Freedom of Religion

In my Facebook world, the decision regarding a mosque to be built at Ground Zero is topic of discussion this morning.

By turns, I’m emotionally outraged and sympathetic towards elected leaders.

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See, President Obama, by daring to even speak publicly about this subject,  has placed himself in the ever-fun world of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”

On the one hand, supporting construction of a building to worship at the altar of a religion that was used (in a twisted interpretation) to inspire and motivate suicide bombers is an affront to the patriotism and emotional solidarity of the Christian Majority.

On the other hand, he did promise during his inauguration to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Which, via the First Amendment, contains guidelines regarding Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, etc., etc….

In common terms, Separation of Church and State.

If the builders have followed all regulations regarding zoning, permit and licensing laws, then, it seems the Constitution would uphold them proceeding, regardless of whether they build a Starbucks or a Mosque.

The announcement of such, however, lures the Patriotic Heart with calls of, “Hey!  I’m capable of ticking you off.  Come out and play….”

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In contradiction of my usual manner (flying off the handle and eloquently stating my outrage via a 10,000 word blog) I instead listened to my rational self.

“What’s going on in the background while this bonfire is being fed?”

I find it interesting that Congress reconvenes on September 13th.   And you had better be registered to vote no later than October 4th.

Cyberspace Security Act 2009 and Illegal Immigration Reform bills are making their stealthy way through chambers and across desks in our nation’s capital.

I also keep track of the activities supported by Big Pharma and those who genetically modify seeds.

In your understandable emotional angst, don’t forget to keep your eye on the ball.

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I refer you to page 179 of Customs and Culture by Eugene A. Nida:

“Legislating or ranting against socially harmful practices is not likely to have much effect.  Preaching itself is relatively useless unless it offers something distinctly better”

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Dear reader, if I’ve bumped once more into your sacred beliefs, I am truly sorry.   But I cannot help but remember there are Muslims who were born and bred in this country, who fight by the side of their fellow American soldiers, who get up every morning, kiss their spouse good-bye and hope both they and their children all return home at the end of the day, safe and happy.  Who contribute their minds, hearts and hands to local economies and new discoveries.

So for my part, I’d like to see a Center for Education at Ground Zero.

I’d like to see a ring of buildings that allows visitors to learn about Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna (I like this, god of divine love and joy, plus Humor!), Mother Teresa, Ghandi, Yi Ying, Ben Franklin….the list goes on and on.

See how quickly I got from listing prophets of religions to secular leaders?

The wise and faithful come in various shapes, sizes, nationalities and beliefs.   We each have the opportunity to create more distress and add to the hate in this world, or contribute to tolerance and peace.

I remember 9/11 vividly.   By day three, my broken heart could no longer stand anymore TV viewing.   It soared to hear Toby Keith’s Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.  (I’m a big fan of kickin’ arse… when needed…)

I did not personally know anyone in targeted buildings.

I do, however, know what’s it’s like to lose a beloved suddenly and unexpectedly to an enemy I didn’t see coming.

I’m just asking for us to please, not keep repeating our past mistakes.

Not all Germans were Nazis (Albert Einstien and Oskar Schindler come to mind)

Not all Catholics served as torturers or supporters for The Inquisition (two of my favorite Catholics are Galileo Galilei and Nostradamus.)

And from what I’ve been exposed to, there are plenty of Muslims requesting,

“Please, Please do not lump us in with those nuts….”

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I know it hurts.  It seems like condoning actions of those you ardently oppose.    But we sacrifice our own Freedoms when we say,

“Yes, there’s Freedom of Religion and separation of Church and State, just not here, and not for you….”

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