in courts of law to defend honor killers and rapists. We subject Islam to the same scrutiny that Christianity is subjected to in the public school system, and we stop these ridiculous charades in which children are forced to act like Muslims for a week as part of “cultural awareness.” It’s absurd.

  • G-Veg, I think your comment reflects a misunderstanding. Kyle’s FB friend was expressing their view of what should be rather than what is. Obviously, there are a lot of problems with his friend’s desired state of affairs and that (fortunately) is not currently the state of things in the U.S.

  • The constant invocation of Cordoba itself reeks of mealy-mouting of Catholics and the Christian faith in general. The legends of Al-Andalus and the alleged tolerance of Muslims for other religions have been amplified beyond caricature by Jews who couldn’t forgive Catholics for the expulsions and fabulists such as Borges and Fuentas who projected their fantasies onto a mideaval past. The strange thing is, Muslims themselves never cared for the comity of Cordoba, one can hardly find references to that aspect in their earlier writings; bin Laden wasn’t rueing for the Cordoba of fantastic memory. The remaking of Cordoba into some kind of wonderland was the work of (a few) Jews, thus it is no surprise that Bloomberg is taken in. I look forward to the day when the very same boosters, complain when some Sheikh or other compares Jews to monkeys at Cordoba House.

  • Pauli’s link makes my point in an indirect way. What was the need for that anti-Catholic bigot Foxman to invoke the Auschwitz nuns to frighten off CAIR, when the salient comparison to the destruction of the WTC is in fact Pearl Harbour? It seems as though he wants us to forget that Catholic Poles in their hundreds of thousands perished in that camp. Is McGurn a Catholic? If so, he needs to stop drinking the ADL Kool-Aid.

  • I agree that symbolism is important. That’s why I think the efforts to stop the building project are so awful.

  • I wouldn’t try to stop them through the courts, but I would impress upon them how much they will rightfully be resented for failing to respect the wishes of the people. To do something simply because one can is hardly a persuasive argument.

    There are a thousand and one good ways to foster better relations between Muslims who wish to disavow the violent teachings of the Koran, and Christians in the United States. This is not one of them.

  • Pingback: Religious Freedom vs. Theocratic Dictatorships « Vox Nova
  • I would impress upon them how much they will rightfully be resented for failing to respect the wishes of the people. To do something simply because one can is hardly a persuasive argument.

    I agree. Muslims don’t “do” persuasive argument. Never have. Why should they? They like their methods better. From passive aggressiveness all the way up to not-so-passive, that’s where they excel.

    In many ways I’m glad they are building this at ground zero to show their absolute smugness and insensitivity. It will further expose their nature.

  • Pauli,

    I think such generalizations are unfair, dangerous, and inaccurate when applied to a group of 1 billion people. A disturbing pattern is found in many long-running feuds/persecutions: 1) a group of individuals is lumped together on the basis of a distinguishing feature (whether it be race/religion/nationality/etc.) and identified as ‘the other’; 2) that group is then accused of having various negative characteristics to an unusual degree (e.g. greed, stupidity, or guilt for certain crimes); 3) these negative characteristics are then used as a pretext for denying rights to this group that other citizens enjoy. I am concerned about the implications of your comments.

  • I should have written “Muslim leaders” rather than merely “Muslims”. That’s my point. Islam doesn’t have one billion leaders. One billion people are not building a mosque. I can “generalize” about these leaders based on their past and present behavior. They don’t show the kind of sensitivity of the Holy Father in the link I posted.

    John Henry was wise to delete his former comment where he compared me to a Klan member and a jihadist.

  • John Henry was wise to delete his former comment where he compared me to a Klan member and a jihadist.

    My point was about language and the structure of your argument; to say language is similar is not to say the people are similar. Substitute Catholics/blacks/Israelis for Muslims in your comment above, and the similarities in language are quite striking. Btw, I frequently re-write my comments multiple times to try and make them clearer within the first few minutes after they post.

  • I frequently re-write my comments multiple times to try and make them clearer within the first few minutes after they post.

    Mmmmm, I see. That also provides a benefit that those subscribed to the comment thread get to see what you really think before your discretion kicks in and you self-censor. Maybe you should just write your comments down on scratch paper first and read them out loud to yourself. That’s what I do.

    Let me clarify my views further WRT the smugness and insensitivity of the Muslim leaders behind the building of the ground zero Mosque. I don’t think I would say the same about black leaders in general, Israeli leaders in general or Catholic leaders in general, and my proof for the third is in the link I provided earlier. This rules me out as a Klansman if there was any further question.

  • Pauli – you seem to be missing the point. I wasn’t saying that you feel similarly about Catholics/blacks/Israelis, etc. I was observing that your comment above about Muslims is very similar to the type of statements that the Klansmen of yore made about Catholics and Blacks, and radical Muslim groups today make about Israelis. You’ve said now that you were only speaking about ‘Muslim leaders,’ but I think, again, your statement still reflects a disturbing prejudice.

  • John Henry, here’s a question. Can you think of other comparable situations involving different religions other than Islam? Keep in mind that this project will be large costing millions of dollars. If I am prejudiced against Islam, then I have overlooked all the other times a different religion has done something comparable.

    Prejudice means to prejudge, to judge someone before you see any of there actions. For example, I see a black person and I think, “That person is probably a lazy bum, because blacks are lazy.” If I think this, then I am prejudiced. But what if I am able to observe a black person for several months and note many instances of laziness? Then I can state “He is lazy” without prejudice, can I not? This would only appear to be prejudice to a third person who didn’t know that I had many occasions to observe the laziness and who then made an assumption that the reason for my judgment was my own prejudice against blacks. This third person would himself be guilty of prejudging me.

    So give me some comparable situations throughout history to the ground zero mosque. Otherwise this word substitution exercise you are proposing smells like a red herring.

  • I really see our country at a crossroads right now. The increased presence of Muslims challenges our national narratives (e.g., we’re a Christian nation) and the extent to which we value are willing to extend religious liberty. This controversy is forcing us to ask ourselves who we are, and that question is as serious as anything.

    There are some disputes about the proportion of the population which is Muslim. (Robert Spencer offers that the most valid estimates appear to place that population at 3,000,000, or 1% of the whole). I do not think a minority that size ‘challenges national narratives’. (The appellate judiciary and the public interest bar have insisted on the adoption of enforced secularization, because that is the preferred policy in the social circles in which they run).

    Both you and John Henry might consider the possibility that past is not prologue, and that a muslim minority might eventually prove tragically incompatible with the general population, and that such an outcome is more likely if elite policy rewards rather than ignores (or penalizes) aggressive postures on the part of novel minorities.

  • The remaking of Cordoba into some kind of wonderland was the work of (a few) Jews

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04359b.htm

    “Owing to the peace which the Christians of Cordova then enjoyed, some knowledge of their condition has been preserved, among other things the name of their bishop, Joannes, also the fact that, at that period, the citizens of Cordova, Arabs, Christians, and Jews, enjoyed so high a degree of literary culture that the city was known as the New Athens. From all quarters came students eager to drink at its founts of knowledge. Among the men afterwards famous who studied at Cordova were the scholarly monk Gerbert, destined to sit on the Chair of Peter as Sylvester II (999-1003)”

    I suppose it’s possible Jews infiltrated the Catholic Encyclopedia’s editorial board.

  • Yeah, those silly martyrs didn’t know when they had it good!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_of_C%C3%B3rdoba

  • restrainedcatholic, the article you linked to in its entirety, shows that Catholic scholars were not among those going gaga over Cordoba. The quote does not accurately convey the thrust of the article. By the sheer dance of things, there is bound to be a period when Christians and Jews enjoyed a measure of peace living among Muslims. This by itself is not sufficient to inspire the paens to Cordoba. Where for example is the equivalent Christian city? We know that there were Christian monarchs in the Iberian peninsula who were tolerant by the standards of that era. Yet no one is concerned to inflict their saga on us.

  • sorry I should have addressed the above to restrainedradical..

  • Donald, you should substitute the phrase “female African slaves” for “martyrs” in your sarcastic remark. How’s it sound then? Answer: very disturbing.

  • Let us assume that those financing Cordoba House are sincere in their desire to present the most tolerant face of Islam possible and that harkening back to an enlightened period of the Cordoban princes is meant to be a signal of the kind of tolerance they seek in America. Let us further accept the claim that the proximity to Ground Zero is meant to give voice to moderate and modern Islam – as an answer to the kind of religious extremism that brought the towers down and the world’s economic Goliath to his knees.

