Bloomberg on Religious Freedom

On October 27, 1838 Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs said that Mormons were not welcome in his state. It was not the first nor last rejection Mormons would experience from their neighbors and government.

We, of all people, should appreciate the beauty and wisdom of another government executive’s words yesterday, offered on behalf of a religious minority group in his jurisdiction who is despised by many.

“In the mid-1650s, the small Jewish community living in lower Manhattan petitioned Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant for the right to build a synagogue, and they were turned down. In 1657, when Stuyvesant also prohibited Quakers from holding meetings, a group of non-Quakers in Queens signed the Flushing Remonstrance, a petition in defense of the right of Quakers and others to freely practice their religion. It was perhaps the first formal political petition for religious freedom in the American colonies, and the organizer was thrown in jail and then banished from New Amsterdam.

The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.

On September 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked ‘What God do you pray to?’ ‘What beliefs do you hold?’

–NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, defending the right of New York City Muslims to build a mosque in the City.

Comments

  1. Amen and amen. Thank you for posting this.

  2. As a New Yorker, I’m glad to have Mayor Bloomberg as mayor right now.

  3. The church’s efforts in Employment Division v. Smith (and the church’s efforts following that unfortunate decision) show that the church also supports broad religious freedoms (even when the Supreme Court does not).

    It’s unfortunate that some members of the church don’t understand that…

  4. I don’t know all the details of the petition to build a mosque in Manhattan. I have heard that it is supposedly going to be built right next to Ground Zero, but after brief Googling, I have found that this is not the case, and that it will actually be a few blocks away from Ground Zero.

    I would oppose building any kind of specific religious edifice on Ground Zero, only because I think that space needs to be used for other purposes. But just building a mosque in Lower Manhattan? I am just surprised that there isn’t one there already.

  5. Thanks for putting this up Cynthia. As Latter-day Saints, and as human beings, this is important.

  6. Thanks, Cynthia.

  7. Alex,

    There’s actually already a mosque in lower Manhattan.

  8. Thanks for sharing.

    I think allowing a mosque in that area shows the best of the American ideal of freedom as opposed to the ideals of Islamic extremists that caused so much pain and death on that day. I can understand why it’s not an easy decision and why people opposed the mosque. But I’m glad it was approved and hope it helps to heal wounds over time.

  9. FWIW,

    Chris Good argues that conservatives who believe in private property ought to really like Michael Bloomberg’s argument. He quotes Bloomberg:

    “The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

    “Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.

    “This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.”

  10. Thanks, Cynthia.

  11. The people pushing for “refudiating” the mosque are craven politicians of the most base kind. Why any Mormon would support those people is a mystery to me, especially given our history.

  12. Alex, here’s an article giving more info about where the cultural center will be built in relation to the world trade center site:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/08/street-level-view-of-ground-zero-mosque.html

    Incidentally, it’s not far from numerous Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants where I eat all the time and used to patronize well before 9/11/2001.

  13. Why would New Yorkers not OK a Mosque to be built? Do they still blame Muslims for 911?

  14. #9–Yes, in the post I wanted to focus on the religious freedom angle, since this is a religious blog, not a political one. But as a political strategy matter, I thought it was very smart of him to bring up the private property angle as well. Very good audience targeting there.

    I thought the speech was beautiful and idealisitic in the best sense of that word, not any kind of cynical political gamesmanship. That being said, some people who opposed the mosque should be feeling pretty humiliated right now, because this speech showed just how many principles of conservatism they were contradicting.

  15. Solicitor says:

    The issue is deeper than government approval to building plans.

    The issue includes whether the building of this mosque is insensitive and in poor taste, and what the motives are of those who are paying for it.

    As to those issues, this proposed mosque is _intensely_ insensitive. There are legitimate questions regarding the funding of this enterprise, and its potential ties to terrorist groups.

    And I, for one, take the symbolism of the groups name — Cordoba, as in the city which was the capital of Islamist-dominated Spain prior to the reconquista — seriously.

    It may or may not be proper for a government entity to deny this group the right to build this structure; it is a different thing entirely for private citizens to be opposed to it, and to express that opposition.

  16. #14–Bob, that’s just it–New Yorkers by huge margins had no problem with it. Bloomberg cited: “The local community board in Lower Manhattan voted overwhelming to support the proposal….”

  17. Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for getting this one right. And shame on all the politicians (Rick Lazio, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, etc.) and the Anti-Defamation League who are pandering to the worst in the American character.

    Next thing you know, politicians will start blaming Mexican laborers for everything else that’s wrong with American–pollution, unemployment, crime, high medical and hospital costs.

    If whoring is the world’s oldest profession, then surely pandering must be the second oldest.

  18. Well, Solicitor, based on your nom de plume, I assume that you are a lawyer and therefore being paid by someone to express these opinions. Until you provide me with w2s that prove otherwise, I think it is a fair assumption to say that you represent the KKK.

  19. Insensitive, inschmensitive! How far from the WTC site do we have to go before building a mosque is not “insensitive.”

    And congratulations on your knowledge of 500-year-old Iberian history. If we’re still carrying around grudges from what the Moors did to the Spaniards, or vice versa, we may as well move to the Balkans.

  20. That would be a 1099, John C.

  21. We should get I-9s, to make sure that he is a legal US citizen before plying his lawyerly trade.

  22. Solicitor says:

    John,

    That’s a very adult retort to make. It would perhaps be a fair question to ask if I, in response to a direct question, hemmed-and-hawed about whether I thought the KKK was a terrorist organization, as the imam of this mosque did when asked about the terrorist group Hamas.

    I seem to think that the loss of a close family member on 9/11 might somehow entitle me to an opinion on this matter. Sorry I don’t meet your approval, but where I come from that’s what we call “a you problem”.

    As it stands, playing the bigot card is something I thought was beneath even the worst relativism of the bloggernacle.

    What you, and the other naivete falling all over themselves in self-congratulation over this mosque, fail to appreciate is that this is effectively a Saudi embassy in lower Manhattan, built under the cover of the Establishment Clause. Maybe opponents of the mosque should have offered to hold seminars opposing same-sex marriage in the “cultural center” …. THAT would have killed the project.

    Mark my words: This mosque is a viper let into the bosom of New York.

  23. Insensitive, inschmensitive! How far from the WTC site do we have to go before building a mosque is not “insensitive.”

    Exactly right. The idea that a mosque is insensitive no matter how close is another error.

    Also, Solicitor, insensitive to whom? The neighbors had no problem with it.

  24. Solicitor says:

    John,

    Let’s see how far your “tolerance” goes.

    Should some kind of “community center”, memorial, or other project built by the kind of white supremacist/domestic terrorist group that motivated Timothy McVey be built in proximity to the site of the Oklahoma City Bombing (or anywhere, for that matter)? If not, why not — being consistent with your support for this New York project?

  25. …fail to appreciate is that this is effectively a Saudi embassy in lower Manhattan,

    Oh noes, what’s next? A whole row of embassies in NYC of a whole bunch of different nations?! Oh, wait…

  26. 25 – Well, thats gotta be the dumbest . . .

    Islam didn’t attack the WTC, extremists did.
    McVeigh was a military/militia extremist. If you wanted to draw a true parallel you could ask if one would be offended if the US Army or Special Forces (under which he once served) memorial were built blocks away from the Oklahoma City building. And no, I don’t think anyone would be offended.

    Parallel Fail.

  27. Or, since he was a second amendment activist, maybe we could ask if anyone would be offended if a copy of the Bill of Rights happened to be displayed at a nearby library. Oh, the horror!

  28. Actually, their embassies are in Washington. Here in NYC we have consulates, which also double, generally, as missions to the U.N.

    There are hundreds of mosques already in New York. I haven’t seen any vipers in any bosoms lately–but then, my wife keeps telling me not to spend so much time checking.

  29. Solicitor,

    Mark my words: This mosque is a viper let into the bosom of New York.

    Why would this particular mosque be a viper let into the bosom of New York and the other mosque already in lower Manhattan not be?

  30. Solicitor says:

    Cynthia,

    Insensitive to those who suffered loss on 9/11 and in other acts of terrorism. Insensitive to those who abhor the kind of church/state fusion that is a fundamental part of Islam. Insensitive to those who believe the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

  31. Solicitor says:

    B.Russ,

    How can you breath with your head that far down in the sand.

    Why would it be so hard for the cleric at the head of this project to denounce the terrorist group Hamas? Why did he place blame for the 9/11 attacks on the United States?

    Why do you people have such a problem with these questions being asked?

  32. (23) “Mark my words: This mosque is a viper let into the bosom of New York.”

    And so what if it is? You have experienced pain associated with the events of 9/11. I don’t know the depth or details of your pain, but I am sorry that you experienced it and obviously continue to experience pain. All of us have also experienced pain in varying forms and degrees as that is part of the human experience. But with all due respect, what is the crazy future scenario you have created in your mind based on an exquisite fear of the unknown, resistance to the way things are, and an attachment to past events? What if we die someday?!!

  33. How can you breath with your head that far down in the sand.
    I have a really good snorkel.

    Why do you people have such a problem with these questions being asked?
    Because I’m afraid that they will slowly chip away at the Libertarian veneer that I show people and reveal the true Caliphate-hungry Christian-hater that I am.

  34. Insensitive to those who suffered loss on 9/11 and in other acts of terrorism.

    I would tend to think that people who live in the neighborhood in question know a lot about suffering loss on 9/11.

  35. Amen to Bloomberg. If the US doesn’t have higher ideals than this, why, then, would the US be a place worth living? Fortunately, our Constitution doesn’t look happily on such invidious religios discrimination. At least, not anymore.

  36. We supported the idea of religious freedom because we were getting beat and not out of principle.

    Chris, I find this deeply offensive, and deeply inaccurate. I know of nothing in Mormon doctrine or history that suggests that our principles are anything other than the full support of religious freedom to all, past, present and future. It’s the lowest depth of cynicism to ignore all the Restoration doctrine and rhetoric about religious freedom — including our belief that not even during the Millennium will the gospel be imposed on anyone with different beliefs — and claim that at any time we cared only about “what’s in it for us.”

  37. I claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our my conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    I think of all the teachings that Joseph Smith shared, and exemplified, this is one of the most powerful.

    I can think of no greater demonstration of this profound principle than allowing Muslims to build a mosque wherever they feel the need. It is a demonstration of my own religious freedoms which I cherish. Both as a Mormon and as an American

  38. Solicitor, many people lost loved ones on 9/11, and I don’t think any of us are trying to ignore that pain. However, those weren’t the only losses on 9/11. All of us in the US lost a sense of innocence and safety, and to a great extent also a loss of privacy, and all of us are in need of healing. The damage from the attacks of 9/11 were not just on New York, but against all of us.

    The atonement and forgiveness are key parts of that healing. It’s time to start the healing, and not demonize someone because of their religion, as we have been demonized in our past. To use an extreme example, such as you did, , is it insensitive for there to be Buddhist temples in Honolulu after Pearl Harbor? Or for the church to have missionaries in Arkansas, after the MMM?

  39. Solicitor says:

    B.Russ,

    I don’t think it’s _you_ that has the veneer.

    I want to be clear about my position. I don’t support the government blocking this project. I would just hope that the crowd behind the project would show a little decency and build it elsewhere.

    _That_ would be conducive to “healing”, which is what these people claim they are attempting to achieve.

    And Cynthia, residents of lower Manhattan don’t hold a monopoly on grief or suffering when it comes to 9/11.

  40. And Cynthia, residents of lower Manhattan don’t hold a monopoly on grief or suffering when it comes to 9/11.

    …and neither do those who say the mosque is a bad idea. However, I think that, objectively, one of the positions makes more sense than the other (see also: BRuss’ criticisms of your McVeigh analogy).

    Ardis and Kevin, thanks for those thoughtful contributions.

  41. Solicitor says:

    kevinf,

    Pearl Harbor was not committed _in the name of_ Buddhism, but was a military event. MMM was, of course, the product of a complex series of circumstances and events and was not done _in the name of_ Mormonism, although I think a high-profile LDS presence in the home-areas of the Fancher Party shortly after the MMM insensitive and in poor taste (imposing our modern sensibilities on that situation).

    Why must “healing” mean that the offender gets his way?

  42. Solicitor,
    First of all, I’m sorry for your loss. I’m one of the lucky group who didn’t lose anyone in 9/11, but I do appreciate that many did (including you). I consider myself lucky; there, but for the grace of god, etc.

