The national brouhaha over the Ground Zero mosque is a right wing Tea Party teapot tempest.
Newt Gingrich, Liz Cheney, and no less eminent a scholar than Sarah Palin warn that the mosque is an affront to America, or that its construction is a sign that the Muslim terrorists are winning, or America is being Islamified.
I don’t think they have New York’s or America’s interests at heart. Rather I think they do this in order to advance their political agendas.
It cannot be any more clear that this is precisely what they are in fact doing, when we examine some key facts about the “mosque”. Hendrik Hertzberg explained in The New Yorker that the “mosque”:
…won’t be at Ground Zero. It’ll be on Park Place, two blocks north of the World Trade Center site (from which it will not be visible), in a neighborhood ajumble with restaurants, shops (electronics, porn, you name it), churches, office cubes, and the rest of the New York mishmash. Park51, as it is to be called, will have a large Islamic “prayer room,” which presumably qualifies as a mosque. But the rest of the building will be devoted to classrooms, an auditorium, galleries, a restaurant, a memorial to the victims of September 11, 2001, and a swimming pool and gym. Its sponsors envision something like the 92nd Street Y—a Y.M.I.A., you might say, open to all…
If this building is really only a “Y.M.I.A.” as Hertzberg describes it, then what is the concern, really? Do Gingrich, Cheney and Palin envision minarets rising across the New York City skyline? Perhaps.
But it is also clear that they view our current Administration as “Secular Socialist” and that God-fearing Christians need to wage a war of their own to take back America. Take back America. Yep. These folks really don’t want to share this great land with us.
The absurdity of the Tea Party teapot tempest is further exposed by Morgan Clendaniel at the GOOD Blog, who created a map showing that there are a large number of mosques already near the WTC site, and by a YouTube video where someone walks the streets between the new World Trade Center-1 tower and the proposed mosque, showing graphically that they are not even adjacent to one another.
The WTC site is hallowed ground. But is a building two blocks away and not in view of the WTC site also hallowed ground? At some point we need to draw a line, both figuratively and literally.
Sadly, it shows the power of the 24 hour news cycle and the echo chamber of Crank T.V.’s (Fox News) Unthought that the president felt it necessary to include in his remarks Friday, mention of the teapot tempest surrounding the mosque in lower Manhattan. He spoke of religious tolerance, and the plurality of religion in our country, and of the tensions that inevitably arise, and how America has always resolved them so that liberty is not only preserved, but advanced. He compared this tempest to earlier ones about synagogues or Catholic churches, and noted that we as a nation have moved beyond those controversies, and that one day this would be true for mosques as well.
Let cooler heads prevail.