Republicans who oppose the ‘ground zero mosque’ are hypocrites

It’s a strong statement and a controversial topic, but John believes the recent uproar by many Republicans over the proposed ground zero mosque is hypocrisy in action, double standards of Republican ideology. Surprisingly, Greg holds a different view. Who is right? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

First of all, let me try to explain how I distinguish between republicans and democrats.

Democrats believe in democracy, the will of the people. Simple enough… it’s a concept we can all recognise. Republicans believe in democratically electing representatives, who then have their power limited by a constitution. The difference is subtle, but very important.

Every democracy in the world has a constitution; in Britain we have no single document, but an unwritten constitution, a body of statutes, court judgments, and treaties. In some countries the constitution is mainly procedural: how often an election must be held, what happens if no party establishes a majority and so forth. The US constitution for example goes much further and established a number of principles upon which an entire country was established.

Obviously, this makes it much more difficult for politicians to ‘do what they like’ as they are bound to uphold the terms of the constitution. The merits to this system are that a well written constitution can prevent tyranny, leaders making changes which fundamentally harm a nation. A drawback is that politicians are often restricted in what they can accomplish, even with the will of the people, constitutional supremacy can suffocate legislation being passed. Understandably, many Americans are fiercely proud of the constitution and will staunchly defend any attempt to challenge its authority, these people most often identify as Republicans.

As a side note, it’s fascinating to consider that over 200 years after a group of unelected men decided how the country should be run, even the elected President is restricted by the wishes of this small group of individuals who have long since died. You could almost consider it the ultimate dictatorship. Fortunately, these men had nothing but good intentions and created a fantastic foundation upon which the United States was built. I can understand why many Republicans so passionately defend the constitution and are absolutist that its provisions should be upheld without exception, because the second you start making exceptions, the integrity is lost and those foundations can start to crumble.

This brings me nicely to my point. The ‘First Amendment’ of the US constitution guarantees every single US citizen freedom of religion, even the Muslims.

America has for over two centuries prided itself upon this. If you want to build something the two questions to be asked are: Do you own the land, and do you possess the required permits? As soon as you also ask ‘what is your religion’ this most basic of constitutional rights is violated, and it is here I justify my claim that Republicans who oppose the ‘ground zero mosque’ are hypocrites. If you make the claim that ‘the will of the people’ is that it shouldn’t be built, then even if this is the case, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

In America, people are allowed to own guns. A number of gun users abuse this right terribly and many innocent lives are taken each year. Gun ownership, much like religious freedom is a constitutional right, some gun owners do evil things, and after each tragic massacre there are often calls for guns to be banned met by a fierce response that the majority of responsible gun owners should not lose their constitutional rights because of the actions of a small number. I feel the analogy I am making here is quite evident.

I should point out that in the US, scare mongering by the conservative media has many Americans convinced that the proposed building is a mosque being built directly on the site of ground zero by Muslims who hate America, were delighted by 9/11 and plan to train new terrorists. The reality is a Muslim community centre, featuring such fearsome amenities as basketball courts, swimming pools and an art school. Please America, get this notion out of your head that because of a few bad apples ALL Muslims are out to get you: These are your fellow American citizens, they are good people who lost loved ones and felt the same horror after 9/11 as you did, who want to provide wonderful facilities for their communities as you do, who have brave members of their community serving the US military as you do, and have as much right to practice their religion as you do. Don’t violate their constitutional right to satisfy your own ignorance.

On a personal note, I do not support the building of any religious based facilities. Religion has an unprecedented ability divide communities and create an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Only when we identify each other as human beings than by labels such as Muslim, Christian or Jew will we live together in peace.

The Constitution is a uniquely supreme document in the history of world governments. Its brilliance and timelessness is a subject all to itself. (An issue I will address in a separate posting) And yes, I am a staunch supporter of the United States Constitution. I am a Conservative and have always voted for candidates under the Republican moniker primarily because the Democrat alternative is always farther away in their understanding of how our country was designed to function.

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution were issues that were discussed during its formation but that were not included in the primary document. They were deemed so important that they were passed under the heading of the ‘Bill of Rights’. They are designed to delineate, in very specific terms, what the FEDERAL government CANNOT do to you. They close with the 10th Amendment which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

The very first amendment was designed to avoid the religious persecution the founders had fled and fought against when they declared Independence from the King of England. It was also designed to protect citizens against the political oppression that results from speaking out and assembling against the government.