    Second of all, are you saying that all 9/11 victims feel this way? That a majority do? What is the proof? What allows you to speak for this diverse group?

    Third of all, I find the Westboro Baptist Church’s beliefs deeply offensive, flawed, and likely dangerous. Nonetheless, I support their right to express their stupid opinions, along with their right to worship God in their own stupid way. Therefore, I wouldn’t have a problem personally with the Church of Timmy being set up, so long as it wasn’t doing anything criminal (like inciting to violence, etc). There isn’t any evidence that the mosque in question is inciting to violence, etc. so the only grounds for denial is personal distaste. That doesn’t seem sufficient to me.

  43. Solicitor says:

    John C.

    Of course, I’m only speaking for myself. I would think it the height of pretension to assume that I speak for anyone but myself.

    As far as the mosque, I have tried to be clear that I don’t support the idea of the government keeping them from building it. I think however that I am well within my rights to oppose it personally, to find it to be in poor taste, to think it harmful to American-Islamic (whatever that means) relations, and to hold these opinions without being labeled a racist or a bigot by otherwise reasonable people.

    I’d be just as disgusted with a Westboro Baptist Church project being built, though I suppose the holier-than-thou would conveniently leave the accusations of racism or bigotry off of their responses to that.

  44. Solicitor,
    What bad taste? People weren’t killed by Islam–they were killed by al-Queda. And if al-Queda wanted to build a community center there, that would be in bad taste.

  45. Why must “healing” mean that the offender gets his way?

    How are Muslim New Yorkers “the offender” in this case? I think this gets at the crux of where your argument breaks down and goes from difference of opinion to objectionable prejudice against Muslims.

    PS: your most recent comment is in moderation because of its last paragraph attacking John C personally. If you want, I’ll release it with that paragraph removed, but I didn’t want to edit your words without your permission. [okay your comment has now been posted]

  46. Solicitor says:

    John,

    I apologize for the multi-posting, but wanted to respond more fully to your Westboro Baptist Church point.

    Whether they are engaging in criminal behavior is exactly the point! This mosque, and its leadership, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization. So-called Muslim “charities” have regularly been found to be money-laundering operations for terrorist groups. The Cordoba Initiative has not been sufficiently transparent about its own finances. Further, the leadership of this organization is — at best — ambivalent about whether terrorist groups like Hamas are, in fact, terrorist groups.

    What will your response be when worshippers at this mosque begin participating in terrorist activities, like the followers of Anwar al-Awlaki?

  47. Solicitor says:

    Cynthia,

    This project is not by, about, or for “Muslim New Yorkers” — it’s about the Cordoba Initiative (the very name of which should be recognized as offensive), and the imam at its head. Where our discussion breaks down that that I recognize the difference between the two of those things — a difference which you do not seem to appreciate.

    And as far as my comments about John, they were written in response to an infantile and bad-faith questions about whether I represent the KKK in my practice, and whether I beat my wife. So if you’ll please excuse me from not agreeing with you in characterizing those comments as an “attack”….

  48. John Mansfield says:

    Three years ago, my stake bought property on a major street with dozens of other churches on it, and we’re hoping that all the zoning hurdles have finally been cleared and construction may begin this year. Meanwhile, one of the units the new building will serve can no longer fit the quarters it has, so as of this month until the not-yet-comenced building is complete, its members will drive to another building some miles away. Or stop participating with their ward.

    So, I should be sympathetic to those trying to build a mosque in New York City, but the grumpy side of me says “Getting a run around trying to build an urban religious structure? Welcome to America.”

  49. Okay, everyone, if we could tone the mood down a notch, that would be great. I’m going to lunch and won’t be able to release comments from the mod queue for a while. Be nice. This is supposed to be a post about LOVE and TOLERANCE.

    Peace.

  50. John Mansfield, having just gone through a ridiculous process to get our small business location approved, I have to agree with you there. :)

  51. MMM was, of course, the product of a complex series of circumstances and events and was not done _in the name of_ Mormonism, although I think a high-profile LDS presence in the home-areas of the Fancher Party shortly after the MMM insensitive and in poor taste (imposing our modern sensibilities on that situation).

    H’oh boy. MMM not done in the name of Mormonism. All the doctrinal rationalization before and after, all the “I’m your stake president” talk, all the “innocent blood” talk, and anybody can say with a straight face that “MMM was not done in the name of Mormonism,” no matter how many other elements make up the “complex series of circumstances and events”? I’ve heard it all now.

    Heaven help us all should some fringy group of nominal Mormons form a militia and do some horrific thing under guise of being elders of Israel coming to the rescue of a thread-hanging Constitution. There won’t be a need for a whole six degrees to distance the ties between such a group and the rest of us. Should that happen, I suppose we’ll have to voluntarily cease building chapels and temples. To be consistent with Solicitor’s position, you know.

  52. Solicitor says:

    Ardis,

    Maybe there should not be a temple or chapel built adjacent to the site of such a hypothetical horrific thing, at least not for some long period of time.

  53. I heard the insensitivity argument from the ADL’s man on NPR this morning. He compared the building of the mosque to the Catholics wanting to build an nunnery near Auschwitz some decades ago. His argument was that although the Catholics had nothing to do with the Holocaust, the ADL opposed the project as being “insensitive” in the same way. Nothing against the Catholics, but they didn’t want them building a nunnery in their graveyard.

    While I can kind of see the argument, I still don’t buy it. I grew up in New Mexico where roadside shrines are commonly created to memorialize relatives killed in car accidents. By the insensitivity argument, it the creators of those shrines could insist the road should never be widened. I just don’t feel victims can demand that much deference from society for their loss.

  54. Researcher says:

    When the Philadelphia Inquirer announced yesterday that the Philadelphia temple would be built, that the Redevelopment Authority had settled for a payment of $100K from the seller and the city had settled for a payment of $300K from the church to deal with some issues involved in the control of the sale of the land, the article announcing the temple was left open for comments. The comments were of the most vicious Salt Lake Tribune-worthy character. People said that the church is a cult. That it is not American. That the area of Philadelphia where the temple is going to be built should be reserved for museums and public facilities. That the land should be developed by an entity that will pay property taxes. That the church will proselyte. That churches lead to dissension and bigotry. That the church is racist in ways that are much worse than society at large. (One person advised people to look up the history of the Donner Party. What ever does the Donner Party have to do with the church? (Besides the curious connection reported by Bruce at Amateur Mormon Historian, of course, but I imagine the person meant the MMM…))

    Basically, the comments sounded much like the arguments against this mosque.

    A very few comments celebrated the location of the temple, and the principle of religious liberty, and I left a few comments suggesting that instead of listening to wildly inaccurate attacks on the church, that people attend one of the many congregations in and around Philadelphia and that the temple will be open to visit once it is finished.

    The Inquirer removed all comments on the article after about half a day. The paper seems less willing to allow the kind of controversy that other media outlets allow, on this and other issues.

  55. Thanks, Researcher, for bringing that up. I saw an article about the Philadelphia temple in the sidebar right after I posted this post. Very timely.

  56. Ardis (#37),

    Offensive? Really?

    I am not questioning that religious freedom and freedom in general are part of the restored gospel…I am questioning the extent to which Mormons are actually friends of the concept.

  57. Solicitor, not to pile on, but I do want to attack the insensitivity argument just a bit more. What if I lived 35 years ago and, as a white guy, wanted to attend a Martin Luther King memorial service where most of the attendees were black. Suppose it was suggested that maybe I shouldn’t attend because it would be insensitive — not because I’m white, exactly, but because I should give space to somebody who’d actually been hurt by his death. What message would that send, 7 years after MLK’s death?

  58. Solicitor,
    If you think that this mosque is going to actively fund terror cells or train terrorists (as your comments seem to indicate), then I don’t understand why you just want it moved or think that insensitivity is relevant. Who wants a terror camp anywhere? Is there some actual proof of these accusations? Or is it all implication by association?

  59. Since restriction on land use is one of the severest limitations on the free exercise of religion these days–whether in the unenlightened First Amendment-free rest of the world or here in the U.S., it seems ironic at best that any Latter-day Saint would oppose the building of a house of worship anywhere.

    The good folks of Belmont, Massachusetts, surely didn’t object to the Mormons building a temple somewhere, just so long as it wasn’t going to affect traffic in their neighborhood, and so long as the steeple didn’t block the sunlight. And after years of litigation the church finally prevailed and was able to build the temple.

    Likewise, the good people of Harrison, New York, had no objection to Mormons worshipping as they pleased, but, again, that nasty traffic would have completely spoiled their bucolic little neighborhood. And the lights from the temple would have ruined their views. So the church downsized the temple once, and then again, and proposed putting large berms up to block the view from the neighbors, and finally when the temple was about the size of a double wide trailer with a basketball standard on the roof for a steeple, the church said “the hell with [it]” and went elsewhere.

    Denying this organization [and, seriously, is the "Cordoba Initiative" any worse than say, "Zions Camp"?] the right to build there–whether through government coercion or the objection of the mob–is acknowledgment that all those who object to the building of temples are right.

    You cannot have it both ways, Solicitor.

    As to Pearl Harbor, the closer analogue would have been Shinto, which had been co-opted by the militarists in Japan and been turned into “State Shinto”, much the same as al Qaeda or the Taliban have corrupted Islam for their purposes.

  60. Yeechang Lee says:

    Solicitor has been rather temperate in his posts, all things considered. Since John C. is a permaposter his comment–the very first one to respond to Solicitor–charmingly associating him with the KKK did not have to go through moderation. I don’t know what Solicitor wrote about John C. in a followup comment to cause it to be moderated, but it would have to be really something to top that.

    Like Solicitor I don’t want the government to ban the proposed Islamic building, even if the First Amendment permitted such a thing. He is saying, and I agree, that there is a difference between having the right to do something and that thing being the right thing to do.

    No one has bothered to address the connections that Solicitor mentioned among the imam in charge of the project, his backers, and radical Islam; National Review’s editorial today opposing the project (http://article.nationalreview.com/438963/not-at-ground-zero/the-editors) succintly describes them.

    The straw man arguments people have been bringing up in response are embarrassing. Roadside accident memorials? Special Forces facilities near Oklahoma City? Sheesh, folks. The two relevant mentioned ones both involve religion and mass murder: The Carmelite nuns at Auschwitz and the notion of the Church build near the Mountain Meadows Massacre site. Although the nuns had the right to set up a site to pray for the souls of the deceased, John Paul II ordered them to abandon their plans when it became clear that they would not voluntarily cease. He recognized that that was the respectful thing to do, even though the Catholic Church did not operate the gas chambers and spoke out before the war against the Nazis’ atheism and anti-Semitism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mit_Brennender_Sorge).

    And, yes, I would find it distasteful for the Church to put up a meetinghouse or temple near the MMM site even though Brigham Young did not order the attack. For better or worse, John Lee and the others sincerely believed that they were acting in God’s and the Church’s name. We, as a Church, have paid the price ever since despite our non-complicity. Paying the price, in this case, means behaving with sensitivity and respect toward those affected, *even if we had nothing to do with the sin*. I wish the so-called “moderate Muslims” backing this project felt this way.

  61. Yeechang Lee,

    The ignorant assumption is that either MMM or 9/11 had to do with religion, when they where both about politics and political control.

  62. Yeechang,

    I have not read the National Review piece. What distance from Ground Zero would you say would be respectful ?

  63. I’m pleased to see that neither the “how far is far enough?” nor the general “restrictions on land use are a serious blow against religious freedom” issues that I raised got dismissed as straw men by Yeechang Lee. Since they aren’t straw men arguments, and you haven’t dealt with them, I’ll assume that you concede their validity.

    One thing to remember is that this in New York City. The WTC site is in the middle of the financial district. That area is full of all kinds of businesses and an increasingly large number of residences. When I worked there I used to pass guys pandering for the Pussycat Lounge all the time. It’s still there at 96 Greenwich Street–two and a half blocks away. People live and work there without thinking much about what happened a few blocks away nine years ago. And how could we expect them to do otherwise? Do people in Hiroshima spend all their waking hours thinking about what happened at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945. Do Berliners spend all their time thinking about when their city was virtually destroyed by American and British bombs or Russian artillery?

    Get over it already. It’s two blocks away. You live(d) here in New York, Yeechang, and you know what it’s like. That could be a different country, almost. It’s not as if someone went out to Auschwitz, in the middle of nowhere, to build a convent, or to Mountain Meadows, to build a temple.

