President Barack Obama recently made a statement concerning the infamous “Ground-Zero” mosque and many are in outrage over his “support” to those who wish to build it. My question is why? What’s so offensive about supporting the Constitution and, more specifically, the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment?
First off, the “Ground-zero” mosque is not at “Ground-zero.” It’s actually a couple of blocks away. What’s being built there isn’t even a mosque. What’s being built there is a community center which is 13 stories in height and of those 13 stories the top 2 are designated as a Muslim prayer space.
There are lots of people claiming this to be a very patronizing and insensitive thing to do. I don’t buy it. I have yet to see any credible evidence which suggests the community center is being built for reasons that can be considered malicious. Either way, feelings are ultimately irrelevant. You can get as upset as you want to get. It won’t change the Constitution. This public display of anger is just another attempt to deny these Muslims their rights. Those who are in opposition to the community center know they can’t stop it because the Constitution protects the right to freely exercise religion. They’re playing their little violins and sad music to try and convince the Muslims to deny themselves of their own rights as Americans. They’re trying to get the Muslim community to censor themselves.
Also, Muslim lives were lost on the morning of September the 11th. Islam is a religion with approximately a billion adherents and the atrocities of that day were caused by a minority view within Islam so I find it worth emphasizing that a vast majority of Muslims are not our enemies and it is unethical to treat them as such by holding them responsible for the crimes of others. That is not to say that Islam has done enough to denounce and stifle the extremism because in my opinion, it hasn’t.
A disgust of Islam, the taken life of a loved-one, and hurt feelings do not give anyone precedence to deny others, who had no hand in September the 11th, their rights, which is in this case, the right to freedom of religion as laid out in the First Amendment of the Constitution. We constantly hear complaints from gun advocates concerning attacks on their Second Amendment rights. These people obviously know how it feels to have their rights in danger. This is analogous to just about every other civil rights issue: slavery, suffrage of blacks and women, segregation, homosexual discrimination, and atheist discrimination. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you have the right to take away others’ rights.