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.

It is critical to understand that it is the FEDERAL government that cannot establish a NATIONAL religion. And it is the FEDERAL government that cannot prohibit the free exercise of people wishing to worship in any way they choose. The states were reserved the power to do so and many had state recognized religions at the time of the founding of the country.

Our COUNTRY does not persecute people for their religious beliefs or practices. We are, and have largely been, very tolerant of religious beliefs that are different from our founding principles. We allow people to worship and we allow people to not believe. To that end, we now have hundreds to thousands of Islamic mosques throughout the country. These houses of Islamic worship exist under predominantly peaceful circumstances. Stories of vandalism or destruction are no more prevalent toward Islamic mosques than they are with any other religious entity.

With respect to the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’, if they are able to build it, those of us who think it’s a bad idea will have to peacefully accept it. The Constitution however, only applies insofar as the FEDERAL government cannot stop them from practicing their religion. There is nothing in the Constitution that specifies someone’s right to build, where, and as they see fit. We restrict construction all the time. The Constitution also provides that those who don’t want THIS mosque in THIS location have a right to say so.

This would probably be a good time to note that prior to the destruction (by Islamic Practitioners) of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 there existed a Greek Orthodox Church near the towers. That church was also destroyed as a result of the attacks. The church owns the property, and they asked to rebuild… far, they have been denied.

The people behind this particular mosque have stated that they want to build it to ‘reach out’ to our Country and New York to show what magnanimous, peace loving people they are. Given the opposition to their intentions, wouldn’t it be a good gesture to reconsider their location and show their understanding for the sensitivities that have been created? Is this location so important that it is the only place to build such a mosque? There are currently over 100 mosques within the 5 boroughs of New York City. There is clearly no plan in place to deny religious practice but, as reasonable citizens, we would no more accept a Japanese Pagoda at the gates of Pearl Harbor than we should accept a mosque within sight of where the World Trade Center once stood. When combined with Islam’s historical practice of building mosques as symbols of triumph, and celebrating the destruction of their opponent’s places of worship, it is safe to say; we ignore the potential intent at our own peril.

There are many videos detailing the location of the proposed ‘mosque’. First of all ground zero is NOT visible as it is around a corner 2 blocks away. Second there are other buildings which many would deem far more objectionable to on grounds of taste just as close to ground zero. The real issue here is that if the proposed building was for a Christian community centre, say a YMCA, nobody would have given it a second thought. The problem is that as soon as you treat a project differently solely on the basis of religious affiliation then you are breaking that sacred freedom of religion. I don’t care about the technicalities of how it does or doesn’t sit under constitutional authority and neither should anybody else. It’s a clear violation of a basic right which any developed state should pride itself on.

I also fail to see any relevance in stating a baseless number of mosques currently in New York. Surely if demand exists it needs to be filled, unless there are quotas set on religious buildings? The Greek Orthodox Church is also utterly irrelevant, as the issue is not religion, its money.

Would it be a nice gesture to reconsider their location? Sure! Is expecting people who just want to peacefully practice their religion to go to the trouble of relocating because many ignorant people consider them sinister after an appalling flow of misinformation and vilification from the media acceptable? Probably not.

I couldn’t help but feel an enormous sense of irony at your comment on Islam’s historical practice of using religious buildings as a symbol of triumph while considering just how many churches in the US now stand on sacred sites where for millennia Native American’s used to worship. You almost seem to be suggesting that Islam is unique in building new places of worship after a successful conquest? I’d suggest a look at the history books.

Ultimately, what concerns me is attitude towards Muslims not just in America, but throughout the West. I went to school in an area with a large Islamic community, nearly a quarter of my classmates were Muslim so perhaps I have a different perspective. These were friendly, hard-working and peaceful people who were as horrified and powerless as the rest of us following the atrocities committed by a tiny minority of their faith. My fear is a culture where people consider these fellow citizens fair game to be treated with suspicion and contempt with the appalling scale of atrocities outside of their control used as justification. Pastor Terry Jones decided to show us how peaceful Christianity is with his moronic plot to burn the Qur’an. Would I oppose the building of a church in my community because Christians have no tolerance for other religions and have a history of building Churches as symbols of triumph? I just might.

