Friday, August 20, 2010

Mosques of the Illuminati

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," doling out obscure wordplay since 2005! If you get this title, you can't help yourself. You are Discordian!

Before today's sermon gets under way, I want to direct your attention to an interesting new blog called You, Me & Religion. This is an ongoing interview site in which people of various faith paths answer the same series of questions, from the point of view of their religions. It's the kind of broad spectrum forum that we of "The Gods Are Bored" find fascinating. The administrator only posts once a week, so it's an easy follow.

And now, on to today's sermon: The mosque at Ground Zero.

Yawn, yawn, yawn! Hasn't enough been said about this, and loudly, and with liberty and justice for all? Rants from the Right about a religion so evil that it celebrates the killing of 3,000 people and now wants to rub (Christian) America's nose in the destruction! Rants from the Left (yeah, Keith, that would be you) about our Founding Fathers weeping in their graves because those opposing a mosque near Ground Zero are trampling on the sacred Constitution... Rants, rants, rants!

It's time for some calm.

America (and here I include Islamic America), make yourself a cup of chamomile tea. Ground. Center. Breathe.

Now, let's be sensible.

If it is indeed true that Islam is just another religion with no motive beyond the worship of Allah (busy god, that Allah), then it would be good form for the people wishing to worship close to Ground Zero to heed the pulse of the nation and relocate. Polls indicate that the majority of Americans (myself included) think that this chosen site near Ground Zero is not the best for an Islamic community center. You will convince me otherwise if this center will be serving a resident Islamic community in that neighborhood. If there aren't Muslim kids playing stickball in the street around where that center would go, I say ... relocate.

However, having said that, I find it disgraceful that so many Americans would lump every follower of Allah into the same tarball as the jihadists who bombed the Trade Center. Are you serious, America? If Muslims were that dangerous, who would dare go to the shopping mall?

I guess some Muslims would want to tell me that building a community center near Ground Zero would be their way of memorializing the Muslims who were killed on 9/11. Point taken, but can I politely tell you to seek another means to that end? Now I will tell you why.

There's been so much publicity about this building, and so much hate and vitriol aimed at it, that I would be very surprised if the place got built and used without any social friction. This is my polite way of saying, "If you build it, they will bomb." And by they, I don't mean the grieving 9/11 families. I mean the nut cases out there who really believe every Muslim wants to bash buildings and brag about it.

The Muslim people who want to use that building will not be safe. It's as simple as that. Some maniac, inspired more by the Second Amendment than the First, will do a vigilante thing.

So, what exactly is the point of proceeding with this community center at this location, at this time? Reader, you know how I feel about the First Amendment. I'm not arguing their right to open a Mosque near Ground Zero. I'm arguing their reason for doing it. Did Allah tell them they had to buy that building?

So I guess if I was on a show called Countdown with Anne Johnson, I wouldn't spend 11 minutes railing about freedom of religion. I'd spend two minutes counseling a little common sense. Then I would have nine minutes in which to show you how to remove that pesky chocolate smear from your favorite recliner. There's high-minded principle, and there's everyday reality. And in everyday reality, if you're gonna build a place of worship that will serve your people safely, you heed the social tenor before breaking ground.

As our ushers pass the plate, it's time to remind you that Druids don't build any kind of structures for their worship. We're not smarter or better than Muslims. But in today's America I think we run less risk of drawing nutcase ire ... and hence, nutcase fire.

Good night and good luck.


giveacrap said...


1/ Muslim kids playing stickball in the streets. You're kidding right? As I've read it, the bottom floors of the building under dispute are an indoor recreational center for (guess who?) kids of any faith to play. Yes. They can't play stickball in the streets there---although a sizable gym might be more than adequate. Anyway, I'm not sure I'd want them playing stickball on crowded city streets (vs. neighborhood streets).

2/ I guess it would truly take a demented a*hole to assume the Second Amendment confers on him the right to ignore US laws by bombing a prayer center. One may bomb the mosque, just as others may bomb or torch black churces, but under cover of the Second? Nope. They're just evil maniacs as prone as some other maniac may be to bomb the Men's Club just down the street from the center (maybe because there are no kids playing stickball there. . .?).

I wonder what the FF's thought about considering "the social tenor" before pursuing an action that is supported by two of pillars of our Bill of Rights (1+5) that they wrote.

BTW: You don't generate "calm" by taking a side that you don't really support convincingly. Works just as well, maybe better, when you present both sides dispassionately ,urge consistency and consensus, and urge both sides to follow the "better angels of their nature".

. . .ust sayin'

Lori F - MN said...

