People hear “Ground Zero Mosque” and they think Mecca in the back yard and a loud call to prayer and they take umbrage.
Remind me. Why did we go into Iraq, again? To free the world (and especially Iraq’s citizens) of the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. Well, guess who lives in Iraq? Muslims.
I hate to reveal this to anybody who didn’t know this, but when they say Iraq is 65 percent Shia and 32 percent Suni, you do know that Shia and Suni are both forms of the Muslim religion, right?
We sacrificed 4,415 of our military personnel in Iraq to save Muslims. Thousands are still there tonight to protect Muslims. But we don’t want Muslims to open a combination culinary school and prayer space in Manhattan?
From the beginning of this nation we have fought prejudice and religious intolerance and our greatest enemy: stupidity, exploited by rapacious politicians. It’s just 50 years now since Americans publicly and urgently warned their countrymen not to support a presidential candidate because he was a Roman Catholic. He would bow to the will not of the American people, but the Pope. He would be a “Papist.” He would be the agent of a foreign state.
His name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Despite the nobility of our founding and the indefatigable efforts of all our generations, there have always been those who would happily sacrifice our freedoms, our principles, to ward off the latest unprecedented threat, the latest unbeatable outsiders. Once again, at 45 Park Place, we are being told to sell our birth-right, to feed the maw of xenophobia and vengeance and mob rule.
The moment this monstrous betrayal of our America gained the slightest traction, the next goal was unveiled. “No more building permits for any mosques in this country,” brayed a man from the euphemistically-named “American Families Association.” Of course, he said, maybe the permits could be granted if the congregation quote, “was willing to publicly renounce the Koran.”
In America, when somebody comes for your neighbor, or his Bible, or his Torah, or his Atheists’ Manifesto, or his Koran, you and I do what our fathers did, and our grandmothers did, and our founders did. You and I speak up and fight for our Constitution which proclaims “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The freedom of religion is an inalienable right.
The First Amendment provides for the freedom of religion for all Americans.
The Free Exercise Clause provides that government will neither control nor prohibit the free exercise of one’s religion.
The government will remain neutral.
So, go ahead and pray — or don’t. Go to church — or sleep in.
It is a sovereign right in America to believe what we want to believe, to worship or not worship whom we want.