  64. What distance from Ground Zero would you say would be respectful ?

    Maybe this all comes down to a misunderstanding on the part of subarbanites about what constitutes “close to” in an urban environment. :-)

  65. > Get over it already. It’s two blocks away.

    Ah, exactly. I cross-posted with Mark B. What he said.

  66. Yeechang, it sounds like you’re arguing insensitivity based on the fact that the builders and the 9/11 perpetrators are both Muslim. If that’s the case, my #53 with its roadside memorials is indeed irrelevant, and basically you’re arguing with the premise of the post, namely that we ideally don’t “religiously profile”.

    If you believe the mosque builders have ties to radical groups, then “sensitivity” is completely irrelevant as well.

  67. Yeechang Lee says:

    Ardis yells at Solicitor for writing that the Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred because of “complex series of circumstances and events and was not done _in the name of_ Mormonism”, and now Chris claims that neither MMM nor 9/11 had anything to do with religion. I realize the two of you differ on this issue (as per earlier in the comments), but some consistency on “the other side” would be nice nonetheless.

    Both John D. Lee and the 9/11 hijackers believed that they were acting in God’s name. That they were wrong does not change the nature of their motivations, or the collective responsibility their coreligionists bear–however mild and however unfair it may be–for their actions. 150 years later we as Latter-day Saints pay our debt by treating the site with respect and humility. Less than ten years later, I do not see such willingness from the Cordoba Initiative.

    Mark, I’ve already stated that neither I nor Solicitor (nor National Review, for that matter) want governmental action against the sponsoring group’s plans. As for “how far” is enough: I don’t know, any more than Potter Stewart and the definition of pornography. Two blocks is not very far, though, not even in Manhattan. I suspect that the building would not be controversial if it were proposed for SoHo or the Village, or if it were being sponsored by a genuinely moderate, home-grown offshoot of Islam without demonstrated sympathies to Hamas. But it’s not, and it’s not.

  68. YL,

    What you want is worse than government restriction, you want tyranny of the social majority. I agree with John Stuart Mill that such tyranny is far worse.

    Waiting for Ardis and I to be consistent in our moral and political outlooks might take a while. However, we do share a mutual appreciation for good breakfast and good friends. I think that is all these folks in NY are looking for.

    “Both John D. Lee and the 9/11 hijackers believed that they were acting in God’s name.”

    Yes, and many soldiers in WWI thought they were fighting to make the world safe for democracy. The thoughts of the pawns does not make it the actually case.

  69. Yeechang Lee,

    I live in New York and pass by that area a lot. The location of the building is not even close to visible for those who will be going to visit the memorial at ground zero. The location is blocked by several large buildings. There’s already a mosque in lower Manhattan, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, once tempers lower on this mosque, some would try to attack the other mosque for being too close or something.

    The argument is very simple. Islam did not attack America on 9/11. Thus those who want to establish mosques close to where bad people did terrible things are not declaring victory over America. This kind of mosque is truly the best way to send a message to Osama Bin Laden that he failed. Because see, Bin Laden’s true goal was to get America to attack Muslim nations. His goal is one and the same with American Christians who want to war with Islam. Both sides feed each others’ hate. America is a multi-cultural, multi-religious nation that is not based on one religion.

  70. Yeechang,
    I assume from the name that you have chosen that you support the communist Chinese and their enslavement of Tibetans or that you support North Korea (my knowledge of Asian name distinctions being minimal). I shall continue to do this until you repudiate the acts of the Chinese against the Tibetans, the acts of the North Koreans in general, and provide me with an itinerary of your whereabouts for the past 10 years (which I think is being pretty lenient; sleepers can hide in country for decades).

    As I said before, if you genuinely believe that this mosque represents terrorists and will promote terrorism, then why do you want it anywhere? Start filing charges and drive them out. Of course, you would need proof and not innuendo for that. In the meantime, a thing being tacky is sadly insufficient reason for it to not exist; just ask anyone who knows me.

  71. If it can be shown absolutely that the group(s) funding, building and finally using the mosque all have real ties to international terrorism – then, obviously, I’ve got no problem with prohibiting the building. Otherwise – if they own the property, what’s the problem?

    I’m quick to remember how nearly every temple that goes up outside Utah is quickly opposed by this or that group, on whatever grounds.

    I recently learned that the pronunciation of Cordoba – in the case of both the Spanish and Argentine cities – includes an accent over the first o. Thanks for letting me share this important and entertaining information with you.

  72. What’s wrong is blaming 911 on all Muslims./ What’s wrong is Ground Zero____is still a Zero.

  73. Yeechang Lee says:

    “I assume from the name that you have chosen that you support the communist Chinese and their enslavement of Tibetans or that you support North Korea (my knowledge of Asian name distinctions being minimal). I shall continue to do this until you repudiate the acts of the Chinese against the Tibetans, the acts of the North Koreans in general, and provide me with an itinerary of your whereabouts for the past 10 years (which I think is being pretty lenient; sleepers can hide in country for decades).”

    Sorry to disappoint you, but that is really my name. Your failed attempt to mock by being exaggeratedly offensive and insinuating that the other side is being, you know, “just like that” is appreciated; sort of like a particularly gruesome car accident one rubbernecks at.

    “As I said before, if you genuinely believe that this mosque represents terrorists and will promote terrorism, then why do you want it anywhere? Start filing charges and drive them out.”

    You know as well as I do that “represents…promote terrorism” is not something that is inherently illegal; otherwise half the Irish bars in the New York neighborhood I grew up in would’ve been closed years ago.

    Again, neither Solicitor nor I want legal action. As National Review put it, “We appeal, instead, to the sense of decency of the American Muslim community, and to its patriotism.” That is all we can do, and it may not be (and probably won’t be) sufficient, but we are going to try.

  74. jjohnsen says:

    After careful consideration, I have decided the distances that are respectfull for the following buildings.

    Mosques run by filthy terrorists 10 blocks
    Mosques run by peaceful followers of Islam 10 blocks
    LDS temples 9 blocks
    Strip clubs 3 blocks
    McDonalds 2 blocks
    Burger King 1 Block
    Dunkin’ Donuts 1/2 Block.

    Please keep these distances in mind when proposing new buildings, there should be no exceptions. 10 Blocks for bosom dwelling vipers? Fine. 9 blocks? Please stop insulting the people that died on 9/11.

  75. I suppose the sensitivity issue is similar to Mormons’ doing baptism for the dead for people of another religious faith. Mormons have the legal right (so far) to do this, but many people consider it to be an insult to their ancestors and therefore to their descendants. They take it as an insult even though no insult is intended.

    The Cordoba Initiative has stated that it favors bridges between Islam and the west. It is clear that it intends no insult to the Muslims or Christians (or those of any other religion) who died at Ground Zero. Does the fact that some people believe they are lying, or some perceive it as an insult nonetheless, make it so?

    The only time I visited Hawaii, I noticed at Pearl Harbor a wreath placed on an American memorial from the City of Hiroshima. I suppose some could argue that the wreath was an insult, or that it was a lie because the people of Hiroshima really hated the U.S. But I took it as a touching gesture and perfectly appropriate. I choose to see the Islamic Center that way as well.

  76. Snr. Lee,
    I appreciate that you saw through my sham argumentation. If only everyone would see it as such, we’d all be happier, I think. (I do note that you didn’t explicitly deny my implications)

    Also, several Federal lawsuits have been filed against Muslim charities for funneling money to terrorist organizations. So why not? If you think these folks are materially supporting terrorists, encourage the local federal prosecutor to get crackin’

    If they are only rhetorically supporting Hamas, well, that’s unfortunate. However, as has been noted, there’s an awful lot of other unfortunate things happening in the area surrounding ground zero. And being tacky, thoughtless, or offensive isn’t yet a crime.

  77. Yeechang,

    As National Review put it, “We appeal, instead, to the sense of decency of the American Muslim community, and to its patriotism.” That is all we can do, and it may not be (and probably won’t be) sufficient, but we are going to try.

    But where’s the supposed indecency? This has not been well argued by the likes of Newt Gingrich. Instead, people like Michael Bloomberg have made quite cogent arguments in favor. What is the indecency?

  78. StillConfused says:

    I personally am not a fan of the mosque at all. From what I have seen in the news, terrorists use mosques as their location for planning terrorist activities. I also am very sensitive to the fact that the terrorist activities were borne out by Muslim extremists. As a corollary, I could see local residents not wanting to see a ward house built near the Mountain Meadows Massacre site. I am not going to say whether that is the most Christian behavior, but I can certainly appreciate it.

    However, I don’t see doing an end-run around existing property laws either. If the property in questioned is zoned such that a mosque can be built. And if the mosque will comply with applicable building codes, noise ordinances and the like, then I can’t really see allowing my personal dislike for the building stopping a legitimate building from taking place.

  79. Keep you eye on the target__ Hate-evil. Muslim extremists must be deal with___but not all Muslim are extremists. In 1999, I met with maybe the biggest Imam in L.A.. Three weeks earlier, he was in Salt Lake and personallly meet with President Kinkley. He received a tour of Temple Square by two of the Q12. He was a good man, looking for peace.

  80. John C, I’m still not really feelin it with the over-the-top/”satire” rudeness rhetorical style for this thread.

    jjohnson FTW.

  81. #79: That’s Gordon Hinckley__ forgive me–again.

  82. It’s not a mosque. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it’s a community center, not a mosque.

  83. I don’t think it is particularly relevant to the legalities of the case, but I think it is naive to assume that any Islamic edifice is going to be used for the promotion of Eleventh Article of Faith style religion. That is what we would hope for, but it is not likely.

    “Fundamentalist” Islam of the sort that increasingly dominates these days isn’t what we originally consider a religion, rather it is a religion / political movement hybrid. The “moderates” are those who believe in imposing sharia by peaceful means. The extremists are those who resort to violence. Muslims who do not support sharia appear to be a minority of a minority.

    Needless to say sharia is not remotely compatible with Western civilization and a culture of liberty as we understand it. To the degree that Muslims advocate its imposition, they are not practicing what we ordinarily consider religious devotion, but rather the political takeover and upheaval of the entire world in a manner that would terminate liberties such as freedom of speech and religion in as expeditious manner as possible, to say nothing of more fundamental rights.

    So the great irony here is we have ordinary, sharia supporting Muslim groups arguing freedom of speech and religion while campaigning for the eventual end of the same, and much worse.

  84. Yeechang and Solicitor:

    A major contributing factor to the movement to prevent the building of this community center/mosque seems to be an unwillingness on the part of those who take this position to draw a distinction between regular old Muslims and Islamist extremists. To quote a friend’s comment on a recent discussion I had about this on Facebook,

    As Latter-day Saints it is easy for us to impose our own more hierarchical, more monolithic concept of religion onto Islam. Many don’t understand that Islam is extremely fractured, probably even more than Protestantism.

    Islam is as diverse or more diverse than Christianity; including not just Sunni, Shiite, Sufi, Kalam, and Kharijite branches, but in each of these there are many different schools of thought and law, and even within the different schools there are numerous different movements, and even within these movements views and approaches vary from imam to imam and mosque to mosque.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_schools_and_branches
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extinct_Shia_sects

    We would never attribute the radical views of the Branch Dravidians, or the Jewish conspiracy theories of President Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright, to all Christians. We wouldn’t attribute even the scriptural interpretations of the Quakers to the Methodists.

    Many of us comfortably treat different sects of Christianity as different religions with common roots, and recognize that some doctrines may even vary from one Baptist Minister or Catholic Bishop to another of the same sect. But we often speak of Islam as if it were a single, uniform religion.

    We make great effort to distinguish ourselves from other apostate offshoots of Mormonism, especially modern fundamentalist, polygamist sects whose practices offend modern sensibilities and break laws.

    We should afford the same distinction to Islamic sects and not unfairly attribute the views of one to another.

    That said, I wish that moderate Islamic sects would make a greater effort to distinguish themselves from radical sects through public declamation and an active effort to marginalize radicals. Their silence in the face of radicalism helps perpetuate rather than dispel the view that Islam is uniformly radical and violent.

    Although his last paragraph leaves open a potential hook to allow arguments against the community center/mosque to stand, albeit perhaps on much narrower footing, I tend to agree with his statement that we should be aware that the actions of one group of adherents to Islam should not be monolithically attributed to all of Islam.

    Another friend drew the comparison that this would be like objecting to building a Christian church in Jerusalem because of the Crusades.