I don't think ANY religious structures should be built at ground zero.
A memorial at the base, naming all the victims, including a wall for police and fire fighters. Areas for prayers for the fallen, all kinds of prayer.

giveacrap said...

There was a Greek Orthodox Church very near the Ground Zero site (much, much less than two blocks away). The original church at the site was destroyed by the tower collapse. Should that "religious structure" be "built at Ground Zero"?

Or should they heed my demand---because I'm not Greek Orthodox and a Greek Orthodox Church there would truly offend me--- and build somewhere else. Say five or six blocks away. For that matter, how big a shadow does that "hallowed WTC" umbrella cast? Ten blocks? Two miles? Beyond the American borders? Around the world? Should our anger reach to Pakistan (97% Muslim) where 2000 have died (Hey, our God's half way to equalizing the death toll there with the WTC body count!)

Many more people are still in jeopardy because of the flood.How deep should our hatred toward them reach? Just deep enough to satisfy our fears? Just deep enough to satisfy our misunderstandings about the religion? Just deep enough to satisfy our prejudices?

We have rightful unforgotten bitterness against members of another religion. Do we wield those feelings against an entire religion? A suffering nation like Pakistan? Should we risk marginalizing the mainstream members of Islam? Creating more enemies? We have every right to protest, to oppose . . .but we should be aware of the long term consequences of our own acts.

A bitter member of the Greek Orthodox Church killed my great grandfather. Where and when does my hatred toward the normal members of his faith end? That's not true of course. . .just askin'

Kathryn said...

I could be wrong, but I thought I read or heard that there already is an Islamic group using the current space, so why shouldn't it continue, even if it's new and expanded?

Anne Johnson said...

Dear give,

I'm not sure I didn't argue convincingly on this. An African Methodist Episcopal church committee can decide to build a community center next to a fairgrounds where the KKK regularly meets. Would this be a safe decision for the people who would be attending that church? What's not convincing about my concern for the safety of the users of that site in Manhattan? I believe they have already been compromised by the publicity, even if they're already there.

I do not condone animosity towards Muslims, but I think it's unwise to shrink from the fact that it exists in this country.

As to the Second Amendment, it gives Americans the right to bear firearms (the "well regulated militia" part is a whole different debate). Not everyone who bears a firearm within those Constitutional rights will use it as part of a well-regulated militia. You just caught a little "Gods Are Bored" satire.

But my point, well-argued I think, is that a faith group should put the safety of its followers ahead of any political statement. Just ask the Amish who were forced to place iridescent warning signs on the backs of their buggies. Eventually, after much litigation and more prayer, they decided to do it, thus saving their lives and the lives of others sharing the roads with them.

giveacrap said...


I'm not convinced YOUR "concern for the safety of the users of that site" has any bearing at all on which choice the "users" decide to make. Perhaps. . .just perhaps. . .it's all in the spirit of many in this country's history who risked their lives in the name of what they consider a noble cause. These Muslims are willing to put their safety and the safety of others on the line in the name of helping us define our definition of freedom. If they're American Muslims, and they are, they are possibly Muslims who are, as atheist Sam Harris might say "unwilling to "deform an ancient faith into a death cult", who "haven't misconstrued their religious obligations" and who deserve the right to prove that without some whacko bombing them.

You originally wrote "If you build it they will bomb". One does not bomb with a firearm or snipe with a bomb. I didn't introduce the bomb to the discussion. My #2 made the distinction clear enough. Nowhere in the Constitution are we given the right to bomb. We, and American Muslims, believe it or not, are given Amendments 1 and 5. And whether the nutjob kills with a gun or a bomb, he's breaking the law. NOTE: If zoning restricts don't prohibit it, you can open a Sam's In your neighborhood. If some crazy objects "a bit strenuously" to a Sam's in the neighborhood and blows it to smithereens, are we going to prohibit the building of another Sam's in its place?

You don't want to gloss over the "thus saving their lives and THE LIVES OF OTHERS" part. Any chance that the government will impose requirements that Muslims wear an identifying mark, like big red "Ms" tattooed on their foreheads, for example, for Muslims' own safety and the safety of others? I don't want to be around when a stray bomb goes off. Where are my rights?

Kathryn: I don't think so. Though I can tell you that there are Islamic prayer centers at Quantico and West Point...both of which are training centers for thousands who have fought and died for our First and Fifth Amendment rights. Oh, and there's an all faith worship center at the Pentagon, a 9/11 attack site, that allows Muslim worship.

Anne Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne Johnson said...