    It was surely possible to be a practicing Christian or Jew in Cordoba at various points. We have fairly modern examples to suggest that a calm, judicious application of the Koran and the Hadith to the interactions between religions leads to some degree of stability and freedom of worship. However, at its very best, this isn’t anything approximating Freedom of Religion. This is because Sharia law absolutely requires Theocracy. It presumes that Islam is right on a host of human interactions that allow for no deviation. However “tolerant” of other religious teachings an Islamic state seeks to be it cannot permit deviation on critical issues such as the nature of God, the duty of man to his family and to the community, and how work is organized. In even the most tolerant of Islamic states (indeed, I would argue that this is true of ALL theocratic states and that we are concentrating on Islamic states because they are the last of this old order), no Christian can be allowed to evangelize because, at its core, tolerant Islam nonetheless requires absolute adherence to basic Koranic doctrine as expressed through the Hadith. This is to say that the Spanish Caliphates may have been “tolerant” but only so long as the other faiths knew and stayed in their place. (This shouldn’t be surprising. There was a reason for the brutality and vindictiveness of the Spanish Inquisition and I doubt it was “payback” for six centuries of Islamic FAIR treatment.)

    Bringing my point back to Cordoba House: even IF those financing the project intend to signal the kind of “tolerance” that was supposedly exhibited under Muslim rule in Cordoba, that kind of “tolerance” is nothing akin to Freedom of Religion. Further, it “feels like” building a mosque so close to the place where the American economic model of a hundred years was destroyed is a sort of “victory dance” or, at least, a shrine to thank Allah for victory. My guess is that our ancestors felt the same way about the conversion of the Basilica at Constantinople into the Blue Mosque.

    If this is not what is intended… if the Cordoba House builders are honest in their desire to forge bonds and further understanding, they have picked a damn awful way to do it. Appearances DO matter.

    One final note: please do not interpret my writing to suggest that I believe that the engines of law ought to be brought to bear to prevent the building of the mosque. Indeed, even if it were called the “Usama Bin Laden Victory Mosque” and have individual shrines to the 911 “martyrs,” I would not want the state to act in an unconstitutional way. However, I take great exception to those who suggest that protesting the building of the mosque is un-American. Nothing is more democratic than to stand up for one’s views and to speak for oneself – not expecting the government to intervene

  • G-Veg: If this is not what is intended… if the Cordoba House builders are honest in their desire to forge bonds and further understanding, they have picked a damn awful way to do it. Appearances DO matter.

    Yeah, this is pretty much how Michael Medved phrased it today on his show. Either it’s a victory dance which means it’s horrible, or it’s an extremely poor and insensitive attempt at reconciliation.

  • Should you be glad that it’s named after a place that became exclusively Catholic?

  • Wow, why didn’t I think of that? Cordoba as a backhand compliment to Ferdinand and Isabelle; tell the hardhats its alright, they must get to work. Expedite the construction.

  • Good Morning restrainedradical,

    I’m not sure I follow you because I didn’t think we were talking about what I would do if I were going to sponsor a religious community in a place that would deeply offend. For this conversation, it is enough to articulate why I am offended and how the decision to build this mosque in a place where it appears to glory in misery is inappropriate.

    I’ll range farther though to say that I understand the impulse of the victor to raise monuments – to celebrate victory in a way that visits new injury on the defeated every time they are forced to accept and contemplate their impotency. It is a basic and base impulse. I mentioned the Blue Mosque as an example but there are many others such as the obelisk at the Vatican (doubly so if Wiki is right in noting that the obelisk was the center-point of the Circus Maximus).

    Monuments are built to channel human vision such as the Smithsonian and to inspire the way the Statue of Liberty does. They are built to control the divine (Stonehenge) or to refocus culture such as St. Petersburg. Sometimes they are merely the extension of man’s feeble attempt to control what happens after death (Pyramids at Giza). Often they are build to “immortalize” conquest such as Trafalgar Square and to put a face on a particular victory such as Admiral Nelson’s monument at Trafalgar. There are a lot of reasons to put mortar to stone and not all of them are base and mean.

    It is a fair question as to why those who seek to build Cordoba House at Ground Zero choose that location. The explanation given – that they seek to put a moderate face on Islam and to answer the extremism of September 11th with the understanding and tolerance of a thoroughly modern and moderate Islam – is difficult for many people to accept. I am one of them.

    I look at the speeches of its lead spokesman, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and wonder how a man who believes that America invited the 911 attacks through its policies over the previous century can simultaneously believe that the building of a mosque on the site of those attacks would be perceived as other than a victory monument by extremists. The questions about funding further alarm me since our culture is accustomed to look with skepticism upon projects whose funding is hidden. I admit to looking with jaded eye on attempts to present the Koran and Hadith as purely religious – i.e. having no pre-requisite political, legal, and economic structure – strictures.

    Cast against this backdrop, calling the project “Cordoba House” and then withdrawing that name when confronted about its implications appears to me to be revealing. It suggests that the name choice was more illuminating about the hidden agenda of those building the center than they wished it to be.

    In many ways, the rise of Islam in the Americas presents a unique challenge to both Muslims and the broader society. Primary in the challenges is recasting the political, social, and economic structures inherent in the Koran and, particularly, in the Hadith as idealized analogies rather than divine order. Stated more simply, the Koran and the Hadith are incredibly specific as to how society as a whole, family life in particular, and the daily lives of individuals are to be organized. While it is true that the burqa and other such trappings of modern Islam are not ordained in the written word, it is fair to note that the vast majority of religious, economic, and political obligations are spelled out.

    In a modern, constitutionalist state such as the United States, there is an assumption that the duties of man to man and man to the broader society are limited by law maintained by virtually universal suffrage. The framework is set by the democratic institutions. The individual actions inside of that framework are set by our personal codes. Religion, in one sense, must accept the overall legal framework in order to be practiced freely. Stated differently, lest I be misunderstood to be saying that religion is subordinate to the State, the modern, diverse culture, the State guarantees a field of contest on which the worldviews can compete without being oppressed by organs of government. So long as those worldviews accept the framework, virtually any can operate freely (Scientology for example) without damaging the State.

    It remains to be seen whether Islam can exist within a constitutional state.

  • G-Veg, similar things can be said of Judaism yet they developed doctrines that allow them to integrate into a pluralistic society. Christianity went through a similar transformation. Even if the Bible doesn’t command certain public policies, it became conventional wisdom that, for example, heresy should be a capital offense. Freedom of conscience didn’t hold as high a place as it does today.

    I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibilities that Islam can develop doctrines that can allow them to deemphasize teachings that prevent them from integrating. There will still be fundamentalists but they may become a tiny fringe minority with no mainstream support.

    We can aid in this process by supporting the moderates within Islam who are willing to abandon the more radical teachings.

  • It remains to be seen whether Islam can exist within a constitutional state.

    Constitutional monarchy has functioned in Morocco for most the the last 50-odd years. Malaysia has always been a parliamentary state, if an illiberal one. There are several West African countries which have had elected governments for the last 20 to 35 years. The Arab world is peculiarly resistant to electoral and deliberative institutions; outside of that, it is doubtful that muslim societies are more prone to tyranny than other societies at similar levels of economic development.

    A better statement of the question is whether a muslim minority can be amicably incorporated in a society where the judiciary, the social services apparat, the educational apparat, and much of the political class considers the vernacular society of the natives something which needs to be contained and leavened, and makes use of (often rude) immigrant populations in its battles with that vernacular society.

  • Bernard Lewis in his book The Jews in Islam writes,

    “The claim to tolerance, now much heard from Muslim apologists and more especially from apologists for Islam, is also new and of alien origin. It is only very recently that some defenders of Islam have begun to assert that their society in the past accorded equal status to non-Muslims. No such claim is made by spokesmen for resurgent Islam, and historically there is no doubt that they are right. Traditional Islamic societies neither accorded such equality nor pretended that they were so doing. Indeed, in the old order, this would have been regarded not as a merit but as a dereliction of duty. How could one accord the same treatment to those who follow the true faith and those who willfully reject it? This would be a theological as well as a logical absurdity.”

  • Art Deco,

    The Arab world is peculiarly resistant to electoral and deliberative institutions.

    Isn’t there a whole history of colonial (mis)administration here that is being calmly passed over–as though we can leap from the time of the caliphate to contemporary world politics without addressing the serious harms imposed upon the middle east and northern africa by various european powers.

    Even the case of Iran (not Arab, but Muslim country) complicates the situation. We did depose their legitimately elected government and instituted a dictator in his place, as we’ve done several other times in various places.

    My point is that an awful lot of this analysis passes over modern history as though it didn’t have any effect on how Islam first encountered representative systems of government.

  • Most of the Arab world was under colonial rule by Europe for a very brief period from shortly after World War I to shortly after World War II. The pathologies that afflict the Arab world are homegrown. It is representative institutions and the Western concept of human rights which are the legacy from Europe.

