Fake Issue of the Week
|I don't know! (Anything.)|
As Steve Benen notes, many conservatives insist that this "has nothing to do with religious freedom." In fact, a friend of mine on Facebook said exactly those words today in his status update.
But, it seems like that's a pretty implausible line of 'thinking' and Benen nails exactly why:
If Feisal Abdul Rauf wanted to build a coffee shop at Park51 in lower Manhattan, two blocks from Ground Zero, would anyone even think to care? Would it be the subject of an intense national debate? Would conspicuously unintelligent demagogues refer to it as the "9/11 coffee shop" and/or the "Ground Zero coffee shop"? Would there be an expectation that mainstream Muslim Americans "refudiate" the coffee shop out of sensitivity to the victims of 9/11?
These need not be rhetorical questions, and this isn't intended as some kind of joke.
What if Rauf wanted an up-scale clothing store? Or a Barnes & Noble? Or a place for consumer electronics? Or a nightclub? Would it be the "9/11 nightclub" and/or the "Ground Zero nightclub"?
For those who want to maintain the pretense that this isn't about religious liberty or discriminating against a minority faith, it's time for at least a shred of intellectual honesty. If the Cordoba House were to include a restaurant, a performing arts center, and a swimming pool -- without a place for worship -- would conservatives be so hysterical?
If the answer is "yes," they'd be every bit as incensed, then it's time to acknowledge that those who are whining incessantly about the community center would have to be just as outraged by the notion of Feisal Abdul Rauf's coffee shop. These are folks who, by all appearances, wouldn't want a Muslim American neighbor building anything in lower Manhattan, which is crazy, illegal, and at odds with how we do things in the United States.
If the answer is "no," they wouldn't be every bit as hysterical, and the inclusion of a place for prayer is what serves as a deal-breaker, then it's time to acknowledge that this has everything to do with religious liberty, and a desire to deny First Amendment protections to faith groups the right holds in contempt.
Either way, there's no excuse for such ugly nonsense.
If you have been nodding your head to this nonsense issue ... it might be time to ask yourself why.