It occurs to me that I haven’t weighed in on the hot topic du jour, the question of whether there should be mosque at Ground Zero.
The argument seems to be: it’s outrageous and offensive that members of a religion be allowed to erect a center of worship right next to where other members of their religion carried out a horrendous and religiously-motivated act of terrorism.
If this logic holds, then presumably it’s not okay to build a Catholic church near Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, since Eric Rudolph is Catholic.
Scott Roeder’s assassination of George Tiller was a religiously-inspired act of terrorism. So should there be an outcry every time someone tries to build a right-wing church next to a Lutheran one? Or next to a medical facility, given the history of religiously-motivated anti-abortion terrorism?
But wait. Why am I distinguishing between Catholics, Lutherans, etc.? As far as I can recall, I haven’t heard word one about whether the people who want to build
the Ground Zero mosque Cordoba House Park 51 are Sunni, Shiite, or something else. As far as the outragees are concerned, they’re just Muslims. Or possibly just foreign.
So let’s forbid churches from building too close to other churches. Or libraries, for that matter, since Hypatia was killed by a Christian mob.
Wait, what’s that? It’s unfair to lump disparate people together, just because they all have the same holy book? Okay, then demonstrate that the people behind Park 51 are in some way connected to, or supporters or sympathizers of, the fanatics behind 9/11. And before you go digging up verses in the Koran where Allah commands war, reread Joshua, Judges, Samuel, etc. where the god of Abraham commands genocide.
I think we can recognize that how a religion is practiced is at least as important as what its book preaches. After all, most or all Christians manage to reinterpret, explain away, or just plain ignore the unsavory parts of the Bible to allow them to square it with 21st-century morality. And if Christians can do it, why not Muslims?
Assuming that the people who’d go to Park 51 are just ordinary, non-murderous New Yorkers with a bunch of silly customs, what’s the harm? Silly isn’t a bad thing: line dancing is silly; Renaissance Faires are silly; science fiction conventions are extremely silly; and coitus is positively ridiculous.
(Update, Sep. 1: typo)