    In regard to Iran it is more accurate to say that we deposed a dictator, Mossadegh, and restored the Shah. The Shah was a squalid tyrant, but he gleams as positively enlightened compared to the rulers thrown up by the Shia Revolution.

  • Isn’t there a whole history of colonial (mis)administration here that is being calmly passed over–as though we can leap from the time of the caliphate to contemporary world politics without addressing the serious harms imposed upon the middle east and northern africa by various european powers.

    Even the case of Iran (not Arab, but Muslim country) complicates the situation. We did depose their legitimately elected government and instituted a dictator in his place, as we’ve done several other times in various places.

    I keep having this argument with Maclin Horton’s troublesome blogging partner. I offer you the following inventory.

    European colonization in the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia was limited to the Maghreb and to a small knock of Levantine territory (the Valley of Jezreel and a portion of the coastal plain running between Gaza and Haifa) difficult to see in an atlas of ordinary scale. In Morocco (and I believe in Tunisia as well), the French agricultural colonies were small (the total number of households being under 10,000), although a good deal of common land was enclosed and delivered to them. Demographically obtrusive colonization was found in Algeria (state supported and enforced) and in the Levant (as private and voluntary immigration financed by the Jewish National Fund, etc). I have seen some figures I do not quite trust that there was quite a bit of settlement in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica as well.

    Egypt, the Sudan, Aden, the south Arabian sheikhdoms, the Trucial sheikhdoms, Bahrain, Kuwait, the Transjordan, and Iraq were all dependencies of Britain or France for periods ranging from 14 years to 72 years. Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Syria were dependencies of France for periods ranging from 26 years to 75 years. You had a rotating population of civil servants and soldiers and a foreign resident population there for business or missionary work (e.g. the founders of the American University of Beirut). There were, however, no colonists other than the aforementioned population of farmers. Morocco’s agricultural colonies were founded around 1928 and fully liquidated by about 1971.

    You may have noticed that Indonesia has had an elected government for the last 11 years, that elected administration has been modal in South Asia since 1947, and that elected governments are (at this point in time) rather more prevalent in Tropical and Southern Africa than they have been in the Arab world at any time in the last 50 years. The encounter between Europeans and natives was a good deal more durable, intrusive, and coercive in these loci than it ever was with regard to the Arab world.

    You may have noticed the United States had scant involvement in this enterprise of collecting overseas dependencies, and none at all in the Muslim world.

    You may also have noticed that the 9/11 crew were recruited not from Algeria (which did feel the French boot rather severely), but from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Egypt was a dependency of Britain in a juridically odd arrangement from 1881 to 1922; any complaints about this are not exactly topical. Neither the Hijaz nor the Nejd (united now as ‘Saudi Arabia’) was ever a dependency of any European power. Britain and Russia established some concessionary arrangements with Persia for a period of time (1907-25) in the early 20th century, but it was never a dependency of any European power.

    The four Arab countries which have had the most extensive experience with constitutional government (Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait) are all over the map as regards the duration and features of their encounter with Europe.

    As for the ‘legitimately elected government’ of Iran, parliamentary executives are generally dependent on the pleasure of the head of state, most especially when they have arbitrarily prorogued the country’s legislature (as Iran’s had been in 1953). Mohammed Mossadegh was no more entitled to rule by decree and disestablish the Persian monarchy (his ambitions) than was the Shah to run a royal dictatorship, but you win some and you lose some. Now, run down the list of states in the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia which were sovereign for some time during the period running from 1953 to 1978 and identify those which had some measure of competitive electoral politics and public deliberation more often than not. That is a low bar that about 2/3 of the Latin American states could have met. The list will read as follows: Morocco, Kuwait, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, Pakistan, Libya (perhaps), and Jordan (perhaps). That would be 6 or 8 of the 25 states of the region. It is just not fertile ground for parliamentary government, and a multi-ethnic state with a literacy rate of 8% is not promising material for a durable constitutional order in any case.

    I do not care what bilge Noam Chomsky or John Prados are pushing. The machinations of the CIA are not the reason competitive electoral politics has often been a transient state of affairs here there and the next place in this world (as it was prior to the CIA’s formation in 1947). The only good example of something resembling a democratic political order iced by the CIA would be Jacobo Arbenz’ government in Guatemala in 1954. Personally, I think Arbenz bears more resemblance to Juan Domingo Peron and Salvador Allende than he does to Latin America’s authentic constitutionalists, but it is difficult to find trustworthy histories of his life and times.

  • Muslims don’t “do” persuasive argument. Never have.

    Clarification. I would like to take my second phrase back: “Never have,” which I wrote in ignorance. (Never say never, right?) It turns out that for a time, Muslim thinkers were at one time more reasonable and more at home with the use of reason. I learned that from this excellent piece interviewing Robert Reilly on his new book, the title of which is “Closing of the Muslim Mind”. It’s particularly germane to this discussion and sheds quite a bit of light on the B16/Regensberg thing as well.

    I believe my larger point stands, i.e., currently Muslims do not so much engage in apologetics as they do in a certain type of assertiveness about their beliefs, which is possibly a more useful word than aggressiveness for describing the particular tendency I wish to describe for purposes of this discussion.

63 Responses to The Ground Zero Mosque Controversy

  • My understanding is that the mosque wouldn’t be built on Ground Zero but several blocks away. Why they shouldn’t be allowed to do so is not quite clear to me.

  • Legally, they have every right to do so (build a mosque).

    As to the distance from Ground Zero, my impression was that it was only a block away if that.

    Not really sure to the distance.

  • Why we fight: We need to see that video every day until the war is won.

    BA: Clearly, you do not know the gang behind this travesty is called “The Cordova Initiative.”

    Where do you suppose they are going to get the $100,000,000 to build the blasphemy?

    Do you know what Cordova means to the jihadi?

    It recalls the Mohammedan conquest and rape of Spain for seven centuries from circa 700 to 1492.

    They don’t have a right to rub their murderous paganism in our faces. I was there both in 1993 qnd 2001. And, I knew men and women who were massacred.

    It must be nice to view 9/11 as a boring History Channel mini-series they re-run once a year in September.

    It must be to be at peace.

  • I don’t see that this is necessarily a problem — and more to the point, while I would agree with the Muslims quoted in the article Don links to that this is probably a bad idea, it would strike me as intensely un-American to deny a specific religious group permission to build a place of worship on a piece of land that they’ve bought simply because we feel sensitive about the locale.

    Also, while I think it’s important that we not deceive ourselves about the extent to which military jihad and theocracy are native to Islam, it would also be a serious mistake to consider the US to be at war with Islam as a whole or with all Muslims. To the extent to which Muslims are prepared to exist peacefully with or in the US (and most are), we should welcome that.

  • Clearly, you do not know the gang behind this travesty is called “The Cordova Initiative.”

    I’ve never heard of the Cordova Initiative. Were they somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks? Cause the video says that “they” attacked us on 9/11, and now “they” want to “celebrate” by building the mosque.

    Do you think (can any reasonable person think) that the purpose of building this mosque is to celebrate 9/11?

  • “I don’t see that this is necessarily a problem — and more to the point, while I would agree with the Muslims quoted in the article Don links to that this is probably a bad idea, it would strike me as intensely un-American to deny a specific religious group permission to build a place of worship on a piece of land that they’ve bought simply because we feel sensitive about the locale.”

    A very reasonable point, DC. Thank you!

  • Blackadder,

    No reasonable person would think this is to celebrate the 9/11 attacks. The problem is that committed Muslims aren’t reasonable, so, yes, they are erecting this to celebrate their greatest salvo in the war against the West. Religious freedom in the United State of America, is freedom to practice religions that are compatible with Judeo-Christian tradition, not necessarily of the same theology, but the same cultural principles – Islam is not.

    Darwin,

    Islam lives peacefully with Dar-Al-Harb, the House of War (the West, us) only to the extent that it is pragmatically necessary in order to gain the upper hand. When they think they can conquer, they will. It is pillar of the ‘faith’. We are commanded to go and baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost – we conquer with Love. They are commanded to conquer by the sword and slay all enemies, although Jews and Christians may be allowed to live as slaves.

    How do you suggest we peacefully exist with that mentality?

  • AK is correct about Dar-al-Harb.

    Muslims are instructed to lie and live among infidels until they become the majority.

    That’s at least according to Bernard Lewis and Robert Spencer, both experts on Islam and the Middle East.

  • No reasonable person would think this is to celebrate the 9/11 attacks. The problem is that committed Muslims aren’t reasonable, so, yes, they are erecting this to celebrate their greatest salvo in the war against the West.