1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by?
A Muslim male between the ages of 17 and 50

1972 at the Munich Olympics, Israeli athletes were kidnapped and massacred by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1979 the US embassy in Iran was taken over by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

During the 1980’s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1983 the US Embassy in Beirut was blown up by?
1983 the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by?
1983 the US Embassy in Kuwait was blown up by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1984 the US Embassy in Beirut was blown up again by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by?
1985 a restaurant frequented by US Soldiers was blown up in Madrid, Spain by?
1985 the US Air Force Base at Rheine-Main, Germany was bombed by?
1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, Greece and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1986 TWA Flight 840 was bombed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1988 Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1993 two CIA agents are shot & killed as they enter CIA headquarters in Langley, VA by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

In 1995 a US military complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is car bombed. 7 service personnel were killed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1996 a US military complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia was truck bombed destroying Khobar Towers, a US Air Force barracks, killing 19 and injuring over 500. The complex was bombed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1998 the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2000 the USS Cole was bombed while refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen. 17 US Sailors were killed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

On 9/11/01 four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers.
Thousands of people were killed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2001 Richard Reid attempted to blow up an airplane by igniting explosives in his shoe. Richard Reid represents?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2009 Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at Ft. Hood in Texas, killing 13 unarmed US military personnel. Nidal Hasan represents?
2009 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day by igniting explosives in his underwear. Abdulmutallab represents?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

Muslims have used mosques in Iraq for the storage of weapons and for the basing of military operations. They have numerous Imams, the actual leaders of their mosques, espouse attacks of terrorism.

We are not at war with a country or a military. Currently, we are at war with a religious ideology – Islam. We are attacked in the name of Islam, and we must defend ourselves against those who operate under the name of Islam.

We have a right to be cautious and a responsibility to be vigilant.

You response has sadly helped back up my fears that there is an underlying feeling that it’s acceptable to label an entire group of people as guilty until proven innocent because of the actions of a small number of extremists.

“Currently, we are at war with a religious ideology – Islam. We are attacked in the name of Islam, and we must defend ourselves against those who operate under the name of Islam.”

This wording in particular concerns me. The ideology we are at war with is religious extremism. You do not need to ‘defend yourselves’ (which seems to be code for ‘discriminate’) against Muslims, the battle is with the extremists. There is a huge distinction and it is not acceptable to blend the two.

Your list demonstrates its credibility with its first suggestion: Robert Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, a Christian.

Lists such as these do not support an argument, they serve to create fear and result in the discrimination of innocent people. Anybody can create lists to make a one-sided argument.

1968 Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed by?
A Christian male.
1968 Martin Luther King was shot and killed by?
A Christian male.
1981 John Lennon was shot and killed by?
A Christian male.
1996 at the Atlanta Olympics and 3 other bombings up to 1998. 3 killed and 117 injured by?
A Christian male.
2001 US Anthrax attacks kill 5 and infect 17 others by?
A Christian male, who interestingly is from Lebanon, Ohio where we first met.
2009 Washington D.C. Holocaust Memorial shooting and security guard killed by?
A Christian male

I’m from Britain and since 1970 over 3,000 people have been killed as a result of sectarian troubles between Catholics and Protestants.
Is the appropriate response to protest the building of churches in London, a place where innocent people were killed in terrorist attacks by Christian extremists? Of course not.

I’ve said it before and I’ll make my point one last time. The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people, it is inexcusable to use the appalling actions of a minority of extremists to discriminate against those who want to peacefully practice their religion. As soon as you claim exceptional circumstances make it acceptable to treat one religion differently to another you are jeopardising the integrity of the values upon which your nation was founded.

I’ll have to give you Bobby Kennedy and make sure I double check my sources in the future.

While individuals from all backgrounds may perpetrate violent actions, it’s the actions of the larger group that are indicative of that groups integrity.

Where is the outrage in the Muslim community about the attacks made in their name?
Where are the consequences for those who perpetrate violent acts?

The vast majority of Muslims may be peaceful, or they may just be quiet. Personally, I would be much more confident about their intentions if we saw far more condemnation and action about those who kill in the name of Islam. We are not fighting a war of religion but they most certainly are.

Please give us your thoughts in the comments below.

John Hardy

John Hardy

Web Developer living in Bristol, UK.
I enjoy politics and technology and have been a fan of Bitcoin since 2011.
John Hardy
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John Hardy

Web Developer living in Bristol, UK. I enjoy politics and technology and have been a fan of Bitcoin since 2011.