Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I learned that today is the first day of Ramadan. I will be praying for my Muslim brothers and sisters as they fast through the month to come. I will pray especially for their safety and for their freedom to worship as they choose.

There are days when I cannot believe the times in which I live. I cannot believe I live in a time in which people protest mosques as unAmerican. Frankly, the very use of that word should give people pause. Luckily, Jon Stewart is on the case.

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I say God bless NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg for his great speech in support of a group wishing to establish an Islamic Center in Manhattan.

The government has no right whatsoever to deny that right – and if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another.

The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves – and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans – if we said ‘no’ to a mosque in Lower Manhattan.
I miss the Republican party. I miss the Republican party that gave a damn about the law of the land rather than the law of its own convenience. Ronald Reagan signed and stood up for the UN Convention on Torture in 1984. Even George W. Bush--W. himself--understood and was adamant that Muslims are Americans also. I am quite certain that we will look back on this period of our history with shame and astonishment and wonder how it could have happened. I wonder how it can happen even now.


Lorin said...

This whole issue infuriates me to the point where I find it difficult to read news stories about it. This one and the Dred Scott Republicans wanting to repeal the 14th Amendment. Have none of these people studied history? It offends me on so many levels.

In my years of working as an architect for churches, only one time have we had a client need to contact a lawyer to ascertain their 1st Amendment rights. Turns out, the Constitution is pretty explicit about a religious organization's right to practice their faith and congregate where they wish. And no mention that those rights only applied to Christians or Jews. Please take a note, ADL.

Lorin said...

And I just remembered this: the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, which pretty much codifies the 1st amendment rights to build a house of worship where you'd like and places a very high burden on the state to prevent you from doing so.

LKT said...

Crazy days. I can't believe this is even up for discussion.