    The guy in charge of the proposed community center is named Feisal Abdul Rauf. Here is an article by Mr. Rauf from last year arguing against prohibiting alcohol based on Sharia. Sounds like a real extremist.

  • Blackadder,

    You are employing reason as we understand it from a Christian perspective. That is not how the Muslim mind thinks.

    Muslims are commanded to employ taqiy’ya, loosely translated as concealing or guarding. Practically it means employing deceit to conquer your enemy. ‘Moderate’ Muslims are living pleasantly amongst us simply to be inside the gates to open them for the inevitable attack. Any other view is asking for our destruction.

    The only solution to the problem of Islam is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we cannot sit back and watch as over a billion of God’s children are led into hell. We are obligated to witness to the Truth of Christ to them so that He has an opportunity to save them. Confirming them in their error is akin to desiring their eternal damnation.

  • T. Shaw,

    You should be very careful referring to all Muslims as ‘filthy animals’ – that is an error, it is rude and is probably a sin. Our problem cannot be with Muslims, they are made in the image of God also and we have to look for Christ in them. Our problem is with Islam, which is as much the enemy of the poor, enslaved Muslims as it is ours.

    Tone down the rhetoric. Our Lady loves the Muslims. Muslims also revere Our Lady. She is given the highest honor above all other women, including Mohammad’s daughter, Fatima. We pray, “Blessed art thou amongst women” in the Ave Maria. Muslims actually share that sentiment. Our Lady appeared at Fatima, which is the name of Mohammad’s daughter. She also appeared at Guadalupe from the Sparabic (that is Spanish and Arabic hybrid) Wadi Lupe, Wolf River. She also appeared to a mostly Muslim crowd in Zeitoun, Egypt (Zeitoun is the Arabic for olives, as in the Mount of). She has her eye on Muslims, she will crush Islam and bring the Muslims to her Son.

    When she appears, clothed with the Son, with a crown of twelve stars on her head, what is under her feet?

    A crescent moon. Think about that.

  • It would mean much more to the world, I believe, if Muslims would invest the one hundred million dollars in support of the global war on terrorism as a religious statement that Islam really is about peace; and as an incentive for the Arab nations of the world to do the same.

    Going to prayer isn’t proof of anything.

    The proving of prayer is in the way we live.

  • If someone feels compelled to call all muslims “filthy animals” they will do so at some other blog than American Catholic. T.Shaw, I have unapproved your comment, and for the time being you are on moderation.

  • The mosque would be 2.5 blocks from Ground Zero. It would be in the middle of the block surrounded by buildings so I doubt Ground Zero would be visible from that location.

    [I]magine being Baraheen Ashrafi, nine months pregnant with her second child. Her husband, Mohammad Chowdhury, was a waiter at Windows of the World restaurant, on the top floors of Tower One. The morning of September 11, they prayed salaat-l-fajr (the pre-dawn prayer) together, and he went off to work. She never saw him again. Their son, Farqad, was born 48 hours after the attacks — one of the first 9/11 orphans to be born.

    http://islam.about.com/blvictims.htm

    Anyone opposed to the building of the mosque should be able to tell Baraheen Ashrafi that she should not be allowed to worship so close to Ground Zero.

  • And anyone in favor of building the mosque so close to ground zero should explain to Debra Burlingame why this is a good idea:

    “Outraged family members and community groups are accusing a Muslim group of trying to rewrite history with its plans to build a 13-story mosque and cultural center just two blocks from Ground Zero, where Islamic extremists flew two planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

    “This is a place which is 600 feet from where almost 3,000 people were torn to pieces by Islamic extremists,” said Debra Burlingame, whose brother died in the attack on the Pentagon that day.

    “I think that it is incredibly insensitive and audacious really for them to build a mosque, not only on that site, but to do it specifically so that they could be in proximity to where that atrocity happened,” said Burlingame, who is co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/14/plan-build-mosque-near-ground-zero-riles-families-victims/

    This is America, so assuming the building permits are issued, the mosque will be built, and the promoters of this project have every constitutional right to do so. However, that is not the end of this inquiry. To overlook the role that Islam played in the attacks on 9-11 is to be historically blind. Are all Muslims to blame for the attack? Of course not. Does Islam have a very long history of justifying such actions as part of conflicts with non-Muslims? Of course. This pours salt on a very raw wound, and the backers of this project are playing with fire. Having a right to do something does not make that action smart, moral or proper.

  • Until I am no longer considered dirt by Islam – ie, until I can travel freely and worship freely in Mecca as a Catholic – then Moslems can go jump in a lake as far as I’m concerned in such matters. They get to build their Mosque at Ground Zero when we can build a Church in Mecca.

  • I’ve been told that we can built a church in Mecca when they can build a mosque in Vatican City.

    Don, we should be required to prove that our chosen location for a church is a “good idea”? The burden is on the opponents to show that it’s a bad idea. Why is it insensitive to build a mosque near Ground Zero? That might make sense if the mosque was to preach that 9/11 was good but there is no indication that that’s the case.

    There’s nothing immoral about it. Saying it’s not smart or proper sounds an awful lot like the criticisms leveled against the Holy Father when he spoke about Islam. “It wasn’t wrong but it was unwise and improper.” Maybe the criticism should be directed at the irrationally oversensitive.

  • To the extent to which Muslims are prepared to exist peacefully with or in the US, we should welcome that.

  • MAGISTERIUM SAYS EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE A VISIBLE MEMBER OF THE CHURCH FOR SALVATION, EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS

    Catholic blogs and websites are still not willing to discuss extra ecclesiam nulla salus and they just accept a secular media interpretation of a Catholic ex cathedr dogma. This has an important bearing on our understanding and relationship with Islam.

    The following is from the blog eucharistandmission
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.com/2010/07/apologist-simon-rafe-in-real-catholic.html#links
    ____________________________________________________

    July 15,2010
    APOLOGIST SIMON RAFE IN REAL CATHOLIC DIFFICULTY : MAGISTERIUM SAYS EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE A VISIBLE MEMBER OF THE CHURCH FOR SALVATION, EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS

    Apologist Simon Rafe says :

    The teaching of the Church is that a person CAN be saved if they are not a visible member of the Church.
    Lionel: Yes. True. This is not being denied.

    To deny this is to cease to give full acceptance to the Church.
    Lionel: It is not being denied.

    Non-Catholics can be saved, DESPITE their failure to be a visible member of the Church. This is the teaching of the Church.
    Lionel: This is not the official teaching of the Church. This is a popular interpretation.

    I would say everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to be saved and there are no known exceptions. If a person was saved without being a visible member of the Catholic Church it would be known to God only, we cannot know any such case.

    It’s a real Catholic difficulty these days, with the new doctrine, which goes like this: everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation except for those in invincible ignorance, the baptism of desire or a good conscience.

    When people say that everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church except for those in invincible ignorance, with the baptism of desire and a good conscience it could be right or wrong depending on the interpretation.

    1. It is WRONG if they mean that every one does not need to become a visible member of the church. Then this is a new doctrine and contrary to the Deposit of the Faith.

    2. It is RIGHT if they mean every one does have to become a visible member of the Catholic Church to avoid Hell and if there is anyone with the Baptism of Desire, genuine invincible ignorance and a good conscience it will be known only to God.

    (Note: Above I affirm the Baptism of Desire, invincible ignorance and a good conscience and I also affirm the dogma that everybody needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to avoid Hell.)

    The dogma says everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church.

    ‘…it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.). Ex Cathedra

    ‘…none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation…

    No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” – (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) Ex Cathedra
    The dogma does not contradict other Church Documents regarding the Baptism of Desire.

    Simon Rafe’s problem is one being faced by many Catholics, including those who have orthodox Catholic beliefs.Some Catholics are describing the situation as ‘a mystery’.So Rafe is only repeating the problem as other Catholics face it i.e everyone needs to be a visible member of the church and everyone does not need to be a visible member of the Church.

    Catholics in erroe interpret the Catechism and the Vatican Council II according to the Jewish Left media and believe there is no other interpretation. Simon Rafe and others needs to interpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church,Vatican Council II and the Letter of the Holy Office 1949, in line with the ex cathedra dogma which says everyone needs to be a visible member of the catholic Church and there are no exceptions. Simon agrees everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church for salvation but when I ask him of Lumen Gentium 16 contradicts this teaching of the dogma he does not answer.

    The Magisterium of the Church cannot reject an ex cathedra dogma.
    So interpret all Church documents according to extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Catholic Church documents say everyone needs to be a visible member of the Church to avoid Hell and there is no Church document issued to refute it.

