Stephen Prothero is a professor of Religion, author, and lecturer. He also writes the CNN Belief Blog. In July, 2010, he wrote an op-ed for CNN in which he supported the efforts to build a mosque near Ground Zero, the hallowed ground of a great number of 911 victims, including the many 1st responders who died there.
CNN also published my feedback. Now that I have created AWildDuck, the retort is as relevant today as it was last year.
I get it… Stephen Prothero argues that blocking a Mosque at ground zero is a win for terrorists, because they will have succeeded at changing our pluralistic ways of tolerance and coexistence. But the argument doesn’t cut it, Stephen! Islam in this century stands for intolerance and in our front yard is inextricably linked with violence and hate. Imams here in the US call for the overthrow of America and death to Americans.
The religion routinely calls any outsider an infidel (and you know what that brings, don’t you?). It is just too much to ask that we look at these individuals as a fringe minority within a peaceful religion. The nuts are driving the car and we needn’t choose to give them the auto loan and the dealership.
I grew up in Skokie Illinois. Our village of 70,000 had a large number of concentration camp survivors from Nazi Germany. Neighbors and store owners had numbers burned into their forearms at Auschwitz, Sobibor, Matthausen and Treblinka. While I supported the ACLU and admired their stance on free speech, they lost my respect and support when they backed the march of Nazis through the streets of Skokie. The ACLU claimed that political, legal and financial support was offered to these nuts in the name of free speech and fair representation. Perhaps they have the right — I don’t know. But certainly, the ACLU could find other worthy causes for their time and money. The decision to represent these screwballs was about as looney as the intent to allow a mosque to be erected at Ground Zero. For hundreds of millions of individuals (perhaps more than a billion around the world), that juxtaposition represents a win for radicals, cowards, and nut cases. To claim that it represents a religion of peace and tolerance is a PC delusion. At the very least, it is shockingly insensitive and inappropriate.
Is there even a contest of opinions here? I realize that true freedom is not subject to the whim of public opinion, but let’s just vet this one question: How many people in New York want to walk past a Mosque at Ground Zero. Seriously…How many?!