    Also, as always, what Mark B. said.

  85. For my part, I am a huge fan of the Bloomberg speech. Religious Freedom, Private Property Rights, Lockean Religious Toleration are principles fundamental to the American way of life and they put a real fire in my bones! In this respect, Bloomberg’s speech expresses fundamental Truth — to my mind, religious truth and political theory collapse indivisibly here into one concept. Political pundits like Palin and others who are attempting to prevent a mosque or Muslim community center from being built a few blocks from ground zero and who are riling up the nation against Muslims are placing themselves in direct opposition to these fundamental principles upon which America was founded.

    It is even more astounding to see Mormons joining the effort given our history and our present struggles nearly every time we try to build a temple. Isn’t it the same people who raise pretextual objections to the planned locations of our Mormon temples who are running this campaign to prevent the building of this mosque? How can any of us in good conscience join them?

    Luckily the First Amendment protects Muslims in the United States to the same extent as it protects Mormons or Baptists or Greek Orthodox. Muslims are not only free to exercise their religion according to the dictates of their own conscience but also the government is not allowed to express a preference against them, no matter how strong the political movement is that favors such a preference. To the extent a democratic majority expresses and enforces such a preference then it falls to the countermajoritarian nature of the courts to strike down any such legislation or action as unconstitutional.

    Believe me, those countermajoritarian federal courts that so many Mormons love to villify these days will end up our best friend once this movement turns its attention back to pestering Mormons.

    If further persuasion is required, we need look no further than our own scriptures. D&C 134 renders canonical the natural law/natural rights principles that animated the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the authors of the Federalist Papers. It is perfectly at home with a robust First Amendment that shields Muslims from this kind of dangerous populism that Palin and similar pundits are demonstrating.

    If this segment of American society were successful in restricting Muslims’ freedom of religion and property rights, this would be an open violation of the principle of D&C 134:4 — “we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”

    It would also directly and straightforwardly violate D&C 134:9 — “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”

    Do we as Mormons want to find ourselves acting in opposition to D&C 134:9 or the Eleventh Article of Faith? Perhaps on a personal level some individual Mormon doesn’t like Islam or Muslims. Should not our scriptures be an appeal to that particular Mormon’s better nature — an appeal to overcome the natural man — and influence that person to let the community center/mosque be built without citing these social objections about poor taste or insensitivity? Do not our history and our scriptures demand as much?

  86. 1. Is it even accurate to call this a mosque? It is a cultural center with a prayer room inside. All kinds of people will be going in this building, maybe even Mormons.
    2. As has been pointed out above, this location is not at the WTC site at all but some distance away.
    To say they are building a mosque at Ground Zero is simply not true.

  87. Mark,

    #83,

    So the great irony here is we have ordinary, sharia supporting Muslim groups arguing freedom of speech and religion while campaigning for the eventual end of the same, and much worse.

    What? You’re essentially saying that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are not compatible with Islam? Why exactly not? I mean, take any other period in Christian history and the same argument could be made as well. It’s the secular nature of our society that allows for multi-cultural, multi-religious environment, not Christianity. Heck, in our own theology, we really don’t believe that other religions will be around when Jesus comes back, as if that seminal event will somehow end all other religions. We’re tolerant of other faiths these days because we look forward to Jesus ending all other faiths with his return. In the end, though, we’re not as tolerant of other faiths as we like to believe.

  88. I think the freedom of speech thing is the pictures of Mohammed thing. Muslim societies don’t have a general history of tolerance toward that (although there have been exceptions). So there is that.

    However, in many Arab countries, there is a greater desire for freedom of speech in political life. It’s not like Muslims hate freedom.

    Cynthia,
    I’m sorry for mucking up your thread by my being stupid.

  89. The “they are restrictive and repressive so we should restrict and repress them” argument has never been persuasive to me, whether with regard to freedom of speech in the Muslim world (they don’t allow or respect freedom of speech or religion so we should not feel hindered in restricting them here) or Mexico’s immigration policies (Mexico has draconian immigration policies that verge on racism so we should seal the borders and criminalize immigration, including for those of Mexican ethnicity who were born in the USA but to undocumented parents). Either way, it’s a non sequitur to my mind.

  90. I’m kind of on the fence on this one. While I agree that you shouldn’t prevent the building of the mosque there on religious freedom grounds, one would think that those wanting to build the mosque there would be sensitive enough of what happened on 9/11 to just move it somewhere else. I mean, if the LDS church wanted to build a temple 10 years after Mountain Meadows in the Arkansas town where they came form, I would think people would have been upset and rightfully protested the idea. (Probably would have been more violent that what we’re seeing now in New York.)

  91. “where they came FROM”, not form

  92. John F.–exactly right. Many Mormons tend to entirely ignore D&C 134 (perhaps because it conflicts with their political beliefs). We do so to our own detriment. Those taking it out on Muslims are more than happy to turn their efforts to us, in violation of the First Amendment.

  93. DeeAnn:

    What links the community center/mosque planned for lower Manhattan to 9/11? Why would 9/11 be referred to as a reason to request Muslims to not build a mosque?

  94. DeeAnn,
    If that town in Arkansas contained a ton of Mormons, and there was a need for a church building there, wouldn’t it be fully within their right to build a church there?
    In any case, you’re ignoring the fact that there are as many different religious groups in the Muslim world as there are in the Christian world. Imagine that town in Arkansas telling a Baptist, “You can’t build a church here because you Christians killed a bunch of us out in Utah.”

  95. Chris H. is wrong in #68 about my appreciation for good breakfasts. I commit myself to the appreciation for breakfast only when I get to, you know, eat the breakfast. When I’m not invited, I don’t give a dirty sock’s worth of appreciation to the concept. Like all other Mormons, I’m committed to a principle only when there’s something in it to my immediate advantage.

  96. Peter LLC says:

    Like all other Mormons, I’m committed to a principle only when there’s something in it to my immediate advantage.

    Ouch.

  97. Peter LLC says:

    Why is religion being emphasized as the only salient dimension of the 9/11 hijackers’ identity worth debating? The fact that they were men had as much to do with their act of violence as anything, and yet no one has suggested banning males from within a one mile radius of the site.

  98. Latter-day Guy says:

    Heck, in our own theology, we really don’t believe that other religions will be around when Jesus comes back, as if that seminal event will somehow end all other religions. We’re tolerant of other faiths these days because we look forward to Jesus ending all other faiths with his return. In the end, though, we’re not as tolerant of other faiths as we like to believe.

    Daniel, I have to say that it’s a little funny to cite theologically-motivated Mormon intolerance in order to encourage Mark to tolerate what he sees as the theologically-motivated intolerance of a different faith. It’s a kind of catch-22:

    Either A: You’re wrong, and the variety of intolerance you mention really isn’t part of Mormon theology, and therefore it makes sense to work against those who would promote theological intolerance (i.e.: Muslims –– I’m not saying I believe that, but that is not an uncommon argument),

    Or B: You’re right, and the variety of intolerance you mention really is part of Mormon theology, and therefore we have no responsibility to try to work against those who would promote theological intolerance, because such intolerance is an article of our faith, which intolerance we are happy to point at any religion (including Muslims) that we don’t agree with and it’s my way or the highway, baby.

    More simply: “Don’t tolerate Islam, because Islam isn’t tolerant, and that’s bad,” v. “Don’t tolerate Islam, because we’re intolerant, and that’s good since we’re right.”

  99. Latter Day Guy,

    My point is that the greater emphasis in a secular nation, in order to preserve freedom of religion is not to allow our own theological limitations on freedom of religion (that includes all religions’ intolerances of other faiths), to dictate best practice for the secular nation in which we live. Newt Gingrich’s point is that Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow Christian churches to be built there, thus we shouldn’t also. He’s making the point that America ought to be a Christian nation that does not allow other religions to flourish here. Christianity has a history of this. The strength of our nation is the secular laws that allow for every religion to be treated equally.

  100. Latter-day Guy says:

    “…and yet no one has suggested banning males from within a one mile radius of the site…”

    Just watch the opinion pages in this week’s issues of the NYTimes. That’s all I’m sayin’.

  101. (Peter, if you’re ouching, please realize that that is *Chris’s* stated position in an earlier comment — not mine.)

  102. Latter-day Guy says:

    “Christianity has a history of this.”

    Yes, that’s true, though I would argue that our recent track record has been rather better than, say, the crusades. The role of Christianity has shifted in the public life of the West, allowing room for increased secularization, and the expansion of religious freedom and religious diversity. However, are complementary shifts taking place within Islam? If so, are they happening quickly enough to make the rapid expansion of Muslim populations in West compatible with the same secularization that has been essential to their own growth?

    I think there may be a degree of truth in James C. Bennett’s dictum: “democracy, immigration, multiculturalism… pick any two.”

  103. Latter Day Guy,

    Islamic countries have shifted toward modernization, though I don’t think they’ve shifted that greatly toward multi-culturalism. But in the end, regarding this particular cultural center, it shouldn’t matter whether or not Islam itself, or Islamic countries modernize and accept other faiths. We’re not going to define ourselves by the similarities or contrasts we have with Islamic countries. We have a very well established principle of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. I’m still waiting to hear from those who agree with the National Review position vis a vis the “decent thing to do.” Exactly what is indecent about this Muslim cultural center…I still await that answer.

  104. “Fundamentalist” Islam of the sort that increasingly dominates these days isn’t what we originally consider a religion, rather it is a religion / political movement hybrid. The “moderates” are those who believe in imposing sharia by peaceful means. The extremists are those who resort to violence. Muslims who do not support sharia appear to be a minority of a minority.

    If you’re going to make this statement, I’d appreciate something authoritative to back it up, otherwise I have to reject it completely. What you’re saying may certainly be the case overseas in Islamic countries, HOWEVER it has been my experience (not a lot, I haven’t met hordes of Muslims here in the US, but I have met quite a few when I lived in LA) that Muslims here in the USA tend to be very moderate, very westernized, and very tolerant. In my association with Pakistanis, Afghanis, and Persians, they’ve tried to celebrate Ramadan, eat halal, and live a Muslim life. However I’ve never seen one pray to Mecca, wear a burka, or anything else that would unnecessarily make them out to be non-western.
    We’re not talking about a bunch of Iranians building a Mosque on ground-zero. We’re talking about New Yorkers building a community center in New York. My gut tells me they are as much western, if not more so, than they are Muslim.

  105. Latter-day Guy says:

    Oh, yeah, my 104 was much more general. As far as the proposed mosque/cultural center is concerned, my main concern would be to make sure they hire a good architect and make it pretty. Apart from that, build it, don’t build it, refudiate till the lipsticked pit bull passes kidney stones… I really don’t care.

    (Actually, just to clarify my tangential point, my questions in 104 were not so much about the secularization of Islamic nations, but whether the growing Islamic population in many already-secular western nations posed any challenge to the secular values/religious freedoms which allowed the Islamic populations to grow there in the first place. It seems that some pockets of Islamic immigrants tend not to assimilate or, I dunno, feel invested in the host nation: to wit, some of the disturbing polls of British-born Muslims after the 7/7/2005 bombing.)

  106. Latter Day Guy,

    Indeed there are some indications of Islamic immigrants not assimilating into their new homeland, but I think the results are mixed throughout the world. I don’t know why in Britain there is this problem, but, living here in New York, and passing by Muslim communities in Queens all the time, I don’t see the same thing happening here that is happening in Britain. Even if it were to take several generations before assimilation occurred, it’s not an exception in history. Most ethnic/religious groups that have come to the United States have grouped themselves together at first, even for long periods of time, as protection from assimilation. It’s one of the fascinating aspects of the history of the United States.

  107. Would anyone else like to congratulate themselves on not being a bigot? The thread seems to be winding down.

  108. Tim – I agree it would fully be in their right to build it there, but if they really disagreed with what was done on 9/11 and they were sensitive to the history of what happened there, they wouldn’t even be trying to build it there. So it makes me wonder if there are not other motives at play.

  109. #110: “but if they really disagreed with what was done on 9/11 and they were sensitive to the history of what happened there, they wouldn’t even be trying to build it there.”

    DeeAnn, the question is WHY do you think disagreeing with 9/11 and being sensitive to it entails not trying to build there. You didn’t answer the question of WHY that claim is true, you just restated your claim.

    The site is not within view of Ground Zero or really even all that near it by NYC measures (you have to understand that just a couple blocks away can be a completely different neighborhood/culture/demographic), and the people in question were not materially related to 9/11. So why does “sensitivity” require they not build there?