    1. For instance we can misinterpret the Letter of the Holy Office 1949.

    In order for someone to be saved, it explained, “it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church as an actual member, but it is necessary at least to be united to her by desire and longing.”-Letter of the Holy Office 1949. The same message is there in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    True however this (not receiving the Baptism of water as an adult and being saved) is only known to God. It is not as real as the Baptism of Water. So it was wrong to suggest that everyone does not have to be a visible member of the Church, as if the Baptism of Desire is explicit and visible by nature. So this is a distorted interpretation of the Letter of the Holy Office using the Cushing Doctrine. It is heresy. It is clear ‘double speak’. Discerning Catholics consider this new doctrine a hoax, the equivalent of the fabled Emperors New Clothes. Liberals call it a developed doctrine.

    Through his books Fr. Hans Kung uses the Cushing Doctrine, suggesting Lumen Gentium 16 refers to explicit and not implicit salvation, to question the infallibility of the pope ex cathedra. He maintains the Kung Deception that the Church has retracted extra ecclesiam nulla salus after Vatican Council II.

    Without the Cushing Doctrine, one could say: For salvation everyone needs to be a visible (explicit) member of the Catholic Church with no exception and if there is anyone with the Baptism of Desire or who is in invincible ignorance it will be known to God only.

    If this point in the Letter is ministerpreted one could also misinterpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the Church alone saves from the flood like Noah’s Ark and so everyone needs to enter the Ark to be saved. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    N.845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.-Catechism of the Catholic Church n.845
    Here we have an interpretation of the Catechism affirming the dogma.

    3.”Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.-Catechism of the Catholic Church 846
    CCC 846,847 like Lumen Gentium 16 refer to implicit salvation, those saved ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949).They are known to God only.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.-Catechism of the Catholic Church,N.847

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”-Catechism of the Catholic Church,N.848
    Those saved implicitly (CCC 847,848) for us, they are just a concept, something hypothetical, a possibility. It is not explicit. Since it is not explicit it does not contradict CCC845, 836.It does not contradict Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14 and the infallible teaching outside the church there is no salvation.

    CCC836 which says all people need to enter the Catholic Church include all Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church, Jesus’ Mystical Body.
    If CCC 846,847(invincible ignorance etc) referred to explicit salvation, it would be irrational. Since we cannot judge who has a baptism of desire or is in genuine invincible ignorance.It would also mean that the Catechism, which is the ordinary Magisterium of the Church, is correcting and contradicting an ex cathedra teaching. So it would be a rejection of the dogma on the infallibility of the pope.It would mean CCC 846,847 (implicit invincible ignorance etc) is a new Christian doctrine or Christian Revelation.
    Yet this teaching was not mentioned for the first time in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or Vatican Council II (Lumen Gentium16).It was referred to in the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 to the Archbishop of Boston, Richard Cushing. The popes over the centuries always considered those saved by implicit faith as, implicit. Hence the ex cathedra teaching said everyone with no exception needs explicit faith (the baptism of water and Catholic Faith).
    So 846,847 do not refer to explicit salvation. Otherwise it would be irrational, illogical and contrary to the Magisterium of the past and present.
    The Catholic Church is saying everybody needs to be a visible member of the Church to avoid Hell.Those who are aware of Jesus and the Church and yet do not enter are on the way to Hell, definitely.
    CCC is also saying that all non-Catholics in general need to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell. All. If there is anyone among them with the baptism of desire, invincible ignorance etc (implicit faith) it will be known to God only. We cannot judge.
    De facto everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation.
    De jure there could be the probability, known only to God, of someone ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) being saved with implicit faith. God will provide all the helps in the manner known to Him only; it could include explicit faith (the baptism of water).So if someone says the Catechism says that they can be saved who are in invincible ignorance etc, the answer is: ‘Yes, as a concept only. In principle.’ De facto everyone explicitly needs to be a Catholic to go to Heaven is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.(CCC 845).Simon Rafe needs to clarify this point.

    “For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament” (CCC 1259).
    In other words everyone needs to de facto be a ‘card carrying member’ of the Catholic Church, everyone needs to have his name on a Parish Register. All who are in Heaven, people of different countries, cultures and times, are Catholics, the chosen people of God, the Elect, the people of the New Covenant. I think Simon Rafe and Michael Vorris would agree here. They recently produced a video on ONLY CATHOLICS IN HEAVEN! ( http://www.youtube.com/user/RealCatholicTV#p/a/u/0/2Dcfj0PU_JQ ) . It is highly recommended.( I try not to miss Michael Vorris’ videos)

    4.In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the sub title‘Outside the Church there is no salvation’ has been placed over N.846.It should really be above number 845.

    The ex cathedra dogma says everyone needs to explicitly enter the Church for salvation. It is in agreement with n.845

    N.845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church….(quoted above in full )
    Here is the ex cathedra dogma:

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215). Ex cathedra.

    2.“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.).Ex cathedra.

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) Ex cathedra
    – from the website Catholicism.org and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS http://nosalvationoutsideofthecatholicchurch.blogspot.com/
    It says everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.

    So CCC 847,848 must be interpreted as referring to implicit salvation, in ’certain circumstances’ and unknown to us, otherwise it would contradict the infallible teaching.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.-Catechism of the Catholic Church
    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”-Catechism of the Catholic Church
    CCC 847, 848 do not refer to explicit salvation and so do not contradict the dogma. There is no de facto baptism of desire that we can know of. There is no explicit Baptism of desire that we can know of. While implicit Baptism of Desire is only a concept for us. Since it is known only to God.

    So if asked if everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation the answer is YES.

    5. Everyone explicitly needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation and those who have the baptism of desire or are invincible ignorance would be known only to God.

    All men are certainly called to this Catholic unity. The Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ and all mankind belong to or are ordered to Catholic unity.-CCC 836

    Here again we have an affirmation of the ex cathedra dogma and the word all is used as in Ad Gentes 7.

    6.

    How do we understand this saying from the Church Fathers? All salvation comes from Christ through his Body, the Church which is necessary for salvation because Christ is present in his Church…-CCC846
    Here the Catechism places de jure and defacto salvation together. It does not conflict with the ex cathedra teaching that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Catholic Church .We cannot personally know any cases of a genuine invincible ignorance, baptism of desire or a good conscience.

    7.

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848
    Those who are in invincible ignorance can be saved -and this does not conflict with the ex cathedra dogma that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Church to avoid Hell. It is a conceptual, de jure understanding.

    8. CCC 1257 The Necessity of Baptism

    CCC 1257 affirms the dogma when it says that the Church knows of no means to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water. This is a reference to explicit salvation for all with no known exceptions.

    CCC 1257 also says that for salvation God is not restricted to the Sacraments. This must not be interpreted as opposing the dogma or the earlier part of CCC 1257. This is a possibility, ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) and we cannot judge any specific cases. Th Baptism of Desire is never explicit for us humans.
    I repeat the Church refers to the ordinary means of salvation (Redemptoris Missio 5. The word ordinary is used in RM 55).

    In Dominus Iesus the words de jure and de facto are used in the Introduction.

    In CCC 1257 we have the baptism of water as the ordinary means of salvation for all people with no exception.

    In CCC 1257 we also have those saved with implicit faith (invincible ignorance,BOD etc) as the extraordinary means of salvation.(‘God is not limited to the Sacraments’).

    VI. THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM

    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. -Catechism of the Catholic Church 1257

    The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 while affirming the dogma and the need for everyone to be a visible member of the Church to go to Heaven with no exceptions- also says that ‘in certain circumstances’ a person can be saved with implicit faith, if God wills it.

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848

    St.Thomas Aquinas says God will ‘provide the helps necessary for salvation’ by sending a person to baptize the one needing help in this extraordinary situation OR telling the person what he needs to do.

    Here we are in a conceptual area, open to theories since this is the nature of the baptism of desire etc which cannot be explicitly known to us humans.
    St.Thomas Aquinas also said that everyone with no exception needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church for salvation. De facto everyone needs to enter. De jure there could be the man in the forest for St.Thomas Aquinas. He did not have a problem with de facto and de jure.

    On the Saint Benedict Centre website, the community founded by Fr.Leonard Feeney in New Hampshire,USA it is written, that Fr.Leonard Feeney knew that his view on the Baptism of Desire was only an opinion.
    Finally everyone’s view on the Baptism of Desire is ONLY AN OPINION. De jure. This is seen clearly in CCC 1257.
    It reminds one of Jesus’ saying that ‘he who does not collect with me disperses’ and ‘those who are not against us are for us.’

    9.When it is said that only those who know about the Catholic Church need to enter to avoid Hell (Ad Gentes 7) we can mistake this to mean only this category of people are on the way to Hell. Instead we know that all non Catholics are on the way to Hell with no exception ( ex cathedra dogma) and if there is any one among them who is in invincible ignorance etc it will be known only to God.

