Back in colonial times, a Quaker passing through the Massachusetts Bay Colony got whipped and had his ears sliced off by the good Puritan colonists for…being a Quaker.
In the name of the Inquisition, hundreds, if not thousands of non-Catholics were tortured, and burned at the stake. Their crime? Not being Catholic.
In France, Protestant Huguenots were enslaved for life on galley ships for being…Protestants.
The U.S. Constitution supposedly
put an end to intolerance
When America was founded, the founding fathers said they’d had enough of this hateful intolerance. The Bill of Rights, the very First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in its very first sentence, even before it got down to Freedom of Speech and the Press, declared this:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
It didn’t and still doesn't say, “except when a lot of people with money and the media equivalent of loud speakers say differently.”
In New York City, a group of Muslims wants to build a mosque. I have no particular brief for the Muslim religion, and I have a personal loathing for jihad and for the practice of Sharia law in the 21st Century. But I do have respect for the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
An outpouring of hatred
So I’m horrified at the huge outpouring of hatred from monied and politically devious sources who are stirring up a hornet’s nest of hatred against the Muslim group because the mosque and community center they want to build is two blocks from ground zero.
The operative word is “two” because, of course, none of the people opposing are bigots. Oh no!
“I am not against a mosque. I am against a location of a mosque. I don’t want a mosque on the grave of my son and on the grave of everybody else who was murdered that day,” said one woman while the Fox News TV cameras rolled. Fox. Of course, Fox.
How far away is far enough?
But wait a second, m’am. Your son’s grave is two blocks away. And if that's too close, how far away is far enough? Would three blocks do it? How about four? A mile? Two miles? Or should mosques be allowed on the same island? What about the same coast of the United States, m’am?
In a post to her Facebook page which mysteriously disappeared and then reappeared, Palin declared, and then undeclared, and then re-declared, “Many Americans, myself included, feel it would be an intolerable and tragic mistake to allow such a project sponsored by such an individual to go forward on such hallowed ground. This is nothing close to ‘religious intolerance,’ it’s just common decency.”
Right. Except that, as previously noted, the hallowed ground is two blocks away. (Who hallowed it, by the way? By what authority is land made holy under the First Amendment?) What Palin is doing with statements like this is stirring up religious intolerance, a just plain common indecent thing to do.
At Rupert Mudoch’s right wing New York Post, the mother of all witches, Andrea Peyser, plays fast and loose with the facts. She writes: “Plans to bring what one critic calls a 'monster mosque' to the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory building, at a cost expected to top $100 million, moved along for months
without a peep. All of a sudden, even members of the community board that stupidly green-lighted the mosque this month are tearing their hair out."
Community board had no real say
Witchy Andrea a few paragraphs later finally got around to mentioning that Community Boards in New York have no official say in such matters. So what it boils down to is that their “green light” was the equivalent of a whistling “Melancholy Baby” — a total irrelevance.
Now some upstate New York candidate for Governor who is so-far-right-it’s off-the-charts, a fellow named Carl Palladino claims he will “use the right of eminent domain” to stop the mosque. He
doesn’t spell out what that means, but if it means anything at all, it means that he’ll take a couple of hundred million worth of taxpayer money to buy up commercial property two blocks from ground zero so Muslim worshippers can’t have it.
Good luck to funding education, or highways, or law enforcement, or hospitals, or anything else a state ought to be doing with Palladino’s cut-taxes-and-spend-for-mosque-property philosophy of government.
Of course, the other looney Republican candidate for Governor, Rick The Loser Lazio, who proved what a jerk he is when he walked up to Hillary Clinton during a televised debate and aggressively shoved a pile of paper under her face, also favors repealing the First Amendment — whoops, I’m sorry, stopping the mosque.
But also note Muslim-American
The wannabe builders of this Muslim facility aren’t without blame either. They suffer from a severe case of tone deafness in standing by their proposal.
Nevertheless, last I heard, tone deafness wasn’t against the law and the U.S. Constitution still hasn’t been repealed.