    Does it basically come down to a claim that some people might confuse them with 9/11 perpetrators and thus feel upset, and so to protect those confused/uninformed people from feeling uncomfortable, they should not build? Not a very compelling argument.

  110. DeeAnn,

    What exactly is allowed to be built close to ground zero? How about a gentlemen’s club? Is that okay? What about crass commercialism? Or the large Goldman Sachs building that’s right next to ground zero? This isn’t hallowed grounds here. People did die there, killed through no fault of their own, and a memorial certainly deserves to be there. But beyond that, what exactly makes this area special? Life moves on.

  111. I support the right of religious groups to build houses of worship. Full Stop.

  112. Regarding the confused people, what about this scenario:

    Many people confuse Sikhism with the Muslim religion, even though they are completely separate religions. Basically, it comes down to people visually associating the turban-like headcoverings that Sikhs wear with some kind of Islamic dress code. But again, they are totally unrelated.

    So, should Sikhs be prevented from building “near” Ground Zero, because seeing a bunch of Sikhs near there might make 9/11 victims (and/or random people in middle America) feel upset?

  113. I just want to point out that our Stake Center here in Bellevue, WA is right next door to a mosque, with whom we have had a good relationship, going back about 8 to 10 years now since they bought the building and converted it for their use. We let them use our parking lot during Ramadan, and on their Thursday night prayer meetings, when their very small parking lot is not adequate. They have been good neighbors, and we have tried to be the same. I think there has been a shared sense of being outside the Christian mainstream that has helped foster the good relationship.

    It serves as a reminder to me to not be as surprised or suspicious when I see them in traditional dress walking in our parking lot, or round an aisle in the Safeway and see someone veiled with only the eyes showing. It can be disconcerting, but the negative emotions are just exactly what we are asking our mainstream Christian neighbors to overcome on our behalf.

    I see the mosque in lower Manhattan as a visible reminder of the freedoms we are all pledged to defend and extend to others not like us, and I applaud Mayor Bloomberg’s pointed remarks.

  114. There seems to be a presumption on the part of those condemning the likes of Solicitor, et al that feelings of offense must somehow be justified on the part of the offended before the offender is obliged to take any remedial action. Frankly, this is an infantile position. Every day we all modify our own behavior as a common courtesy so as not to offend people. I can be both honest and offensive at the same time. Does the desire for honesty subrogate any requirement I may have to not offend others? Should i slather on cologn regardless of whether or not others in my vicinity find the odor offensive and should i demand they quantify their offense? Years of marriage have taught me that asking my wife to justify every feeling she has just makes for a miserable night on the couch. Tis better to apologize, learn, and move on. How miserable would this planet be if we all just lived our lives however we wanted without any consideration of how our actions impacted others feelings? Common courtesy is the foundation of civil society.

    The argument of “how far away is far enough” is childish.

  115. Paul,
    No. We don’t modify our behavior in order to avoid all offense. We modify our behavior to avoid offending people we care about or people whom we believe our acts may directly offend. Plenty of people are offended, for instance, by my claim that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Should I not make the claim in order to avoid offense? Certainly, there may be some people who are offended by the mere existence of this mosque. But they don’t appear to be a majority, not even in the neighborhood in question. Even if they were a majority, it isn’t a matter of common decency to avoid building this community center, because the people associated with this center had nothing at all to do with 9/11 (as has already been stated umpteen thousand times on this thread). If you can explain why it is offensive to have people who have nothing to do with some crime in the general area of that crime a decade after the crime (or mass slaying or whatever), then I may think that I should start trying to avoid offending you. In the meantime, I’m likely to think that your claim to offense, while describing your offense accurately, does not require me (or anyone) to modify their behavior. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a reason for New York City or this Muslim group to modify their behavior, because it appears that the offended’s offense isn’t all that compelling. At least, not for me and, apparently, not for most folks on this thread.

  116. 116 –
    Your wife’s relationship with you is a two way relationship. Private property rights, religion, politics deal with hundreds, thousands, millions, and even billions of people. In New York City with more than 19 million people, and in the US in general with a population over 307 million, it is impossible to do – literally – anything without offending someone. Even expelling CO2 from my body probably offends some hyper-sensitive global warming actvist somewhere, making even the act of breathing offensive.

    Please come up with a more convincing arguement before you resort to calling people “infantile” or “childish”. Name calling does not help make your point.

  117. Paul, at the risk of piling on, would you care to address my hypothetical scenario in #114. Should Sikhs not build a place of worship near Ground Zero, because some people might take offense, because those people completely erroneously mistake Sikhs for Muslims? At some point, the offense is caused more by the ignorance and prejudice of the offended than the action of the “offender.” The danger of this is especially acute when we’re talking about a disliked minority group supposedly “offending” an overwhelming majority group.

    Again, to take it back to the original point of the post (!), should it have mattered that Mormons were “offensive” to the rest of the Missouri population? Does that give them the right to persecute Mormons? If you are LDS, you need to really reconsider your position on this in light of our history.

  118. While I think that the Muslim Imam who is putting the Mosque up so close to Ground Zero is thumbing his nose at Americans, religious freedom means he can build on his private property.

    That said, we do have a responsibility to ensure that the moneys coming in to pay for this building are not coming from terrorist organizations.

  119. Yeechang Lee says:

    There is obviously a limit to offense both taken and given. Solicitor and I have stated our views on a very specific example: One type of building, in one specific neighborhood of New York. To repeatedly claim that our reluctance to support said building’s backers’ intentions means we are allying ourselves with the pots-and-pans brigade that emerge when many LDS temples get proposed, or the Missouri mob, is unseemly to say the least. The slippery slope analogy is one thing, but such claims have taken the slope to the Marianas Trench and below.

    Daniel: If gentleman’s club A had sponsored the 9/11 hijackings then, yes, I’d also ask club B to reconsider building near the site even if B’s ownership was completely unconnected to A’s.

    Cynthia: Your example is not the same thing as what I and others have expressed concerns about. Changing the definitions in that way means that you and others who pose such examples are saying that there is nothing you are willing to take offense on. That is a noble attitude, but likely an unsustainable one.

    B. Russ: Speaking of “infantile”, neither Paul, nor Solicitor, nor myself associated the other side with the KKK immediately, or pretended to be racist in order to imply that we were being that way too, or came up with the most bizarre abuses of the Slippery Slope as we’ve all seen in the comments.

  120. #113 – Agreed. Full stop.

  121. Yeechang,
    Are you saying that this particular group of Muslims sponsored the 9/11 attacks? Because all of your argument seems to hang on that premise.

  122. Yeechang Lee says:

    John, no, that’s not what I’m saying, and my view has never been based on that. Since you are unable to argue without associating the most vile motives to your opponents and exploiting your role as a permablogger to make comments that others could not without facing moderation, your misunderstanding is understandable.

  123. #82 Norbert,

    Actually, it is both a community center AND a mosque. I live on the west side of Indianapolis, where the Muslims have one of their largest “community centers” in the United States. What many do not realize is there is a mosque built inside it.

    Here’s an outside photo of the Islamic Center of North America:

    Inside the largest, tallest cube of the building is a mosque with its round golden dome.

  124. Rameumpton,

    #120,

    While I think that the Muslim Imam who is putting the Mosque up so close to Ground Zero is thumbing his nose at Americans, religious freedom means he can build on his private property

    What does that even mean? Thumbing his nose at Americans? He’s an American citizen, is he not? He’s thumbing his nose at himself?

  125. Yeechang,

    #121,

    Daniel: If gentleman’s club A had sponsored the 9/11 hijackings then, yes, I’d also ask club B to reconsider building near the site even if B’s ownership was completely unconnected to A’s

    You’re implying that either a) the whole religion of Islam sponsored the 9/11 hijackings, and/or b) the particular imam and those who would be attending this new Muslim cultural center sponsored 9/11. Are you really suggesting this?

  126. sorry I misread. Let me try that again. Yeechang, you’re not really making sense. If Club B was completely unconnected to Club A, why should Club B get punished for the actions of Club A?

  127. 121 – I don’t know who’s making a “slippery slope” argument. I know I’m not.
    I find restricting people’s property rights based on religion – whether legally, or just through social pressure – to be repugnant. I don’t find it “like” or “similar to” repugnant actions. I find it repugnant. I find it to be the bottom of its own valley. Not on a road to restricting religious freedoms, but to be actually restricting religious freedoms.

    I didn’t make any KKK references, so yes, I can think a person making a naive claim that a religious group building a mosque is somehow like his relationship with his wife, and then trying to butress his position with insults to be in bad taste, and I will call that person out.

    And stop trying to act like Solicitor and yourself have somehow walked a higher road of discourse. Insults have been dealt from both sides of this discussion. Least of all insulting Muslims that I know by associating all Muslims with extremist-terrorists for no other reason than their religion.

  128. don’t know why I wrote “Least of all”, when what I meant was “Not least of which” . . .

  129. Daniel #127, The Imam, while technically an American citizen, has shown through his speeches and actions that he is not interested in things American. Therefore, he thumbed his nose at the 349,999,999 others of us Americans who did cry during 9/11 for the dead.

    Just because a person has papers saying he’s allowed to be here, does not make him an American per se. This imam would be happy to remake our Constitution, replacing it with Sharia Law, etc. While he’s a citizen, he’s not an American in my book.

  130. “This imam would be happy to remake our Constitution, replacing it with Sharia Law, etc.”

    Sincere questions, since I’m too lazy to search myself:

    Will you please supply a link to a speech he’s given stating that – and how he would go about doing it? Also, please supply a link to something that documents his ties to terrorist groups?

  131. Yeechang,
    In spite of my inadequacies as a human being, you are still not making sense. I also assure you that other people can make similar comments without being banned (I can think of three unbanned people who do similar things for more often than I do). That said, I apologize for offending you and generally being offensive yesterday. Twas classless to be so snotty and snarky. The same goes to Solicitor, should he ever care to return (or even if he doesn’t).

    With all that out of the way, nobody is arguing that they never take offense. The argument isn’t even that you don’t have a right to your offense. You are going to believe and feel what you are going to believe and feel. The question is whether or not other people should pay attention to your offense. You haven’t yet explained why I or anybody else should (much less this congregation of Muslims or New York City). At present, it looks like you are taking offense when you shouldn’t, because you seem to believe that Muslims shouldn’t build buildings in lower Manhatten, which seems suspiciously like blaming and punishing people for something they didn’t do. Arguments about common decency don’t seem to apply because these folks don’t appear to be doing anything indecent. Arguments about sensitivity don’t seem to apply, because plenty of sensitive people don’t seem to care. Arguments about sponsoring terrorism don’t seem appropriate, because if they are sponsoring terrorism, they shouldn’t be anywhere. So I am having a hard time understanding your attempts at persuasion. Much of this is my fault because I set an obnoxious tone, yesterday (sorry, once again). But can you produce a reasonable, convincing argument that demonstrates that I should value your offense higher than the happiness of these Muslims?

  132. Last one wasn’t a question. Being home sick and trying to be coherent isn’t easy.

  133. If gentleman’s club A had sponsored the 9/11 hijackings then, yes, I’d also ask club B to reconsider building near the site even if B’s ownership was completely unconnected to A’s

    This is a good concise summary of your point, Yeechang, thank you. According to religioustolerance.org, there are ~1bn Muslims in the world and a few million in the US. So you’re saying all those ~1/6 of the world’s population should pay the price for one segment’s actions in some kind of collective punishment thing?

    Where is the boundary of the collectively punished group? All radical/fundamentalist Muslims? All Muslims? All people that most Americans think are Muslims when they see them so it will cause them offense to see them near Ground Zero?

    Either the requirement to not build there is related to one’s guilt/association with 9/11 or it isn’t. It sounds like you’re saying it isn’t related to one’s guilt, but that seems very unfair, and also puts you in the position of having to define some other boundary other than guilt. My Sikh scenario is trying to get at what your new proposed not-guilt-based boundary is.

  134. Yeechang Lee says:

    Daniel: Sadly, no, American citizenship has nothing to do with a person’s intentions and acts. Ask John Walker Lindh, or the Lackawanna Six, or Mike Hawash, or Adam Gadahn, or Dr. Nidal Hasan, or Omar Hammami. All American citizens and Muslims who turned against their country.

