Thursday, August 19, 2010

freedom of religion... really?

as one who practices an 'alternative religion' (read: not judeo-christian in nature) i know i am a bit more sensitive to the ideas of religious freedom and the separation of church and state than your general american.  and the conservative/republican/GOP/fundies have turned this mosque at ground zero thing into a national news story... only because it's an election year.  you know i'm right.  don't try to deny it.

let's get a few things straight and out of the way before i get into this.  i am a neo-pagan.  i do not participate in any of the major three religions (which, in case you didn't know, are judaism, christianity, and islam.  that's right - muslims make up one of the largest religious groups worldwide).  i actually do not belong to any dogmatic religion, including wicca, because the 167 tenets are a bit much as far as i'm concerned. but that's another post for another day. 

i also am a new yorker.  i know, i know, i currently live in florida.  but while you can take a girl out of new york, you can't take the new york out of a girl.  i go back to new york three or four times a year, and am actually planning on moving back there because florida sucks an awful lot of floppy donkey dick.  i lived in new york on 9/11.  i could look down hempstead turnpike on long island and see the smoke from ground zero.  i saw the smoldering fires and searchlights of the rescue operation from the roosevelt island bridge.  i've seen the gaping hole that was left on manhattan island that day.  i had a friend who did recovery and clean up down there, and brought back stories and photos that i just couldn't believe.

now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get onto that mosque 'at' ground zero.  it's not AT ground zero.  it's like three blocks away.  so that's my first point: it's not AT GROUND ZERO.  it's near it.  and do you know what else is near ground zero?  you may not, and instead of me telling you, let me link you to an article from someone who already did the legwork at gawker: The Hallowed Ground near the 'Ground Zero Mosque'.  check it out.  if you're too lazy to do so, i'll let you in on the secret:  within the same amount of distance from ground zero that the proposed mosque would be built, there is a mcdonalds, a burger king, an off track betting, a bar, a vitamin shoppe, and a gentleman's club. 

so, it's okay to get some supplements, a burger, and a lap dance, but not to worship allah within two or three blocks of ground zero. 


let me let you in on another little secret:  islam is one of the largest and fastest growing religions in the world.  most of you would say christianity is the largest religion - and you'd be right.  about 32% of the world is some form of christian.  but 22% are muslim - and that number is growing.  and jews?  they make up like 1%.  that is not a typo - ONE PERCENT.  i was surprised to learn that, but there you go.  here in the good old US of A, those are the three main religions.  actually, in most of the civilized world, those are still considered the three big ones because they are all monotheistic.  but again - that's another post for another day.  and just so you know, i got this info here:  those numbers are the most recent i can find, and are from 2001.

one of the founding principles of this country was religious freedom.  you may remember from history class that originally, we stole this land settled here to escape religious intolerance and persecution over there in england.  and now what are we doing?  we are being religiously intolerant.  it's sad, really.  and maybe it does bother me more because i belong to one of the groups that is still routinely persecuted.  but not all muslims are extremists - and that's who caused 9/11.  a bunch of radical muslim extremists who fucking hate us over here.  they hate us BECAUSE of our freedoms - like our religious freedom.

did you know there are other extremist groups?  like christian extremists?  there are.  the ku klux klan.  the christian identity movements.  the lambs of christ.  i think we're all fairly familiar with what the kkk has done/continues to do in this country with their doctrines of religious intolerance.  but the christian identity movement is basically a bunch of radical white nationalist or white supremacist 'christians' who hate needlessly, and includes the aryan nation group.  they basically believe that armageddon will be a big ass race war.  fun times.  and the lambs of christ are a super-pro-life organization... who have been linked to murder.  the most notable probably being when member james charles kopp killed ob/gyn barnett slepian in his home in buffalo, ny in 1998.  his crime?  what else - performing abortions.

are all christians racist, pro-life-willing-to-kill-ob/gyn fundies?  absolutely not.  should we never build a christian church near a temple or synagogue in case they decide to try and kill jews for being jews?  or not build churches near doctors offices housing ob/gyns?  of course not.  that's fucking ridiculous.  most christians are loving, caring, mostly tolerant, non-murdering citizens.  and guess what?  the same can be said of of muslims:  the vast majority of them are also loving, caring, mostly tolerant, non-murdering citizens.

and about newt gingrich and some other right wingers: this is NOTHING like building a memorial to hitler outside of auschwitz, as so many  have been saying publicly.  hitler was a man who represented a group of people who were hell bent on wiping a group of people off the face of the earth.  would building a memorial to bin laden near ground zero be like that?  yes.  yes it would be.  but they're now comparing muslims to NAZIS?!?!??!??!?! 


are you fucking SERIOUS!?! 

and let's remember that freedom of religion is a fucking constitutionally guaranteed right here in the USA.  and we have separation of church and state - so while it's wonderful that we can all have OPINIONS on this, peter king, gingrich, bloomberg, and patterson should keep their fucking fingers out of this pot and get on with business as usual.  hey, fuckwads, how about listening to anthony weiner and working on that 9/11 first responders compensation act??  instead of worrying about a fucking mosque going up completely legally and shit, why don't you all DO SOMETHING FOR THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HELPED PUT THE FUCKING CITY BACK TOGETHER?!?!?!?! ASSHATS!!


unlike the president, i can comment on the wisdom of building a mosque that near ground zero.  new yorkers are nothing if not opinionated, and i see many lawsuits in the future, lots of protesting, and possibly spitting on or the throwing of feces on muslims trying to worship at this proposed mosque.  with all this publicity, you can bet that the tourists will get in on the spitting-and-throwing-things too. 

maybe they'll get a lap dance first, like any good 'christian' would.

i say go forth and build your mosque in the general vicinity of ground zero.  and i'd like to think that building a place of worship this close to ground zero is actually an honor to the memory of those we lost that day.  i'd like to think that many of the muslims worshipping there may take some time out to remember the more than 3000 people who died that day, and pray for them and their families.  and maybe pray for the rest of the world to have a little more love and tolerance. 

i know that's something that i pray for on a regular basis.

UPDATE:  while i have not been able to find any documentation of a supposed opening date of 9/11/11, the washington post had a recent article about the center - they have not even picked an architect yet.  i can't imagine something like this being done in a year.

the washington post also states that park51 will 'house meeting rooms, a fitness center, a swimming pool, a basketball court, a restaurant and culinary school, a library, a 500-seat auditorium, a Sept. 11 memorial, a reflection space, and a mosque that could attract as many as 2,000 worshipers'.  full article here: washington post article.


  1. while i agree with most of what you wrote- i think the main issue i have with it is that they proposed to open the mosque on 9/11/11. come on- pick another day! maybe thats what initially incited the riot? not sure.

  2. the right wing is just loving this opportunity to label him pro-muslim-because-he-IS-muslim-Obama. I mean, some incredible percentage of americans still think Obama is a secret muslim. And so what if he IS muslim but he's not. If he were faking a religion, would he have faked one with such political consequences as Reverend Wright? And yes, shout it from the highest mountaintops. The mosque is not AT ground zero. Blocks away.