Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Against the NYC Mosque? You are not an American.

If you are against the NYC Mosque

You may be a citizen
But you are not an American.

The Right Wing of this country has made an absolute art of claiming what their version of American is. They have used it to bully and bludgeon their way for decades. It is time to use their own words against them.


What is an American?

If you are born here or take the oath you are a citizen.

We need to define what an American is. Since there are plenty of people running around accusing people of not being an American (obviously, myself included) we need a minimum fixed definition.

Here's mine:

American - one who believes in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as a way of managing our society.

Since the Bill of Rights' First Amendment is about Freedom of Religion I argue that is more important than say the repeal of Prohibition. I argue that believing in and defending the First Amendment is the baseline defining characteristic of being an American. (Although, I defend beer over most wines.)

If you oppose the NYC Mosque (or ANY house of worship), you are opposing the Freedom to Religion.

Therefore, you cannot be an American.

(First semester logic is at work here.)


Counters to the Mosque:

"You are insensitive to those who lost family members on 9/11."

Then Insensitivity to those people must also include:

· The failure to rebuild the World Trade Center - bigger - stronger - more powerful - than the one knocked down on 9/11. We caved in.

· Not going after the people responsible for this debacle. These criminals are still on the loose.

· Going to war with the wrong country

How do rank values on the roster of "insensitivity" when compared to building a house of worship well out of sight of Ground Zero?

"It is too soon"

· If not now then when? If Martin Luther King listened to those folks, we'd still have apartheid in this country.

"It is too close"

· If not there then where? New Jersey? (Then they'd need spiritual healing for sure). The East River? (Yeah, we get you on this.)


Thinking about insensitivities, how about we look at how "sensitive" the rest of "us" are to Muslim America.

In regular discourse these folks are held in the same disdain that Italians were held a century ago. Italians must all be linked to the mob somehow. During WW II the Italians, and Germans, and those Japanese fortunate enough to serve our country had to perform over and above what was demanded of others because their heritage put them into question.

Look at the sensitivities for a moment. We have no problem profiling "them" in airports or public places just because they don't look like "us" or worship like "us".

You can accuse me of being insensitive to those who lost people on 911, but put into context of how insensitive the rest of society is to Muslim America.

Every time we take a little shot or jab at "them", I start to think about something from my own faith, Catholicism.

Matthew 5:11

'Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account'.

(If you hate these people so much, why are you giving them so many blessings?)
I am sure there are passages of the Koran that speak to the same thing.

You can accuse me of being insensitive, but how sensitive are we to these people. Muslims in New York did nothing to deserve this. NOTHING - NADA.

These people continue to lose respect and dignity at the hands of those who lost loved ones.

Please, tell me who is really insensitive?


Another thing that gets lost here.

We are talking about NYC. There is a higher concentration of African Americans in our cities. Many have converted to Islam. Their families have been here at least 100 years before my families showed up from Italy and Ireland at the end of the 19th Century.

I could make the argument they are more American than I am by that virtue alone. But we don't and shouldn't work that way. Once you are an American - you are an American.

You get the rights and should perform the responsibilities that go along with that.

So if those served by this mosque are Americans with bloodlines that run thru cotton fields 250 years ago, or thru a boat ride from Pakistan, or a jet from Egypt, or even a recent convert to this faith - it doesn't make a difference.

How sensitive is it of us to lord rights over our fellow citizens to give them the "OK" as to where and when they can worship?

If we can lord over this part of our population, are they really rights?

You may be a citizen -

But you are not an American.

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