    “You’re saying that the Cordoba Initiative is a terrorist group!” No. What I am saying is that your implication that Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf would not do anything to hurt his country because he is an American citizen is not necessarily so. When coupled with the Imam’s remarkably consistent unwillingness to condemn the hijackings or Hamas or Islamic terrorism at all, or the lack of clarity behind the foreign funding of the mosque, it is not unreasonable to think that this specific building–*with its specific sort of backers and leaders, at this particular site*–is being pursued as a concrete form of victory of Islamicism over the West at a place where Islamic terrorists attacked the West, a place which now is more or less a holy cite for the United States. (For the record, “two blocks” in this case means “less than 600 feet” from the World Trade Center site. Further, far from being unaffected by the hijackings, the building the mosque would replace was heavily damaged when parts of one of the airliners hit it.)

    It is not a crime to not condemn Hamas, or to not disclose the identity and origins of funding for a religious building. As I and others have said repeatedly, we do not want a legal stopping of the building even were that possible. We appeal, as National Review wrote, to the “patriotism of American Muslims.” In this particular, specific instance, there is some reason to question the patriotism and sincerity of motives of the mosque’s leaders and backers. (Now, I shall brace for the incoming cries of “McCarthyism!” and “Nazi!” and “Questioning someone’s patriotism means I can question your own patriotism!”)

    Regarding your gentleman’s club example (which I feel idiotic for addressing once, let alone again) which Cynthia also asked about, this goes back to the notion of collective responsibility. As I mentioned, even though the Church had nothing to do with the Mountain Meadows Massacre, John C. Lee and co. believed they acted in its name. Whether we like it or not that is fact. In turn, that gives us as Latter-day Saints some–not a lot, but some–responsibility to act with dignity and respect regarding the incident and its location, *no matter how unfair that may be*. Such respect, I would think, would include avoiding our building near the site. Even though the Catholic Church had absolutely nothing to do with Auschwitz, the Pope’s ordering the Carmelite nuns to not build near Auschwitz also strikes me as a reasonable balance between religious rights and dignity. Returning to your example, I’d hope gentleman’s club B would similarly have the good graces (like I said, I feel idiotic for even addressing this) to avoid building near a site where the otherwise-unrelated gentleman’s club A sponsored a mass murder.

    Since Sikhs had nothing to do with the attacks on the United States, and there is no reason to pander to the ignorance of those who do not know the difference, there would be no reason to protest such a building. Furthermore, *no one would ever make such a protest*. That is not to say that Sikhs aren’t confused for Muslims sometimes; they are. But does anyone sincerely believe that such inchoate misapprehensions would ever translate in the United States into anything approaching a mass movement of the kind now expressing concern over the mosque? Of course not. That’s the objection I have to the Sikh example, and many of the other counterexamples brought up here: They are slippery-slope fallacies that have nothing to do with the actual circumstances with our concerns over this particular building, with its specific set of backers and leaders, at this particular site.

  135. Jeffrey W. says:

    john f.

    #86

    Thanks for that. I think you just made me a better person.

  136. “John C. Lee”

    Best typo/Freudian slip ever!

  137. Yeechang Lee says:

    My apologies to you for the typo; it was completely unintentional.

  138. But does anyone sincerely believe that such inchoate misapprehensions would ever translate in the United States into anything approaching a mass movement of the kind now expressing concern over the mosque?

    LOL! Well, YeeChang, you evidently have much, much more faith in some segments of our populace than I do.

    RE: MMM, collective responsibility analogy with 9/11 and Islam:

    The difference in degree is enough to make it a huge difference in kind.

    Case 1: Lee & co were ~100 out of a group that numbered in the thousands, all living in physically and socially close proximity within a few hundred mile radius, and all under the same leadership hierarchy.

    Case 2: Fully 1/6 of the earth’s population, spread across every continent, with thousands of utterly disconnected, even rival leadership hierarchies, philosophies and communities.

  139. Peter LLC says:

    John C. Lee and co. believed they acted in its name. Whether we like it or not that is fact.

    Sorry, but you are not privy to that information. And that is a fact.

  140. #139, 140, that is awesome. This thread needed a little levity. :-)

  141. Yeechang Lee says:

    “LOL! Well, Yeechang, you evidently have much, much more faith in some segments of our populace than I do.”

    I don’t need to have faith; it is demonstrated fact. Remember how, after the 9/11 attacks, every pundit with access to a microphone rushed to preemptively condemn random attacks on Muslims, sometimes even before condemning the hijackings? Remember how we were repeatedly told that America–that seething, roiling mass of hatred–faced a colossal test of its goodwill and commitment to religious pluralism?

    Despite much handwringing by bien-pensants the United States somehow walked away from the precipice without a single pogrom of Dearborn and Bay Ridge, or a single Persian being randomly lynched in Beverly Hills, or a single mosque being burned down in Chicago. Amazing how the country somehow refuses to live down to the expectations of its critics!

  142. Well, it’s also a demonstrated fact that people are getting worked up about this, when to me it seems barely more than “inchoate misapprehension.”

  143. Also, I’m still not sure I understand your collective responsibility boundary. So you are willing to punish 1/6 of the world’s population for something done by one terrorist org? That’s an awfully gigantic extension beyond the limits of just punishing the guilty.

  144. When coupled with the Imam’s remarkably consistent unwillingness to condemn the hijackings or Hamas or Islamic terrorism at all, or the lack of clarity behind the foreign funding of the mosque, it is not unreasonable to think that this specific building–*with its specific sort of backers and leaders, at this particular site*–is being pursued as a concrete form of victory of Islamicism over the West at a place where Islamic terrorists attacked the West, a place which now is more or less a holy cite for the United States.

    While this might be seen as a victory in the eyes of Muslim extremists, and I see what you’re saying, it is an even greater victory for Americanism – Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Tolerance. We’re demonstrating that we believe in these virtues when its easy and when its hard. Allowing the mosque to be built – and being proud of it – are part of what makes our culture superior to a culture that would coerce people into living one religion and under that religion’s law.

    (Now, I shall brace for the incoming cries of “McCarthyism!” and “Nazi!” and “Questioning someone’s patriotism means I can question your own patriotism!”)

    Please, I’ll ask you a second time, stop playing the martyr. Its not an attractive quality.

  145. “What I am saying is that your implication that Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf would not do anything to hurt his country because he is an American citizen is not necessarily so.”

    Which is fine, but that doesn’t seem like sufficient cause for us or anyone to consider your concerns more important that his happiness. You’ve got a lot of innuendo; you’ve got no proof. I could be wrong, but isn’t innocent until proven guilty important in American assignation of guilt?

    “it is not unreasonable to think that this specific building–*with its specific sort of backers and leaders, at this particular site*–is being pursued as a concrete form of victory of Islamicism over the West at a place where Islamic terrorists attacked the West”

    Is it equally reasonable to assume that this specific building is being built to serve the needs of a local population and that it has no ideological purpose aside from that? Again, you’ve only innuendo to support your case.

    “It is not a crime to not condemn Hamas, or to not disclose the identity and origins of funding for a religious building. ”

    Nor is it an obligation. Why should the imam dignify these unfounded accusations with a response?

    “Now, I shall brace for the incoming cries of “McCarthyism!””

    If the shoe fits…

    “*no matter how unfair that may be*”

    This simply isn’t true and I doubt that you believe it. Suppose that someone cited the Mountain Meadoes Massacre as a reason to stop the building of a modern temple. “The Mormons want to kill us all” Would we be under an obligation to address this person’s concerns? If they have a national audience, it may be prudent, but we certainly aren’t obligated to address every crazy accusation made against us. At present, there is no indication that the concerns you’ve expressed in this thread have any more substance to them than the concerns of my hypothetical anti-Mormon.

    Most Muslims “had nothing to do with the attacks on the United States, and there is no reason to pander to the ignorance of those who do not know the difference.” There certainly is no evidence that the people behind this particular community center had anything “to do with the attacks on the United States, and there is no reason to pander to the ignorance of those who do not know the difference.”

  146. Despite much handwringing by bien-pensants the United States somehow walked away from the precipice without a single pogrom of Dearborn and Bay Ridge, or a single Persian being randomly lynched in Beverly Hills, or a single mosque being burned down in Chicago. Amazing how the country somehow refuses to live down to the expectations of its critics!

    If you think hate crimes against Arabs and Arab-/Muslim-looking folks didn’t sharply increase after 9/11, you, my friend, are up in the night.

  147. Brad, I was going to point that out, but I was too intimidated by the french.

  148. Yeechang Lee says:

    Brad, you are absolutely correct and I should have been more careful in my language. Unfortunately, in a nation of 300 million, there will always be idiots and fools who exploit tragedy to display their bigotry. I meant by my comment to refer to larger-scale acts such as arson and lynchings, and more importantly the pundits who immediately spoke as if the country as a whole needed to be talked away from starting ethnic cleansings of every Muslim and Arab neighborhood in sight at any moment. That’s the sort of presumptive assumption of mass bad faith I meant, not that there weren’t innocents who were unfairly targeted (although such acts were thankfully rare in a country of this size that had been hit by such a sudden blow).

  149. Yeechang Lee says:

    B. Russ, Your argument is a very good one, and one I have considered; although I ultimately came out on the other side it is one which people of goodwill could come out on either side of, and I appreciate your acknowledging this.

    I mentioned “bad faith” in my previous comment. You will have to pardon me for acting the martyr. If I have done so it is because many of the commenters here have not done me or Solicitor or others the courtesy of assuming that we were arguing in good faith. Contrary to your earlier claim that both Solicitor and I descended to the others’ level of rhetoric, neither of us accused y’all of violating the 11th Article of Faith or Joseph Smith’s counsel in D&C 134, or of being crypto-Islamifascists, or anything like that. We rarely got such courtesy in return. John C. himself admitted to exceeding the boundaries of good taste, if only after being 1) the first person to respond to Solicitor–2) with an accusation of being part of the KKK, no less–then 3) making more vague, but charming insinuations against me. He was the most extreme, but only a few commenters approached the debate from the viewpoint that the other side could be acting on good faith, too. 25 years online have long since inured me to boorish net.behavior, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

  150. Yeechang,
    While I appreciate that you are currently ignoring me, if you didn’t see the tongue planted firmly in my cheek when I made that accusation of affiliation with the KKK, then your 25 years online haven’t yet taught to take things less seriously. Of course, you and Solicitor are both making accusations about the folks building the community center that are equally unfounded, but nonetheless I hereby declare that I don’t think that Yeechang represents either North Korea or China and I don’t believe that Solicitor is a lawyer or that he works for the KKK. Let it go, dude.

    Also, I never assumed you weren’t arguing in good faith. I was trying to point out that the argument being made (about the name of the Cordoba group) was as baseless as my assuming white supremacist leanings based on an internet nom de plume. If you think that my pretended assumption was stupid, it was. That should give you a good idea of how good I think your argument is.

    Also, you did imply, several times, that my love of tolerance or some such was a sham or naivete. Don’t pretend that you’ve taken the high road in this debate (especially considering the mud you’ve been slinging at a bunch of Muslims you don’t know). We’ve all been slinging away together.

  151. Yeechang Lee says:

    “Also, you did imply, several times, that my love of tolerance or some such was a sham or naivete.”

    This is a flat-out lie.

    (And regarding your earlier insinuations: No, you don’t earn praise for immediately and unwarrantedly going to one rhetorical extreme then, later, ostentatiously disclaiming it. Once a creep, always a creep.)

    “This simply isn’t true and I doubt that you believe it. Suppose that someone cited the Mountain Meadoes Massacre as a reason to stop the building of a modern temple. “The Mormons want to kill us all” Would we be under an obligation to address this person’s concerns?”

    Of course not; as I stated, there are limits to respect and sensitivity, both paying out and receiving. Your scenario isn’t hypothetical, actually; it’s more or less what occurs whenever someone who opposes a new temple or meetinghouse brings up Jon Krakauer as evidence of what Mormons “really believe”.

    Were it suggested that an LDS meetinghouse be built very close to Mountain Meadows (Enterprise–which almost surely has at least one LDS meetinghouse–is only 10 miles away, and one never knows what the future will bring), I’d hope–and suspect–that the Church would refrain from doing so even if it had every legal right, and perhaps even if the local community had a pressing need for one. Not because Brigham Young ordered the attack on the wagon party, or because John D. Lee was acting as a representative of the Church. We are tainted by his group’s acts to some small degree despite neither of those things being true, nonetheless, and have an obligation to act accordingly.

