“Intellectually the president may be right” on the freedom-of-religion issue regarding the establishment of a Muslim complex near the former site of the World Trade Center (which would replace the building on Park Place in Manhattan shown above), one Repugnican Tea Party strategist concedes, but adds: “But this is an emotional issue … and it’s going to be a big, big issue for Democrats across this country” for the upcoming mid-term elections. Because emotion always should trump the rights guaranteed to all by the U.S. Constitution.
President Barack Obama actually seems to have resisted, for once, the urge to sell out those of us of the “professional left.” On Friday he stated, correctly, that to block the opening of the planned Muslim center near the former World Trade Center would be a violation of the freedom of religion, guaranteed to all by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.
This is the freedom that the “Christo”fascists want for themselves, like free speech — but, also like it is with free speech, they want freedom of religion only for themselves.
As I have noted before, I believe that Islam, Judaism and Christianity — at least as they are practiced by the bloodthirsty zealots who claim to follow these patriarchal, backasswards religions — all are bullshit religions, but if we’re going to let the members of one bullshit, psychopathic religion establish a place of worship, fairness (as well as the freedom of religion) dictates that we allow all of them to do so.
But Repugnican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, that bastion of equal human and civil rights, has declared that the establishment of the Muslim center near the former WTC site is not an issue of freedom of religion. Reuters reports:
“This is not about freedom of religion because we all respect the right of anyone to worship according to the dictates of their conscience … but I do think it’s unwise to build a mosque at the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as the result of a terrorist attack,” Texas Republican John Cornyn said on the “Fox News Sunday” program.*
Cornyn’s “logic” apparently is that “freedom of religion” is “the right of anyone to worship according to the dictates of their conscience” — but that the majority religion (in this case, what passes for Christianity) may dictate to a minority religion (in this case, Islam) where it may and may not establish centers of worship.
It seems to me that the establishment of places of worship is central to freedom of religion, but Cornyn tries to weasel out of this somehow.
Cornyn, because he cannot win on the matter of the Muslims’ constitutional right to establish a place of worship, then appeals to the tyranny of the majority, to the mob mentality: “To me it demonstrates that Washington, the White House, the administration, the president himself seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America,” Cornyn said.
So Cornyn’s “argument” becomes that if the majority of Americans — the majority of whom call themselves “Christians” — don’t want Muslims to establish a place of worship at a certain site, then the Muslims should not be allowed to do so.**
The Muslims’ constitutional rights, therefore, in effect, are to be put up for a vote.
Just like my equal human and civil rights — my constitutional rights — were put up for a vote when the Mormon-cult-backed anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition H8 narrowly passed here in California in November 2008 (with 52 percent of the vote).
A federal judge earlier this month ruled that Prop H8 violates the rights guaranteed to California’s citizens by the U.S. Constitution — and he ruled that same-sex marriages must be allowed again in the state of California as of 5 p.m. this Wednesday.
The right wing’s insane response to this is to claim that the haters who voted for Prop H8 are the victims.
The Sacramento Bee actually published a guest editorial on the matter that actually began:
The true victims of prejudice in the decision of federal Judge Vaughn Walker to overturn Proposition 8 are the 7 million Californians who voted for the measure.
So I suppose that the slave owners were the true victims when the slaves were freed. Or, if that’s too far out there for you, we at least can argue that the “rights” of those who believed that mixed-race marriage is wrong were absolutely trampled upon by the tyrannical U.S. Supreme Court when the court ruled in 1967 that no state may outlaw mixed-race marriage.
The “argument” of the right wing here very apparently is that to be a hateful bigot who wishes to curtail the equal human and civil rights of others itself is an inviolable constitutional right.
Uh, I don’t see that right enumerated anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.
As insane as the members of the right wing want to be, calling themselves the victims when they are not allowed to victimize others, those of us Americans who are sane and who truly believe in freedom and liberty and in the U.S. Constitution cannot let stand this new wave of right-wing attacks against the constitutional rights of our fellows — be they brown-skinned immigrants (or brown-skinned citizens mistaken for immigrants), Muslims, or non-heterosexuals. Or even, for fuck’s sake, babies.
The checkered-at-best history of the United States of America demonstrates that during economic downturns, the majority of (or at least a huge chunk of) frustrated (mostly white) Americans, instead of going after the plutocrats and the corporatocrats who are the actual cause of their financial pain and suffering, go after relatively weak minority groups that have little to nothing to do with the nation’s economic downturn — but who, for the most part, can’t fight back.
This dysfunctional, insane dynamic will continue until enough of us real Americans stand up and stop it.
It’s time to stand up.
First they come for the non-heterosexuals who wish to marry, then for the brown-skinned immigrants who want to make a better life for themselves, then for the Muslims who want to establish a place of worship.
Then, they come for you.
*I also believe that it is unwise for the Muslim center to be established, but for a very different reason than do Cornyn, Sarah Palin-Quayle and their ilk. As I noted last month:
I agree with Palin-Quayle that the Muslim complex should not be opened, but for entirely different reasons.
Palin-Quayle wants to milk the whole 9/11 thing and appeal to her Muslim-hating, “Christo”fascist base, but I think that the Muslim complex is a bad idea because the safety of everyone who ever enters the building would be in jeopardy at all times.
I mean, think about it: a Muslim complex opens just two blocks away from where the WTC once stood, and all of the Cooters and Skeeters and Zekes of the backasswards parts of the nation are going to get ideas in their tea-baggin’ heads about gettin’ revenge on them Mooslems for 9/11. If the Muslim complex opens, I envision shootings and/or bombings and/or other violent attacks upon it.
However, as bad of an idea as I believe the Muslim center is (for safety reasons), I never would posit that the center should not be allowed to open merely because its existence would — gasp! — offend the tyrannical majority.
You believe in freedom or you don’t. I believe in freedom. The wingnuts do not — or rather, they want freedom only for themselves.
**Indeed, apparently a majority of Americans, blinded by their identification with their brand of “Christianity” and their ignorance of constitutional rights, oppose the establishment of the Muslim center. Notes Reuters:
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll showed a majority of Americans across the political spectrum opposed the project being built near the site of the attacks.
The survey, released on Wednesday, showed nearly 70 percent of Americans opposed it, including 54 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of independents.
Of course, we don’t know how many of those Democrats oppose the establishment of the Muslim center also for safety reasons, but it’s a pretty sure bet that the majority of the Repugnicans and the “independents” (I use the quotation marks because the majority of the “independents” and “swing voters” always lean to the right) are just Muslim-haters.