I am a Christian. I am a Libertarian. These two statements sometimes mix, and sometimes they combat against each other. Politics and religion are hard to mix, as we see every day, yet also they sometimes must go hand in hand. I would like to think that Jesus would be a Libertarian, albeit an outspoken one that would remind people not following the Law of God when they err. In any case, I cannot imagine who will be more shocked by my view on the "Ground Zero Mosque", my conservative friends and family, or my liberal ones.
I am having trouble understanding the controversy and the hate rhetoric being spewed (mostly on the side of those against the building of this community center) about this issue. As far as I can remember from my school teachings, which happened well before Under God was taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance, our first amendment in this country explains that we have the right to worship freely, speak freely, and live freely.
Do I think it's in the best interest of the practicing Muslims involved in the fight to build this community center two blocks from other people that happened to practice the same religion committed a horrible act of treason against our country? Maybe...it depends on their interests. If they are willing to accept that this may be a sore spot in the eyes of a lot of Americans for a while, and if their hope is that eventually (not immediately, but somewhere down the road as trust is built) this building could be a beacon of American freedom, acceptance, and unity, then I don't think it's that far reaching to assume that this is a possibility. I know that I, for one, do not want to be held accountable for what Jim Baker, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Roberson have ever said, and I cannot judge all people of Islamic faith by what a small, fanatical group of Muslims have done.
When it comes to other issues in the Muslim-American-Religion wars, I have the same viewpoint as I try to take in most of my political views: take care of yourself, and allow others the same freedom. Do I think it's fair to reschedule football practice for a month at a high school in Michigan because most of the team is Muslim and celebrating Ramadan? Well, if everyone on the team and their parents (because for high schoolers, parents are still supposed to be the household decision-makers) feels that it is an acceptable option, of course. A team is a team.
If we are going to be a country that is open and accepting to people of all race, religion, geographic background, without discrimination, then we can't pick and choose what we feel is acceptable to be tolerant of. If the Muslims who want to build the community center are tied to Al-Qaeda and beat their women into submission and promote the rape of children, then of course they don't have the right to build a mosque anywhere because they are breaking the law. If they are like the vast majority of American Muslims, who believe it or not may have left their home country because of the persecution they felt at not practicing certain orthodox parts of Islam, then extend an olive branch and let them build their mosque, which is far more likely to bring good service to the community than what the far-right are imagining.
Freedom of religion means freedom of religion. Period. I would be furious if the government told me I couldn't build a Baptist church on a piece of land I owned. The least I can do is extend the same courtesy to others.
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