    Those who are in invincible ignorance can be saved-and this does not conflict with the ex cathedra dogma that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Church to avoid Hell. It is a conceptual, de jure understanding.

    So the Catechism is not asking us to reject the notion that one can be saved without the Sacraments according to the ordinary way of salvation. (Redemptoris Missio 55).If one says it does it is a misinterpretation of the Catechism.

    Where it refers to being saved without the Sacraments it is referring to that exceptional case, which in ‘certain circumstances'(Letter of the Holy Office 1949) are known only to God. We do not even know if there has been any case of the Baptism of desire during our lifetime.

    A.Practically speaking everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven.

    B.Theoretically (de jure, in principle) a person can be saved through implicit faith (if God wills it) even without the Baptism of water.This is the official teaching of the Church.

    B is in accord with the Catechism which mentions the Baptism of water as a concept (it cannot be anything else other than a concept)

    B is in accord with Fr.Leonard Feeney who mentioned the Baptism of Desire (catechumen).It was a concept in his mind (something dejure).

    B is in accord with the website of the Saint Benedict Centre,one of Fr.Leonard Feeney’s communities, which defines the Baptism of Desire. A definition is a concept.

    So when Simon Rafe says in his e-mail to me that ‘Non-Catholics can be saved, DESPITE their failure to be a visible member of the Church. This is the teaching of the Church.’ it is true ( de jure, in principle). However de facto everybody with no exception needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church, Jesus’s Mystical Body to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.

    -Lionel Andrades

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Simon Rafe

    Simon Rafe is a former undergraduate in the Department of English Language and Linguistics at Sheffield University, England. An immigrant to the United States, he is an adult convert to Catholicism, formerly being what he describes as a “militant atheist”. Simon has been heavily involved in the Internet for over a decade, working as a webmaster and performing web design for several companies in the UK. He is well-versed in the ethos of the “New Evangelization”, having both found his wife and come to know Christ and the Catholic Church thanks to the Internet. He is the author of the book “Where Did The Bible Come From?” and consultant-author for the Saint Michael’s Basic Training series.

    ——————————————————————————–

  • [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Dcfj0PU_JQ&hl=it_IT&fs=1]

  • How about we celebrate America’s Christian heritage with a church instead?

  • “Don, we should be required to prove that our chosen location for a church is a “good idea”?”

    Well, yes, actually restrainedradical, if a group of Catholic fanactics, to the strains of Ave Maria, had crashed two airliners into the twin towers and then less then a decade later Catholics wanted to build a grand Cathedral two blocks from the site.

    Of course the comparison breaks down in that I find it hard to imagine any priest, let alone a bishop, who would support such a terrorist act by Catholics, no matter the motivation. Plenty of imams, in this country and abroad, have given at least tacit approval to what was done on 9-11.

  • I’ve been told that we can built a church in Mecca when they can build a mosque in Vatican City.

    The Vatican is a 109 acre site occupied by antique buildings with complimentary plazas and gardens. The City of Mecca extends, per some accounts, over an area of 330 sq miles, and, like any city, makes additions to its stock of buildings each year.

  • How about we celebrate America’s Christian heritage with a church instead?

    I believe there already is a church equally close by to Ground Zero.

  • Blackadder,

    You are employing reason as we understand it from a Christian perspective. That is not how the Muslim mind thinks.

    Muslims are commanded to employ taqiy’ya, loosely translated as concealing or guarding. Practically it means employing deceit to conquer your enemy. ‘Moderate’ Muslims are living pleasantly amongst us simply to be inside the gates to open them for the inevitable attack. Any other view is asking for our destruction.

    Well, gee, if that’s the case how do I know that you aren’t secretly a muslim practicing taqiy’ya?

  • “Well, gee, if that’s the case how do I know that you aren’t secretly a muslim practicing taqiy’ya?”

    Or you BA? Paranoia, it’s not just a game! 🙂

  • “I believe there already is a church equally close by to Ground Zero.”

    Is there a synagogue? How about a Hindu shrine?

  • Allowing the building of this or any other Mosque shows our commitment to religious freedom. Not allowing it “to happen” gives the impression that we don’t take freedom of the religion seriously or that we take it seriously for us but not for them.

  • “Allowing the building of this or any other Mosque shows our commitment to religious freedom.”

    To whom? And to what end? Call it a hunch, but I think the Muslims worldwide who think America got what it deserved on 9/11 won’t react to a 13-story mosque at ground zero with heartfelt gratitude and a new appreciation for Western tolerance, but rather as unmistakable (and further) evidence that Western society is a paper tiger, an apple ripe for the plucking.

    I’m all for religious freedom, but we don’t need to symbolically bend over and clutch our ankles to show our commitment to it.

    We’d do better to show our commitment to religious freedom by, say, standing up and fighting for our own religious values such as the rights of the unborn and the integrity of marriage. Simply preventing the construction of a mosque at ground zero isn’t enough to impress upon anyone that we do in fact take our own religious liberties seriously.

  • “Not allowing it “to happen” gives the impression that we don’t take freedom of the religion seriously or that we take it seriously for us but not for them.”

    If the “Cordoba Initiative”, a name that bespeaks gross ignorance of what Muslim Andalus was actually like, obtains the necessary permits they have every right to construct the mosque, just like the wackos of the Westboro Baptist “church” have the right to protest at the funerals of servicemen. Whether a right should be exercised in a particular case is completely separate from whether a legal right exists.

  • I’m happy for you all. You seem to be able to see ‘it’ – September 11/the Pentagon/World Trade Center – as the plot for boring History Channel specials they rerun every September.

    I know: I need to get over it!

    Well, at the least $100 million (from wherever they obtained it) won’t be used to arm, supply, and train mass murderers. Thank God for small mercies.

    I will join the widows, widowers, mothers, fathers, orphans of the 3,000 victims in whatever they deem approriate.

    Anyhow, there appears to be an amount of ignorance around here.

    Pull your heads out of the sand. The religious war that is now raging around you is far bigger than you know.

  • Yes, T. Shaw. We get it. Only you are seriously passionate about the threat of Islamic terrorism. Those of us who think that calling all Muslims filthy animals is beneath contempt must obviously have our heads in the sand.

    The sad thing is that there is a little bit too much naivety about the threat of Islamism – whether it be expressed here or in the wilder world. Yet there are those who seem to think that anything less than 100 percent, undiluted, RAGE AND HATRED ARGHHHHHH!!!!! is unacceptable. Shouting at the skies might be amusing for a while, but at some point it’s time to grow up. Raging at the world isn’t going to solve problems. I’m not saying we should stifle our passions or walk around like robots, but you’ve gotta channel some of that to more constructive purposes.

  • Is there a synagogue? How about a Hindu shrine?

    I have no idea. And, more importantly, who cares?

  • The enemy lies amongst us. They will continue to out breed us until the day they rise up to take control. It’s not too many years away before they’ll be able to vote whom ever they wish to the highest political seats in our nation.

    “America…it was fun while it lasted”!!!

  • Pat and everyone else,

    America is not Europe.

    What is occurring in Europe will not occur in America because we integrate our immigrants into society. We don’t make entire new neighborhoods for them to reside in as Europe does.

    Granted blue states like California and New York will not integrate their immigrants like the rest of the country, but I guess it is a problem they will need to deal with in the future.

  • We let them build it, not because we’ve forgotten 9/11 or because we think it’ll win world support for us. We let them build it because we’re America, and if we stop them then we’re liars.

    The whole point of this blog is to approach issues from an American Catholic perspective. The implication is that it’s possible to be both American and Catholic. The day we ignore the Constitutional protection of religion in the name of our Faith is the day we cease to be American Catholics.

  • They are commanded to conquer by the sword and slay all enemies, although Jews and Christians may be allowed to live as slaves.

    How do you suggest we peacefully exist with that mentality?

    Because not all of them share that mentality. There is nothing wrong with working with the more “Piskyized” versions of Muslims.

  • Tito –

    I’m not talking about immigrants. These will be American born Muslims, that worship Islam. They will/are out breeding everyone around the world. Like I said, they will be able to take control of the House of Reps., the Senate & ultimately the Presidency of the U.S. just based off the sheer numbers they’re producing.

    “America…it was fun while it lasted”!

  • Blackadder,

    If I am concealing my true intentions because I am a Muslim, then it appears that my secret plot is to NOT build the Mosque at Ground Zero and I am promoting the conversion of Muslims to the Catholic Faith through the intercession of the Blessed Mother of God.

    By their fruits ye shall know them. 😉

    Pinky,

    Religious freedom is limited to authentic religious practices. Satanists desire to sacrifice virgins to Lucifer – do you think we should let them kill virgins in the interest of religious tolerance? How about Rastafarians, should we allow the use of an illegal (well at least still somewhat) mind-altering drug in their practices?