Give, I'm going to go back to my analogy with the Amish. There was a small Amish community in rural western Pennsylvania who used their buggies on the winding rural roads. People in cars were having accidents with the buggies because the drivers couldn't see the buggies until impact. A judge ordered the Amish to affix bright yellow triangular reflectors on the rear of their buggies. The Amish refused on religious grounds -- the reflectors were deemed "worldly."

This was a decision that did not have any haters on either side, just two groups of people with different views. And of course the First Amendment protects the Amish in this case. But eventually the Amish voluntarily placed the reflectors on their buggies after conferring with the leadership of their community. That decision, I believe, reflected their consideration of the safety of their own people and the people outside their community.

Have you ever walked into a place where you suddenly knew that you weren't welcome? I did it plenty in Detroit. Sometimes I stayed, and sometimes I left -- depending on the haters. When you can't reason with someone, it's not wise to assert your rights.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Chillax Broseph
-teh spare

giveacrap said...

I believe the reason why that analogy doesn't quite hold is the "hate/hater/hatred" factor. Amish are white. They're Christian. Muslims are dark-skinned, they worship Allah. A radical portion of their religion killed almost 4k people on 9/11. President Obama is a Muslim. . . . . . .

Mark Shields made an interesting analogy that's a little more precise on the News Hour last eve comparing or shall I say contrasting, this country's reactions to cross (a Christian symbol) burnings by the KKK at hangings and house burnings and fatal floggings while they read Biblical scripture. He asks a pertinent question. "Would we ascribe to Christianity those crimes?" Michael Gerson nodded in sad agreement. But this hysteria and its related demands tell me that the "logic" at work in the mosque fiasco should oblige us to condemn Christianity and not a few of its most perverse adherents for the crimes of the KKK. Am I right?

I'm still wondering why the onus should rest on the Muslims to adapt to the wishes of the screaming masses when, in a Christian society, the responsibility should rest with the (largely Christian) majority to demonstrate compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and some kind of intelligent sense of the signals their zealotry to non-radical Muslims worldwide.Serious questions concerning international relations hover ominously over the events at 51 West.

Sarita Rucker said...

giveacrap -- May I recommend that you come back to this after sleeping, or at least after having relaxed? It seems to me that you're changing the meaning of what Anne's saying, which means that you are either full of it (sorry, I can't think of a nicer way to say it) or that you just need to take a few deep breaths. I'm hoping that deep breaths will help.

Anne -- I've been irritated that anyone would argue about a mosque being built near Ground Zero, but I hadn't considered it from the angle you've presented. I would like to think that there won't be ANY real danger to people attending a mosque near Ground Zero, but I know better.

Then again, depending on how they (the Muslims building it and running the mosque) handle it, things could cool down. They probably won't eliminate danger, but...they could reduce it.


people either forget or don't know that there has been a small mosque there for about 6 years...all they are doing is making it bigger and putting in a place for kids to play (all faiths) and a center for religious tolerance..sigh*.
our constitution isn't Luby' can't just take a tray and say I'll have some of that but not that and more of that..our country was founded on freedom of religion..them old may flower folks left england because the brits didn't like the way they worshiped..which is why the first amendment is about freedom of religion...nuff said.we can walk it talk it ...facts won't change.

giveacrap said...

senorita sarita: You charge that I'm "changing the meaning of what Anne is saying". That's an easy charge to make, but it's meaningless unless you can point out where, exactly, I'm "changing" her "meaning.

If you can't be specific, you've basically composed a 6+ line response with no substance and forced me to waste time asking you to provide same.

YELLOWDOG: And there's an established mosque 12 blocks away from the site. Maybe that'll be too close once people realize they can, indeed, treat the Constitution like a "Luby's" and get away with it. . .? It's worth noting that cafeterias like Luby's are fading from the American scene---maybe that'll happen to our Bill of Rights some day. . .

Anne Johnson said...

"Amish are white. They're Christian. Muslims are dark-skinned, they worship Allah. A radical portion of their religion killed almost 4k people on 9/11. President Obama is a Muslim. . . . . . ."

I'm assuming you're being sarcastic now yourself, give. President Obama is not a Muslim. He's a Christian, not that we should give a damn about his religion at all.

You totally missed the point of my analogy. The Amish, when faced with a decision to abide by strictures against worldly reflectors on their buggies and the possibility that someone could get hurt by not seeing them on the roadway at night, opted to place the reflectors on their buggies. This had nothing to do with the fact that they were white Christians. It had to do with the fact that they weighed safety issues and decided to affix the reflectors.

