Debate on the Mosque At Ground Zero
©2010 By David Talbot
(This opinion is a rebuttal to a recent article by Newt Gingrich, on his website, Newt.org, July 21, 2010)
I respectfully disagree with Newt Gingrich's thesis on the subject of the mosque at Ground Zero. I do agree the mosque should be built in another location. But that's on moral, not legal grounds. And I totally disagree with his demand that until churches and synagogues are allowed to be built in Saudi Arabia, or any other country before we allow a mosque, any mosque, to be built in this country. That kind of logic will get us in trouble here in America with unintended consequences.
It is not our business to demand how other countries conduct their internal affairs. In my opinion, it is totally inappropriate to tie a religious denomination of any kind that operates within the United States, to a specific action of a religious group within another sovereign nation, operating within the scope of that nations legal structure. It is precisely this kind of arrogance and ethnocentrism, that got us where we are today. It's reminiscent of the spoiled brat with a ball demanding the team play by his rules or he's taking his ball and going home. That doesn't work with kids and it won't work with sovereign nations around the globe.
Mr. Gingrich is attempting to inflame Americans to behave exactly like those he despises. His comments about the "double standard" that allows Muslims to demand our submission and weakness, is a vailed assault on two of our most precious freedoms: Freedoms of Speech and Freedom of association. Once we slide down that slope of identifying and then isolating a specific religious organization, who's next?
When you demand to know the funding of a specific project to determine the source of the funding, you imply the information will initiate some legal course of action. Who will decide the parameters of the action and the outcome of the legal proceedings? Who determines the standards of appropriate funding sources? When has any religious organization become the target of such draconian measures in the history of this country?
It is unconstitutional for congress to pass a law that targets a specific person or group of people. If this mosque is required to divulge it's source of funds, so the donors can be identified and investigated, isn't any donor to any religious project in America, or around the world, just one tiny little step away from being investigated as well?
This is all election year politics tapping into certain American’s fear and hatred to achieve a political agenda. The consequences of following ideologues, such as Newt appears to be, could result in the United States becoming the exact duplicate of those countries he's trying to repudiate.
Anyway, that’s my opinion. What’s yours?