    I wish the Cordoba Initiative felt the same way about the notion of building a mosque 600 feet from the greatest act of mass murder committed in the name of Islam in history.

  152. “Once a creep, always a creep”
    It’s a kind of motto. In any case, I wasn’t looking for praise. I was asking you to let it go. Which is, of course, up to you.

    I do enjoy how you and Solicitor both imply that this group of Muslims materially and spiritually support terrorism, but refuse to offer proof. Further, you both say that you don’t want the law involved, but you make a claim that decency demands that they accede to your demands. But you haven’t demonstrated that they are being indecent. You say that they acted in the name of Islam, but that seems insufficient. Many Muslims don’t feel like what was done was done in the name of Islam (or, at least, true Islam). Should I value the testimony of a non-Muslim over that of a Muslims on this issue?

    Of course, I don’t have a problem with the church building a meetinghouse near Mountain Meadows. If one hundred years are insufficient to let old wounds die, then people are too committed to old grudges.

    It seems like, ultimately, we are dealing with differing definitions of decency. These notions seem to be opposed in this case. I don’t know what to do with that; I would tend to think that the decent thing to do would be to let these folks build their center.

    “Let’s see how far your “tolerance” goes.”
    Phooey, that was Solicitor. Sorry about getting you two confused.

    In any case, I’ve got to go. Have a good night.

  153. Also, I would argue that using the term “bien-pensant” does imply a kind of naivete or insincerity on the part of those to whom the term was applied. Obviously, I may not be included in that group.

  154. Yeechang Lee says:

    “Also, I would argue that using the term “bien-pensant” does imply a kind of naivete or insincerity on the part of those to whom the term was applied. Obviously, I may not be included in that group.”

    You were not. I was referring specifically to those who, after the attacks on the United States and the Pentagon, “rushed to preemptively condemn random attacks on Muslims, sometimes even before condemning the hijackings”. In other words, those who assumed bad faith on the part of ordinary Americans as a whole and proceeded from there.

  155. The newspaper owned by the Church, the Deseret News, has an article/blog about the subject.
    It’s here:
    http://www.deseretnews.com/blog/73/10009679/The-big-lever-Mosque-near-ground-zero.html

  156. See also this Mormon Times article.
    http://www.mormontimes.com/article/16171/McKay-Coppins-Why-Mormons-should-support-the-Ground-Zero-mosque

    I think I see a trend here…
    Not surprisingly, it’s a trend that favors tolerance and religious freedom.

  157. Rameumpton,

    #131,

    Daniel #127, The Imam, while technically an American citizen, has shown through his speeches and actions that he is not interested in things American. Therefore, he thumbed his nose at the 349,999,999 others of us Americans who did cry during 9/11 for the dead.

    A couple of things. 1. There are currently approximately 307 million Americans, not 350 million Americans. But maybe you’re counting all the illegals. ;P

    2. What exactly does it mean that he is not interested in things American? Is this a Sarah “real America” Palin thing? Is it that he’s in liberal New York that makes him not interested in things American? What evidence do you have that he thumbed his nose at those who did cry during 9/11 for the dead?

    Just because a person has papers saying he’s allowed to be here, does not make him an American per se. This imam would be happy to remake our Constitution, replacing it with Sharia Law, etc. While he’s a citizen, he’s not an American in my book

    While I’m certainly glad it’s not up to you who gets to call himself an American, I still require evidence like Ray in #132. What evidence do you have that this imam would be happy to remake our Constitution? Exactly how is he going to go about doing this? How is he going to replace it with Sharia Law?

  158. Yeechang,

    #153,

    I wish the Cordoba Initiative felt the same way about the notion of building a mosque 600 feet from the greatest act of mass murder committed in the name of Islam in history.

    once again, the crux of the problem is that this places the blame and the burden on all of Islam and/or on the Muslims who live in New York and who would frequent this site, some of which have relatives who died on 9/11. That makes no sense whatsoever.

  159. John C.,

    I do enjoy how you and Solicitor both imply that this group of Muslims materially and spiritually support terrorism, but refuse to offer proof. Further, you both say that you don’t want the law involved, but you make a claim that decency demands that they accede to your demands. But you haven’t demonstrated that they are being indecent. You say that they acted in the name of Islam, but that seems insufficient.

    Amen. I still await to see what exactly is indecent about these particular Muslims who live in New York, who work in New York, who pay taxes in New York, who have children in New York who want to have a cultural center wherever they may want it in the city.

  160. I would call into serious question the claim that the 9/11 attacks constitute “the greatest act of mass murder committed in the name of Islam in history” – but I guess this would depend on what is being considered “mass murder in the name of Islam” and what is not.

    As I have continued to following this conversation, I am seeing the justification for opposing the mosque/community center as thus: On September 11, 2001, 19 men took control of four airplanes headed for different places in the United States. Of these four planes, one was crashed in a field in Pennsylvania while en route to Washington, DC. It had been hijacked by four men. Another was crashed into the Pentagon by five men. The two other planes were both crashed into the World Trade Center, have been hijacked by five men each. All 19 men were members of al-Qaida, a terrorist organisation that professes to follow Islam.

    Ten years later, a group of developers, all of whom are Muslim, have expressed a desire to build a large community center, which will include a mosque, in lower Manhattan, in a space that happens to be two blocks away from Ground Zero. Unfortunately for this group, they are being told that, despite the complete lack of affiliation with the 10 men who hijacked planes and crashed them into the WTC, they are guilty by association, and therefore should not be able to build a mosque that close to the site of the attacks.

    Nobody has been able to explain why that distance is “too close”, nor has there been a distance given that is acceptable.

    Nobody has been able to provide even a shred of evidence that the Cordoba Initiative has any ties to al-Qaida or any other terrorist organisation. Nor has anybody been able to provide a shred of evidence that there is even the slightest thing inappropriate about building a community center and mosque in lower Manhattan.

    It has been claimed that the mosque should not be built at that location “out of a sense of decency”, although this “sense of decency” has never been explained further than saying, essentially, that the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks apparently blame the world’s entire Muslim population for the attacks and, therefore, they would be offended by seeing Muslims worshiping so close to Ground Zero, despite the fact that there are roughly 500,000 Muslims living in New York City, approximately 1,000 of whom are members of the New York Police Department – part of the First Responders to the 9/11 attacks.

    Now, even though there were 19 men actually involved in the hijacking, let us be generous and say that there were 100 involved in the plot. 100 men out of 1,000,000,000 is 0.00001% of the world’s Muslim population. So we are going to hold the other 99.99999% responsible, and ask them to keep away from the site of a tragedy “out of a sense of decency”.

    Does this include the family and friends of the over 60 Muslims working in the World Trade Center who were victims of these attacks? I suppose that, out of a sense of decency, we should just ask these family and friends to keep away. You know, just in case someone sees a Muslim and is offended that they would go near Ground Zero.

  161. Yeechang Lee says:

    “Unfortunately for this group, they are being told that, despite the complete lack of affiliation with the 10 men who hijacked planes and crashed them into the WTC, they are guilty by association, and therefore should not be able to build a mosque that close to the site of the attacks.”

    “Should not,” not “should not be able to.” A very important distinction, one that Solicitor and I have repeatedly but futilely stressed.

    “Nobody has been able to explain why that distance is “too close”, nor has there been a distance given that is acceptable.”

    Not true. While I can’t and wouldn’t want to give a precise distance as being some sort of acceptable limit any more than I could push a string, I would not oppose the building anywhere else in lower Manhattan and specifically mentioned SoHo and the Village as two such examples.

    “Nobody has been able to provide even a shred of evidence that the Cordoba Initiative has any ties to al-Qaida or any other terrorist organisation.”

    “Ties” is a very nebulous term. No, no one has claimed that bin Laden is somehow pulling the strings from the shadows, or will sleep in the building’s Bin Laden Suite in the penthouse three nights a week. There is abundant evidence, though, as a simple perusal of relevant news articles will show, that Imam Rauf has repeatedly equivocated–starting from ten days after the attacks on New York and DC–on condemning the attacks when given the chance to, has repeatedly refused to condemn the likes of Hamas, and refuses to disclose the source of the many tens of millions of dollars in funding behind the building. While none of these is a crime, they do legitimately affect how others view the motivations behind the building’s particular location.

    “It has been claimed that the mosque should not be built at that location “out of a sense of decency”, although this “sense of decency” has never been explained further than saying, essentially, that the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks apparently blame the world’s entire Muslim population for the attacks”

    No one has said this here, implicitly or explicitly, and claiming so is a lie.

    The onus, and reasonable expectation, should be on the larger religious community tainted by the actions of the few claiming to act in its name–whether LDS in 1857 or Islam in 2001–to accordingly act with some degree of respect regarding the particular site where the actions occurred, *no matter how unfair that taint is*. To an even lesser degree, this applies to other groups depending on the particular circumstances (cf. the Carmeline nuns and Auschwitz). No, this doesn’t mean that the Church shouldn’t ever build another temple in southern Utah, or that Muslims shouldn’t ever build another mosque in lower Manhattan, and it is unfair to claim that I and others are claiming this.

    “despite the fact that there are roughly 500,000 Muslims living in New York City, approximately 1,000 of whom are members of the New York Police Department – part of the First Responders to the 9/11 attacks…Does this include the family and friends of the over 60 Muslims working in the World Trade Center who were victims of these attacks?”

    You write this as if the 19 hijackers cared at all how many Muslims lived in New York or worked at the World Trade Center. As many a suicide bombing has shown, Islamic terrorism is not particularly selective about the religious beliefs of its victims.

  162. Yeechang,

    Not true. While I can’t and wouldn’t want to give a precise distance as being some sort of acceptable limit any more than I could push a string, I would not oppose the building anywhere else in lower Manhattan and specifically mentioned SoHo and the Village as two such examples.

    What guidelines lead you to believe SoHo is an acceptable distance for Muslims to build a cultural center? What is it about that extra mile? Should we also get them to close the mosque already located in Lower Manhattan?

  163. Yeechang Lee says:

    “Should we also get them to close the mosque already located in Lower Manhattan?”

    You’ve mentioned the already existing lower Manhattan mosque thre times and I’ve yet to see its relevance. No one has proposed closing any existing mosque, whether in lower Manhattan or anywhere else. (I do see again the lack of assumption of good faith on the part of one’s debate opponents.)

    As a native New Yorker I’ve always thought of everything below 14th Street as part of Lower Manhattan (a definition Wikipedia agrees with), and my first job out of college was down there. SoHo and the Village are both within the area. My concern is with the particular location less than 600 feet (about one tenth of one mile) from the World Trade Center site, on a site heavily damaged by the attack.

  164. Yeechang Lee says:

    “(I do see again the lack of assumption of good faith on the part of one’s debate opponents.)”

    I want to apologize for this line. Your “gentlemen’s club” analogy was inane (but one I gamely responded to, as Cynthia noted) and, as noted, I don’t see the relevance of the existing lower Manhattan mosque on the dispute over the near-the-WTC site. Nonetheless, you have been fair and forthright in your rhetoric and it was not fair of me to claim otherwise.

  165. Cynthia L. says:

    Thank you, Alex, for pointing out the absurdity of the numbers involved here. Yeechang et al scoffed at my Sikh example as patently absurd. But I’m thinking, gee, if you’re already drawing the collective punishment boundary so wide that only .000001whatever percent of the people within the boundary are the guilty ones—why the heck NOT throw the Sikhs in there too just for fun? The boundary is so broad that it has no meaning anymore.

  166. Yeechang,

    My concern is with the particular location less than 600 feet (about one tenth of one mile) from the World Trade Center site, on a site heavily damaged by the attack.

    You still have not provided enough evidence as to why this is a problem without showing intolerance toward Islam. Also, was that Burlington Coat Factory building “heavily damaged” in the attacks? I’m looking at the street view here of the building and it doesn’t seem to be heavily damaged. In order for this building to be heavily damaged, the much taller building across the street on Park would have also had to be heavily damaged, and that building is just fine.

    I’m going to end my participation here, as I think we’re just going to run around in circles from here on out (if we have not already been doing that for about 100 comments or so). I don’t think those who are against this site have made a good enough argument. I don’t think they’ve made their point well that it would be indecent for Muslims to have a cultural center close to ground zero. And that’s the real key point. I’m sorry some feel pain, but, man, life goes on. We need to as well.

  167. Yeechang Lee says:

    “Also, was that Burlington Coat Factory building “heavily damaged” in the attacks?”