I'm repeating myself, but I can't resist the impulse to engage in dialogue with wackadoos.

So here's another analogy:

If a desperate band of eco-terrorists bombs a construction site on the edge of a wildlife refuge, do we hold the entire conservation movement to blame?

But now I'm not sure what you're trying to communicate anyway. The point of my post was simple. The Muslim community of Manhattan has every right to build and use a community center at the proposed location. My PERSONAL feeling is that they won't be safe there due to the rash of publicity that has stirred anti-Muslim sentiment THAT I DO NOT SHARE.

Sunday's New York Times Op-ed section has three terrific articles about this topic. But by all means come back here to The Gods Are Bored any time you want to make no sense whatsoever.

giveacrap said...

Wow. First time on ANY blog I've been cut off for no apparent reason. Or perhaps you do not accept URLs? Or perhaps there's an (undisclosed) word limit on posts? So here's a much shorter (by about 65%) version without URLs . If this is rejected I'll know what's going on.

In the rejected post I pointed out several reasons why your Amish/Muslim comparison sags.

I also traded "assignments" with you, Read Nick Kristof's op-ed in Aug 21 He's a good guy.

Check out Jeffrey Goldberg on today's MTP re Rauf's credentials and sincerity.

Read Lexington in The Economist Aug 7, p32

Check out the 2007 RAND report--- can't risk a URL //I'm not even sure if I can risk a frowny on here ---MG574.pdf (around pp 70-74) concerning the importance to our national security of not marginalizing American or moderate Muslims worldwide.

This is the kind of info that informs my thinking. If it's whackadoo to you. . .well, there you go. May the gods bless you and keep you.

Should blacks have moved their churches and communities when Bible-totin' KKK members were torching churches and killing their fellow blacks? Should they have done that in the name of safety?

giveacrap said...

You're concerned about the safety of those in the immediate vicinity of the mosque. I'm concerned about things like national security. See the RAND study I referenced in the second post of mine that didn't make it through your screen.
Read Nick Kristof on the Aug 21 nyt web site.

IMHO: If you're going to moderate, do it consistently, not just when the poster's ideas don't fit yours.
If you have limitations on the number of characters per post, or if there are other content limitations, state them up front instead of applying them seemingly at random. A max of 4076 characters/ post?

You've got my email. Drop me a note. I'm dying to hear your explanations.

giveacrap said...

My first four comments popped onto your blog within seconds. Now that the "comment moderation has been enabled" (two or three of my posts ago) we'll see what happens.

Just a brief reference---no URLs, because I'm still not clear what "The Gods" stance is on this. . .

---Kevin Drum at today's Mother Jones 8/23 website on "Karen Hughes and the Mosque"--- Reminiscent of the third paragraph of my first post.

One part of of what I've been saying. That, and the possible international (not local) security implications.

Kevin Drum, Nick Kristlf, Jeffrey Goldberg ---wackadoos.

Intense Guy said...

I think the even bigger issue is that 9 years later - nothing has been built on the site and there is still tons of contention (and way too much politics) in play for anything to be built there anytime soon.

...who atcually owns "ground zero"? They are getting screwed.

Anne Johnson said...

Comment moderation at "The Gods Are Bored" begins 5 days after a post has been posted. This is from Blogger.

Length of comments is dictated by Blogger. I don't know enough about computers to do a damn thing about URLs that don't show up.

Length of my entries is my business and is based on the amount of time I have to devote to blogging. My opinion is just that. An opinion. And I stand by this one.

Now, give, please return to your bridge, because the tolls are not being collected in your absence.

M Pennanti said...

I skipped through most of the comments and didn't read thoroughly because of all the incoherent rage. Sorry.

I think you make a good point that a mosque where there wasn't a community wouldn't make sense.

But there is a mosque in that neighborhood already (it's 4 blocks from the WTC, 30 years old), because there's a muslim community there. This isn't a mosque, but it is a community center that wants to serve the area muslims.

I read that it was specifically modeled off a Jewish community center on 92nd street, one that is explicitly NOT a synagogue.

I'm mostly angry at the sensationalist "journalism" on the topic, given that it's not actually at Ground Zero, and that it's not a mosque. It's not even visible from WTC area - you have to walk around looking for it to find it.

News in this country has gone to hell.

Anne Johnson said...

M, thank you for your sensible and coherent arguments. This is how I learn. If there is a Muslim community in that area, then by all means that's where their community center ought to be. Stupid smokescreen issues like this blind us to the frightening realities that no one wants us to know -- like the fact that the middle class is disappearing and that most of America's lost jobs aren't coming back.