Friday, September 10, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque vs. Koran Burning - Who's right ??

Amendment 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of free speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Unless you've been stuck in a cave or wondering in the outback of Australia for the last several weeks, you've heard about the controversy surrounding the building of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque (hereafter The Mosque). The developers want to build it a few blocks away from where the World Trade Center towers stood prior to the attacks of 9/11. Now, a few churches across the country have announced plans to burn the Koran tomorrow on the 9th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as a way of protesting Islam. The question is - who's right ?? The Mosque builders or the Koran burners. My two cents on it follows.

The folks building The Mosque, plus Mr. Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others have said that the building of The Mosque is constitutionally protected by "freedom of religion." For once, Mr. Obama is correct. It is protected. However, "free speech" is also protected, but there are laws against shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater and causing mass chaos when there is no fire. Plus, there are laws against threatening a public official. So, "free speech"  does not grant you the right to say whatever you want whenever you like. So, does "freedom of religion" protect building a mosque near the site of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history which will serve as a constant reminder to the victims' families of that horrible day ?? I'm not sure it does. Many Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam, partly due to the 9/11 attack. However, most Muslims say they sincerely want to assimilate into American society. If so, then why not respect the wishes, pain, and emotions of the 9/11 victims' families and build The Mosque out away from Ground Zero ?? The refusal to move it seems insensitive and tacky at the least. Some have argued that it's a slap in the face to the still mourning families.

Mr. Obama and many of the others who support the building of The Mosque are deploring the plans of a few church pastors around the country to burn the Koran on 9/11 to protest Islam. Furthermore, Obama and some U.S. military leaders have argued that the burnings will serve as an Al Qaeda recruitment tool and lead to additional attacks on the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't buy that. The ones who hate us don't need anymore motivation to attack our military. They've proven their hatred for us. That's the reason 9/11 happened in the first place !! My question is if the Muslims in New York have a right to build The Mosque due to "freedom of religion," don't these pastors have a right to burn the Koran under "freedom of speech" and "freedom of religion," also ?? Or, does Obama and others just get to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution we follow ?? It's a logical question seeing as how Obama's M.O. thus far has been to pick and choose.

All that being said, you can make the argument that both The Mosque builders and the Koran burners are constitutionally within their rights. Sometimes, though, we need to use some discretion in exercising our rights and in these two instances that has not happened. Why ?? Because neither side is accomplishing anything positive by pridefully proceeding down their chosen "rightful" path. Personally, even though they both may be constitutionally within their rights, I believe that both The Mosque builders and the Koran burners are in the wrong. Why ?? First, the folks building The Mosque know how sensitive the 9/11 victims' families are to this issue. Out of respect for them, the location should be moved. It would be the right thing to do and would show a desire for peace. Second, the reason I think the Koran burners are wrong is because one of the pastors has stated that Islam is a "false religion." If that's what they believe, then wouldn't it be a better use of time to use this opportunity to reach out to the Muslims in their community and minister to them ?? Instead of using their time to burn the Koran and antagonize Muslims, use it to do something positive, such as showing Jesus' love to them. I'm by no means a pastor, but I think that's what Jesus would do.

Lastly, I think if both sides would let go of their pride, use a little common sense, and make an attempt to get along, some common ground can be reached. It would enable everyone to live together peaceably like reasonable adults who have some sense. It that too much to ask ??
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1 comment:

The Contemplative Mama said...

I especially like your thoughts on how much better it would be for the pastor to show Jesus' love to Muslims...thanks for sharing your perspective on these issues!