How should Americans respond to the construction of an Islamic center and mosque in Downtown Manhattan? We can choose to celebrate the freedoms afforded to us in the Constitution and welcome our fellow Americans to worship and to gather in their native land. Or we can emulate regimes that we abhor and preach selective exclusion and intolerance.
The terrorists who attacked on our shores on 9/11 did so because they detest our way of life. And the ramifications of that tragic day are changing the way we live for the worse. Our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms are being chipped away by the so-called PATRIOT act, over-the-top airport screenings, and a deficit-inducing overblown Homeland Security bureaucracy. Now some, especially among the Tea Party sympathizers, want us to hand the terrorists another victory by curtailing American’s Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Assembly. Where do we draw the line?
Already, there are those so-called “mainstream” politicians like Lindsay Graham who want to tinker with the Constitution to deny American birthright. And of course there is the ever present scourge of homophobes, femophobes, anti-Semites, and white supremacists who certainly have the right to express their sick views, but are now gaining support among the Tea Party faithful.
I often disagree with New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. But on the issue of the mosque, he is absolutely correct. Hizzonner points out that the group building its center is not only within its rights, but the facility will be a lasting monument to the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” Anyone who contends that this building will be an affront to those who perished in the attacks is wrong – it will be a monument to their affirmation of what America is all about.