    The attack we endured on 9/11 was perpetuated by Muslim terrorists. Not by terrorists who happen to be Muslim; rather it was their ‘religious’ ideology that inspired them to kill and destroy. At best, erecting a Mosque so close to Ground Zero is in bad taste and it is more likely a beachhead for the battle against the unfaithful infidels who must be subjugated or destroyed (in case you are wondering that is everyone who does not subscribe to the Islamist ideology of the particular terrorist group that committed the heinous attacks, and includes Muslims who tolerate the ways of the West).

    Your opinion, kindly civil sentiment as it is, is grossly naive.

  • AK – In what context to you mean “authentic religious practices”, theological or civil? False religions have no rights in themselves, but they have rights accorded them by human freedom. That’s what a theologian would say, I think.

    As a civil matter, religion isn’t an excuse to break the law. If we had reason to believe that this particular mosque was being used to commit or encourage criminal activity, we’d be right to investigate it and arrest those involved. If you’re worried that they’re hiding something, we can keep an eye on them. But we can’t forbid them from building on the grounds that they’re Muslim. At least not under the current interpretation of our Constitution.

  • Tito Edwards, yes New York will pay soon enough for failing to integrate the Irish, Jews, Italians, and Chinese.

    Fact is we’re never had a problem with people retaining foreign cultures as long as they retain or adopt a common set of core values. There is nothing to indicate that the Muslims who will worship at the mosque do not share our values. In fact, their values are probably closer to conservative Southern values than liberal NYC values. If you talk to Muslim cabbies in NYC (who will probably make up a large portion of the mosque’s congregants), they sound like conservative Southerners with the exceptions of their views on immigration and Israel. I even met one who thought Bush would be remembered as one of America’s greatest presidents for taking down Saddam. Another Muslim cabbie expressed his disgust that an Episcopal church we were passing by was converted into a club. These are hardly the people who are subverting our way of life.

  • RR,

    I’m referring to the “multi-cultural” programs that purposely segregate and demonize “whitey” that is taught in the schools in New York and California.

    I am not familiar with the sample pool of NYC cab drivers and their political leanings.

    Though I know Tijuana taxi drivers and they have a pretty good right hook.

  • RR,

    As a Coptic friend of mine once told me, “Your problem is you think like a Westerner.” Her portrait of living under (and I do mean under) Islam is not flattering. Her experience is probably more informative than a few cab rides in NYC.

  • Way too much education wasted here. Our sense of right and wrong, enshrined in our legal system, will guarantee that when the permits clear, Islam will have it’s Al Aqsa Mosque casting a triumphalist shadow over (or very near) the place of execution of thousands of (mostly) infidels.

    That said, there is no way to turn their intent to erect this hellish monument into anything less triumphalist, even malicious, than Catholic-in-good-standing Nancy Pelosi’s provocative march of the Democrats through those gathered in DC to protest against the passage of the ObamabortionCare bill.

    Our sense of right and wrong will cause us to stand by with our hands in our pockets while those who wish us ill lay the legal, financial, and political groundworks from which they will ultimately bring us into dhimmitude.

  • j. christian, I didn’t know we were talking about Islam in Egypt. I had thought we were talking about Muslims in NYC.

  • And I thought we were talking about Islam, not Muslims.

  • This is not about individual opinions, but demographic changes.

    You meet Muslims who are sympathetic to Christianity when it is attacked by secularism – and you meet Muslims who are allied with leftist radicals against all things Western.

    Today, its sensitivity programs and recognition of holidays. That’s where it starts. Tomorrow, towns with significant Muslim populations start wondering why they can’t have sharia courts for family disputes. The flow of Muslim immigration to the US isn’t like what it is in Europe so we may have a while yet before such things occur. But we may as well take measures against it now – like, perhaps, state laws forever barring the establishment of separate sharia courts. I know people will say our first amendment prevents it. Lawyers will always find a a way to justify anything. What we don’t want in the future must clearly be spelled out now, before some bottom-feeder hoodwinks a judge or jury and establishes a dangerous precedent.

    That’s why I care, Blackadder. Jews and Hindus don’t have a mandate to convert the world by any means necessary. Muslims do. Christians also have a mandate to spread the Gospel throughout the world, but many Muslim states punish both proselytization and conversion from Islam with death.

    I really don’t hate Muslims. I respect them on many levels. But I don’t want their values replacing ours. We don’t have to become hateful savages in our dealings with them, but we need to at least match their level of determination to see their own religion and world view triumph.

  • I don’t think we assimilate like we used to. Even 30 years ago, it was assumed that the first generation would figure out English the best they could, and the second generation would be raised American (even if the family remained in an ethnic neighborhood). These days, we reinforce the “manyness” of the immigrant rather than promote the “oneness” of America. If we don’t stop that, we can’t handle any immigration at all without falling apart. If we return to the idea of assimilation, we can handle a slow influx of any culture.

  • Pinky, know many 2nd generation Americans who can’t speak English? I don’t that’s been an issue since French immigration to New England 100 years ago. Immigrants probably assimilate faster today than ever before.

  • It’s my understanding that there was a much smaller mosque, near the twin towers, and that it was damaged when the airplanes hit. Rebuild the mosque to what it once was, there is nothing wrong with that, but to build a new, much, much larger mega mosque is a slap in the face to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. As someone above said, how would muslims like it if a Cathedral was built at Mecca?

  • Pinky,

    There are a few problems with your line of thinking.

    First, there have only been two authentic religious practices – those of the Hebrews prior to the Incarnation and those of the Catholic Church since. That being said, we are not a Catholic nation; however, we are Christian.

    To be clear in our Christian nation we allow religious freedom, originally that meant that as a matter of culture we allow the different denominations of Christians to practice their own faith – it also meant that we would allow guests to practice what they desire; however guests are not invited to change the fundamental principles of our culture including religious life.

    Something as fundamental to the make-up, the constitution, of each and every one of us as religion is, cannot be multi-cultural. We have to genuinely agree on some basic truths of conduct. The only rules of conduct that are compatible with authentic human freedom are those of mere Christianity (to quote C.S. Lewis). Muslims who practice within the confines of Christian culture are welcome. Yet Christians are barely permitted to be Christians in a Muslim state.

    It is a terrible error to apply Western Christian thought about human dignity, religious freedom, human rights, etc. to the Muslim view. Islam is a conquering religion, at any cost. It is imperial, it is unbridled human passion without the restraints of reason. Do most Muslims practice their religion that way? No. But that doesn’t change what Islam is. Many Muslims do adhere to the jihad between Dar-Al-Islam (the House of Peace) and Dar-Al-Harb (the House of War). You cannot take that lightly. If you do, it is to your own peril. We are commanded to love our enemies, which means we should want them to be saved by the Precious Blood of Christ – without compulsion. But, it does not mean we tolerate their blasphemies, errors, heresies and aggression.

    Furthermore, the civil law is only valid when it is built upon the rock that is God’s Law. What are you going to do when the Catholic Church is declared illegal because she discriminates against women by not ordaining them as priests, or, engages in ‘hate speech’ for her views on homosexualism?

    Most Catholics throughout the world, including China and ALL Muslim controlled lands, practice their faith in secret because to be Catholic is illegal.

    There is no such thing as the CURRENT interpretation of the Constitution – there is only the original intent of the Constitution, properly amended. The false idea that it is to be perpetually and continuously interpreted is a liberal idea to undermine the very term constitution.

    Patrick Henry said it clearly, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship.” (Now there is some dispute as to whether or not he actually said that, or if it was added to one of his letters in 1956 – nevertheless, the sentiment is valid.)

    We can accept certain Muslims into the United States; however, those would be either guests, tourist or laborers who are invited by the employer for a temporary stay and that has to be enforced strictly. Muslims that want to come here to live, would need to choose to live in a Christian culture, which is essentially to no longer desire to be Muslim.

    I agree with your point about assimilation. We are a nation of many elasticities, but we are of one culture – the American culture and authentic American culture is Christian in character and quite compatible and welcoming to Catholics. Of course, we should all remember, sadly many don’t, that we are to uncoercively change the culture toward the one true Catholic faith without being changed by the culture.

  • AK – You raised a lot of issues, but since we disagree on a lot of things, let’s take them one at a time.

    You said that religious freedom is limited to authentic religious practices, and that there is only one such practice at this point in history. But that’s not the same thing as banning the practice of other religions. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines three types of religious toleration: dogmatic, civil, and political. The practice of dogmatic toleration of error is an affront to truth, but civil and political toleration of error are obligations. That’s why I was making the distinction between our obligation as Americans and as Catholics.

