Islamophobia: Would Thomas Jefferson Approve?

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

There seems to be a growing sense of  mob-mentality surrounding the construction of an Islamic mosque “at” the site of Ground Zero.  I say “at” because it’s not “at” at all.  It’s two blocks, around the corner and up the street….completely invisible to anyone standing at Ground Zero.  They’d have to grab a cup of coffee and hoof it  to even SEE the building where the Cordoba House will be constructed.  And let me just say, I use the word MOSQUE loosely.  The Cordoba House (a.k.a. Ground Zero Mosque) isn’t technically a mosque at all.  It will be a cultural center with a prayer room.  Numerous Jewish events are already scheduled to take place there….but you don’t hear them calling it a synagogue now, do you? And if it WAS a synagogue, would there be the uproar?

Thomas Jefferson emphatically expressed that religion lies solely between Man and his God.  Man and HIS God.  Not your God.  Not a Baptist God, a Methodist God, an angry God, a liberal God….but by whatever God man chooses to worship.  If a man wants to build an alter of tin cans and Swiss cheese and pray to it every day, that’s his American right.  Sure, we’d question his sanity and no doubt mock him, but his freedom of speech and religion is something that cannot be taken away, no matter what the public opinion is.

Prior to September 11th, the deadliest act of terrorism on United States soil was committed by Timothy McVeigh.  A born and bred AMERICAN man who claimed to be Catholic as a child, Christian during the majority of his adulthood and scientifically agnostic towards the end of his life.  Would we seethe with such hatred if a Presbyterian church began construction across the street from Ground Zero?  Or would we applaud the sanctity and sovereignty of having an “American” God and his congregation reside in such close proximity to a place of evil and horrific happenings?

I struggle to understand how some people treat our Constitution like a Golden Corral buffet….picking and choosing what suits them at any given time.  You cannot be hell-bent on having the right to bear arms, then turn and shake your fist of hatred and intolerance in the face of an American Muslim.  You can’t stand on a street corner and hand out tracts stating your religious views on abortion and homosexuality…then turn and shake your fist of hatred and intolerance in the face of an American Muslim.  If you feel it IS your right to shake-a-fist, then perhaps you should know what rights YOU should have to surrender.

*  No more standing across from abortion clinics shouting out scripture verses and words of condemnation.

*  No more parades demanding equal rights.

*  No more political rallies used as a platform to shout out your personal religious and political agendas.

*  No more church services on television.

*  While you’re at it, get those “God is watching you” messages off the roadside church signs.

* No more public witnessing and proselytizing.

*  No more protests, whether peaceful or violent.

*  No more political television commercial smear fests.

*  No more turning people away from your doctrine or religion because they don’t “measure up” to your belief system.

I could go on and on…but I think you know where I’m coming from.  You can’t take the rights of some and let others hang onto theirs.  That’s not the American way.  This country was founded on the premise of freedom.  Freedom across the board.  The majority of American Muslims living in the United States today are exactly that:  AMERICAN.  They were born here.  Raised here.  Will die here.  We cannot judge or condemn them based on the actions of other Muslims.  If we did that, then we’d have to judge each and every religious group based on the past actions of anyone affiliated with them, American or foreign.

*  Scientology: Charles Manson

*  Christianity: Adolph Hitler

*  Jewish: David Berkowitz, “Son of Sam”

* Catholic: Too many priestly pedophiles to count

It would behoove us to take a look in the tainted mirror of our own religious history.  Not one stands without blood on its hands.  Not one stands without crime, hatred, bigotry, imperfections.

If there are Muslims who hate us…and Americans who hate Muslims….how are we any different from them?


6 Responses

  1. The tired old Liberal meme of bring out old McVeigh anytime someone complains about the Muslims or the Godless is pathetic and, as always to-date, a false analogy.

    McVeigh didn’t commit his act of terrorism in the name of any religion whereas the Muslim terrorists did and continue to do.

    You’re also wrong about how and why Americans – the ones that love their country more than liberal ideology – judge these Muslims. We don’t judge them on their religion; we judge them on their practice of it.

    Let this imam issue a fatwah against the Muslim terrorists and name them murtadd and Americans will cease to have a problem with this building effort.

    Until that happens and the Ummah within America accept, respect, and act upon it, there are no “American Muslims” only Muslims living within the borders of our country without being of our country.

  2. Don’t get into a heehawing contest with a jackass, baby.

  3. I’m a Christian but appreciate reading your thoughts. Honestly, I am close to Jefferson on the issue to religion. It is personal, first and foremost. And all religions should be respected.

    Allow for belief and practice..but PLEASE keep your religion or your way of practicing it away from me! Right now it seems like America is gone into the dark ages of ignorance, fear mongering and complete disregard for decency. Scary!

  4. I am pleased to hear these words. I wish there were more Americans who remembered what this country and its constitution are all about. This piece also brought to my mind that during WWII we were fighting against the German military, who held Jews in prison camps while we held Japanese Americans in prison camps and stole their property. American Muslims have all the rights any other American has. I think this whole issue has been stirred up because it might hold some political gain.

    • The frustrating thing for me, Hal C is that we were supposed to have learned from our history. Japanese/Jewish internment camps were wrong. We admitted it. Now we are unleashing overt bigotry toward Muslims.

      If we would take the time to learn we would see that many American Muslims have lived in the US for a long time. And like most around the world are peaceful and mean us no harm.

      Those living in harsh Islamic countries are living that way against their will. There re many politicians who use the harsh Imams to keep them in office, just like in the US.

      Two very mainstream books that touch on this are Kite Runner (talks about Afghanistan) and another book called Between Two Worlds by Zainab Salbi (about Iraq). Thanks for the kind comments.

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