    Yes. Parts of one of the airliners damaged three floors.

  168. Yeechang,
    Come on. Seriously: what’s the problem? A couple of blocks away is virtually a lifetime (my old building, a doorman building where apartments are apparently now going for significantly more than I paid–over $4,000!–is like 25 feet away from housing projects, and across the street from a halfway house).

    And you lived in New York; as such, you know that the Village and Soho are not event remotely the same as Lower Manhattan. Plus, apparently, the group already owns the land it wants to build on; who says there’s land available (or that it’s in their price range) in the Village or Soho? (Especially Soho: I can’t imagine any religious group could currently afford land there, unless they also made Apples or Louis Vitton or some such thing.)

    But so what if there were a mosque built in the footprint of the World Trade Center? Islam did not fly a plane into it; 19 crazy men, all of whom were Muslim, but all of whom were also al Qaeda, did.

    (Frankly, if I were building a mosque, I’d prefer to locate it in the Village or Soho; both are much cooler neighborhoods. All that part of lower Manhattan really has going for it, IMHO, is that discount clothing store Century 21. And Trinity Church is pretty cool. There’s probably something else cool there, but it’s far from my favorite neighborhood.)

  169. > discount clothing store Century 21

    Amen to to the Century 21 shout-out!

  170. I’ve heard many times from different news outlets that the proposed mosque/cultural center is to REPLACE the existing mosque due to growth – they need more space. So, there will still be 1 mosque only. But even if there were 50 mosques nearby, it shouldn’t matter. Why would anyone blame all Muslims for the actions of 19 extremists ? No different than the 13 million LDS blamed for the actions of a few thousand (?) polygamists. Apples vs. oranges.

  171. T-NC,

    I’ve heard many times from different news outlets that the proposed mosque/cultural center is to REPLACE the existing mosque due to growth – they need more space. So, there will still be 1 mosque only.

    Just chiming in to correct this. the Masjid Mosque/cultural center is located on Warren Street, just a block up, and from their website, they note they have no relation with the other group wanting to build the Cordoba House. They also note very clearly that they condemned the 9/11 attacks and terrorism.

  172. Hey Concerned citizens- why aren’t you up in arms about the mosque in the Pentagon? oh as a bonus, the army even has Muslim chaplains! I am shocked at the insensitivity that the Pentagon shows for hallowed ground!

  173. ““Should not,” not “should not be able to.” A very important distinction, one that Solicitor and I have repeatedly but futilely stressed.”

    Fair enough. But at present, your argument that they should not still seems to hinge primarily on your opinion. Why should we value your opinion more than the Imam’s?

    “While none of these is a crime, they do legitimately affect how others view the motivations behind the building’s particular location.”

    How? When I was faux-accusing you of being an Chinese agent, you never bothered to deny it? Why is that? Is it possible that this particular gentleman thinks these questions are beneath his dignity?

    Yeechang,
    The problem is that your notions of should and should not are clearly not universal. So why should any Islamic group pay attention to them?

  174. And to all those reasonable voices who simply say, “Build it somewhere else–a respectful distance away,” my response is: You try finding the right parcel of real estate in New York. Having spent several years looking (or cheerleading while others looked) for property in New York City to build LDS meetinghouses, I know it’s not easy. In fact, it’s damnably difficult.

    So, prevent them from building on this site and you may have succeeded in prevented them from building anywhere in the city–at least not this year, and maybe not the next, and maybe for a long, long time. That’s surely something to congratulate yourself about.

    For a Latter-day Saint to be on the wrong side of this issue is, frankly, to display complete ignorance of what the First Amendment and the 11th Article of Faith mean, to say nothing of ignorance of the difficulties the church faces, over and over again, in acquiring property and building houses of worship. It would be only slightly more ironic if you were to support the governor’s signing an Extermination Order against Muslims in New York State.

  175. Mark B & Cynthia L:

    Frankly, as Mormons we should actually sympathize with those opposed to the mosque being built. The history of Mormonism is nothing if not a history of a religious group learning how to assimilate with society. Early Mormon history is replete with examples of persecution but said persecution was motivated by Mormons’ insistence on both a universal and political theology which understandably frightened the populace at the time. Over time Mormonism has abandoned the political component of the theology and our general acceptance by society is commonplace. Muslims currently find themselves occupying the theological space Mormons occupied 120 years ago. If Muslims as a group would follow the Mormon example and give up the political component of their theology then they would find, with time, the same sort of acceptance we as Mormons experience. Mormons stopped indiscriminantly baptizing by proxy deceased persons out of concern for others feelings and we ceased the practice of plural marriage. We didn’t abandon either of those beliefs but we voluntarily gave up the practice to accommodate societal sensitivities because the benefits derived exceeded the marginal costs of ending the practices.

    What I’m hearing from a lot of the “pro” mosque side is the advocacy of a social philosophy that would have one live one’s life solely according to the dictates of one’s conscience, with little regard for the feelings of others. That’s plain selfish, childish, and counterproductive. If a religion holds universality as a major tenet of its faith then it is often the case that compromise in practice will be required in order to attract greater numbers.

  176. “Over time Mormonism has abandoned the political component of the theology…”

    Huh?

  177. Chris H:

    Are you just playing dumb? The Church’s official stance is political neutrality. That was not the case in 1840 or even 1870. Today no member is commanded to support any specific political candidate, party, or policy.

  178. Early Mormon history is replete with examples of persecution but said persecution was motivated by Mormons’ insistence on both a universal and political theology which understandably frightened the populace at the time.

    Wait… Are you saying that Mormons brought the persecution upon themselves? Seriously?

  179. Alex:

    Yes, I am but I’m also not excusing the persecutors. Any time a large group with strange beliefs moves in and begins to exercise absolute political control there will be trouble with the natives.

  180. PaulM,
    “give up the political component of their theology”

    On those same grounds, should abolitionist Christians have given up the political aspects of their theology? For that matter, should Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have given up the politics of his theology? What about liberation theology? What, for that matter, about the Church and gay marriage, the Church and anti-discrimination against gays, the Church and immigration, the Church and nuclear missiles?

    “advocacy of a social philosophy that would have one live one’s life solely according to the dictates of one’s conscience, with little regard for the feelings of others”

    Yeah, well, it’s easy to offend people. And recently, if you’re Muslim, you’ll offend by being in France, by building a mosque in New York, by wearing a burkha, or pretty much just by breathing. Can you blame this group if they’re sick of trying to figure out how not to offend people? (Moreover, since the outrage is manufactured–seriously, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are more attached to the symbolism of the World Trade Center than Bloomberg, a life-long New Yorker and mayor of the city since 2002? New Yorkers largely don’t seem to mind.)

  181. I forgot: the Church and the ERA, the Catholic Church and opposition to birth control, abortion, the death penalty, war, Scientology vs. phychiatrists, the Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence, various Christian groups and women’s sufferage–the list goes on and on and on.

  182. Sam B:

    You misunderstand my meaning of the political component of religion. Like the Mormonism of yesteryear, Islam advocates both a universal faith and domination of political authority (i.e. sharia law as the law of the land). Your examples are of political advocacy and represent efforts to pursuade society and not the exercise of political authority. The consequence of your misunderstanding is that your counterfactual fails.

    Granted it might be easy to offend people but when made aware that a behavior is offensive to someone it’s also just as easy to avoid making such offense plus it’s the civil thing to do.

  183. PaulM,
    Yes, I clearly misunderstood your sense of the political component of religion; just as clearly, you’ve misunderstood the vast array of Islams. I’ve known many Muslims who are not trying to impose Shari’a law on Western (or even Middle Eastern) countries. The flip side of that, of course, is that we believe that the Gospel will flow to the entire earth and, ultimately, Jesus will reign personally on the earth, providing a religious government (and, as we believe ourselves to be the True Church, we believe that we’ll be helping Him). That’s not terribly different than a vague sense that someday, Islam will rule the world.

    As to your second paragraph, bull. People are offended by Muslims for the fact that they are Muslim (just like al Qaeda is offended by Westerners for being Westerners). So sure, they could avoid making offense by ceasing to be Muslim, but at that point, is it worth it? (Side point, that has been brought up many times: there are people who are offended by the fact of Mormons existing. Should Mormons cease to exist? Moreover, there are herds of people offended by the fact that gay people exist. Should they stop (existing, that is)?

    Plenty of people in Utah were offended by the Church’s redevelopment of the Temple Square area (or, at least, that’s what I read). But the Church didn’t stop developing it. During Romney’s presidential campaign, some people were offended by the thought of a Mormon running for president. Should he have stopped running?

    &c. &c.

  184. When someone is “offended,” it means the person has formed an attachment to something that has been threatened. For example, I am LDS. If an atheist mocks Christ, and if I have formed a strong attachment to Christ as part of who I think I am then I am exposing myself to be feel emotional (anger, frustration, etc.) unless I am accepting. If I was born in Boston, and have formed as part of my identity as strong attachment to all things Boston (Red Sox in particular for some reason), I am exposing myself to experience severe emotional swings because someday someone may threaten my attachment to Boston.

    The concept of “insensitivity” is our society’s tacit acknowledgment that people are attached to things (a disease of the human experience) and so we go through life dodging attachments that people form (which has made the world a miserable, violent, painful place). When we bump into other’s attachments, this is when a range of emotions and reactions occur (from passive sadness to outward violence).

    Clinging to attachments is a survival mechanism that man has developed over millenia based on fear of death, suffering, sorrow, and pain. Our ego tells us that this mechanism will help us avoid pain and death–the end. So we attach, identify, and hold on to things that the ego feels will increase our odds of survival. We develop fears this way. Meanwhile, on the surface, we go about or lives business as usual.

    Families of 9/11 victims hold onto (attached) to the pain they experienced as a result of that tragic event. Part of the survival mechanism is to identify a source of their pain. The ego must have something or someone to attribute pain to so that it can help us survive going forward. In this case, the family victims do not know the individuals that actually caused them pain. Some of those individuals are dead. Others are not around. So the ego illogically moves on to the next best source–what it does know and can see: Islam. Islam has become the face of pain because the victims can identify it. So from there the ego makes the massive illogical leap to form and identity and fear around Islam in general. Once fear has fully formed, the ego is fully in control and functioning.

    This entire process, however, is illusory. The ego and its effects are only as “real” as we allow them to be (lack of true-self awareness). Islamic fundamentalism is a perversion of an otherwise great religion. The vast majority of Muslims do not support fundamentalism or violence. And we have absolutely zero reason to believe that putting up a mosque there will cause violence. Any “insensitivity” derived from it is paying tribute to the human disease of fear and ego.

    Fear can be manipulated and exploited. For example, recall after 9/11 the color-coded warnings that we get at airports. And recall our politicians using strong language that an attack of the same scale was not “if, but when” and that one was very “likely” again. Well, here we are years later and nothing like 9/11 has happened.

    Our true, eternal nature and “self” is peaceful, not fearful, it does not speculate, it does not regard things that have happened or that may happen in the future. It is subject to God’s will in the present moment–because the exact present moment right now is all that is really “real.” (For example, is 30 seconds ago real right now?) It is divine in that it knows the physical state we are in now is very temporary. In this way, survival here is not really significant and so the true self (our soul, our spirit) can be liberated and at peace.

    Social experiment: Next time you feel yourself experience a strong negative emotion (anger, sadness, pain, sorrow) try and have the pause to ask yourself why you feel that way. For example, you get cut off on the freeway on the way home and that makes you upset. Once you answer that question, dig deeper and deeper by asking yourself why [each subsequent answer] is important to you. This is how to expose your attachments and fears and ti be self-aware of them . . . and to expose your ego.

  185. PaulM,

    I was not playing dumb. When it comes to the political…I am freaking brilliant.

  186. Fletcher says:

    I think it’s time for gst to come and lock this thread.

  187. If the attachment of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich to New York City is odd, what about Pat Robertson’s group representing some plaintiff in an action to overturn the Landmark Commission’s decision to allow the existing building to be razed. Since when has Pat Robertson cared at all about landmark buildings in New York City?

    Oh, and one minor point–Mayor Bloomberg is not a lifetime New Yorker–he was born and reared in Boston, and didn’t come to New York until he was an adult. But the point is still valid–he’s got street cred in New York City (he rides the subway to work!). Palin and the Newt have got none.

  188. Mark B.,
    Sorry; his ex-wife lives (or lived) upstate, and what with the subway-to-work and all . . .

    Nonetheless, I regret my error.

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