    The Summa calls religion a natural virtue, not a supernatural one. I take that to mean that the practice of any religion, even in error, contains an element of virtue. Jacques Maritain says that with respect to God and truth each of us is obligated to follow the true religion, but “with respect to the State, to the temporal community and to the temporal power, he is free to choose his religious path at his own risk; his freedom of conscience is a natural, inviolable right”.

  • Pinky,

    We are Catholics first and from the dogmatic perspective we have to be intolerant. The Spirit of the World stands against God and we are always to seek His Kingdom first. On this I know we agree.

    As for being Americans, well then we have to be vigilant to protect the fragile nature of a free society. Although the natural virtue of religion is admirable in all, after all it is innately human to seek Truth and that is what the virtue of religion is, it is not admirable to twist the virtue into an orientation for anything else. Religion is the justice due to God. For an American to have freedom of religion necessarily means a religion based on truth, not necessarily God’s revealed Truth, but the natural truth that we can know by reason.

    The religion of the atheists can be practiced by good people. If their intellect is acute enough and can see the world as it is, then an atheist can have some sense of morality. They won’t admit it, but that morality would necessarily have Christian elements, although not fullness of truth – that is what Western tradition is all about. Mormons too. They do NOT believe in God as we do, and the ‘revelation’ they received from the mind of Joseph Smith is full of error. Yet, being an American invention, their religion is replete with authentic Christian morals, which is why most Mormons are good people and fully compatible with life in America – religious heresies excepted.

    Islam is like Mormonism in many ways. It was ‘revealed’ to a mentally unstable man by and ‘angel’ and is a horrible heresy. Islam is very different than Mormonism in that Islam demands the conquest of the world by the power of force, terror, fear, plunder, deceit and unbridled human passion. This is incompatible with life in America, with our civic institutions, with our way of life. It cannot coexist in the same culture as anything other than Islam. It is not to be tolerated because it is a dangerous political movement and even the most benign Muslim will eventually face the choice of renouncing their faith (which is a death sentence) or becoming a jihadi. Mohammad left no other option.

    To be ‘tolerant’ of Islam within our country is to tempt God to unleash hell upon us. Perhaps that is what He has in mind. I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be the first time He uses Islam to chastise the children of His one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

    As for freedom of conscience as an inviolable right, I do agree; however, keep in mind that when we commit a mortal sin we may be damning ourselves, but we also bring down the whole Church and when we repent all the angels and saints in Heaven rejoice. We do not sin alone, so while we must have freedom of conscience, after all God gave us a free will, we cannot be absolved of the responsibility our individual sins have on others. The sins of Islam have direct temporal and eternal damage attached. Islam calls for the subjugation of all people of the Book and the wholesale genocidal slaughter of ALL others. That means that Islam desires the murder of 60% of the people, 3 billion souls! And the slavery of another billion. Those numbers may be right out of the Book of the Apocalypse and we are to hasten the Lord’s Parousia, but we are not to desire the tribulation that precedes the Return of the King. Islam thrives on violence, discord, domination, rape, theft, plunder, murder and chaos. To let that blasphemy take hold within our borders is suicide. For Muslims, suicide is salvation; for us it is an unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit.

    We are at war!

    Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio.

  • It’s not a matter of being “Catholics first”, AK. Obviously, we’re all Catholics first. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be Catholics at all. Given that fact, the question isn’t whether we choose to be dogmatically intolerant, civilly tolearant, or politically tolerant. The question is how do we do all three at once.

    I’m no fan of sharia, believe me, and I’m not gullible. I understand the dangers of Islam. But America isn’t at war with a religion.

  • Pinky,

    I try to state the obvious when I post because people who aren’t in the dialogue will read it and perhaps some of them aren’t Catholics or at least poorly catechized Catholics.

    We are not at war with a religion, but we are at war with a violent, dangerous, anti-intellectual (reason), anti-brotherhood (love), anti-Christian political ideology masquerading as a religion. To think we are not is to give in to defeat – in this matter we cannot concede. Our primary battle is within ourselves, but in order to win souls for Christ – our primary mission, we cannot allow an environment that is dangerous to both those outside of Islam as well as those mired in it to grow. Will we win? Ultimately – yes; however, we must remember that our part is in the effort – the victory belongs to God alone. Islam is not to be tolerated.

  • It’s not a Ground Zero mosque… it’s a few blocks away… and if you’ve ever been to NYC, you’d know that a few blocks is a huge distance in such a highly densely populated area. And the Imam heading the project has had his own Sufi-based (y’know…the tolerant, love-all type Muslims) in Tribeca since 1990 (Masjid Al-Farah)… roughly 12 blocks from Ground Zero. Masjid Al-Farah, where he’s given the Friday prayer service for over 20 years is the antithesis to fundamentalist Islam. It’s a seat of the Jerrahi Sufis…lead by two female Shaykhas. Heck, they’ve even had same sex couple blessings there and female-led prayers. Imam Rauf was chosen by the FBI to lead sensitivity training following 9/11 and has been involved in Interfaith issues for years. He’s very well-respected among the NYC Interfaith crowd.

    It’s not the same as building a Church in Mecca… nor is it the same as building a mosque in Vatican City (which would be similar). Although you may not know this, people like Imam Rauf are hated by Islamic Extremists far more than non-Muslims. They are viewed to be the kafirs…not Christians and Jews who are viewed as People of the Book. Sufis, liberal/tolerant Muslims are much more enemies of Bin Laden types than you and I. There would be nothing that would bother the Wahabis more than having a Sufi affiliated, Multifaith Islamic Center representing Islam. I say thumbs up. And opposing this mosque, goes against our Constitution. I’d much rather show what true religious freedom is about than unfairly target Muslims–especially those like Imam Rauf.

  • karla,

    You may not have slogged through all the posts, but it is probably worth the time if you have interest in the subject.

    Islam, even Islam as understood by the ‘nice’ Muslims, is incompatible with Western Civilization and especially Christendom. To rationalize any other viewpoint is suicide. Muslims are less than 1.5% of the American population; if ‘tolerant’ people like you keep welcoming more and more of them, that number will grow and the inevitable clash will be a disaster.

    Additionally, I don’t see how Muslims who promote homosexualism are to be held as a sign that Islam is improving. That is some seriously twisted thinking.

  • To prove their love for us, the Mosque proponents seek the civil protection of a fair minded US Constitution which is their right. But will it make us love them? Coming to us outside of the courts and appealing to our Christian duty to love, especially to love our enemies, would have been the better result, if it were for mutual love and respect. As it stands now, we have to love, but we don’t have to like. This manner of action makes me suspect the true motive and I will remain wary, very wary.

    I trust, however, that living long enough in the presence of New Yorkers will have the same “liberating” effect that New Yorkers have had on every monolithic creed they have ever encountered. How long before New York Islam buckles under New York mockery, ridicule, perversion, and defilement? Do you think their grandchildren will be wearing head scarves or jeans? Do you think their children will marry into their faith or be seduced by New York style liberty? We can corrupt the sacred in anyone.

    I also trust that living side by side with committed people of other faiths, persecuted equally by secular society, will lead to personal choices that would not be possible in single faith societies. If the Saudis want to remain Islamic pure, they better not allow any Churches.

  • Woe to us who just don’t get it. Islam seeks to conquer, pure and simple. They will build a mosque in any area they deem significant as a conquest. This is what they do, hence the reason for the mosque on the temple mount in Jerusalem. Anywhere near ground zero, for that matter, the whole of NY City as one of our centers of commerce that represents America, is where they would erect a huge ediface to the glory of their moon rock god (little g) as an insult to us. They would level NYC, then build a new Mecca if they could. We are really the ostridges with our silly 60’s peacenik, hippy, lovefest heads in the sand. They just laugh and praise allah (little a)that our stupidity with our complacent holier-than-thou humanistic, atheistic (a religion by the way), political correctness will lead us to hand over our country (if we don’t wake up!) As to previous posts, if we haven’t already allowed islam (little i) into our political system, we are certainly paving the way.

  • My wife is Muslim (from Lebanon; I am black). The father of the family is a lawyer and the mother is a lawyer. They are living the great American dream– a big screen TV, a German shephard dog in the back yard, a full 401k, a mini-van to bring the kids to footbal practice, the whole enchilada. They also happen to be practicing Muslims. We should not split “us” and “them,” we’re all “us.” Don’t let those criminal terrorists divide our vibrant, learned Muslim community from the rest of America.

  • Max,

    I’m 100% with you.

    Freedom of Religion is a right! The builders behind the Ground Zero Mosque have every right to build their mosque.

    My personal opinion is that the mosque should still not be built near Ground Zero. That’s me practicing my free speech rights.