Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who's Funding the Opposition to the Ground Zero "Victory" Mosque?

Yesterday morning before going to the office I was stopped in my tracks by a news report on Fox News saying that Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, wants an investigation of those who are funding the opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque. Crazy, I know. It's like a tricky double-negative sentence, or a word problem in Algebra. I thought maybe the news anchor had gotten it wrong. But, no, it has been widely reported,(New York Daily News, Washington Times, Fox News, Politico, etc.)

Now, in recent weeks I have heard calls for an investigation into who will be funding the Mosque's construction. People want to know if organizations that support terrorists are funneling money into this project. But, for her first public weigh-in on the Ground Zero "Victory" Mosque, the speaker of the house decides to call for an investigation of who might be funding the opposition to the mosque! (It helps to say it out loud.)

My first thought is, "I am opposed to the mosque but I did not know funding was available!"

My second thought is, "Why would Nancy Pelosi choose to make such a statement, right before the November elections and with 64 percent of Americans against the mosque?" If democrats want to retire this fall, why don't they just do it instead of imploding in such a public fashion?

My third and fourth thoughts are, "Is funding available?"

My fifth thought is that I appreciate the interjection of something humorous into a situation that I am actually quite alarmed about. I believe this controversy to be a referendum on what Americans are going to do in the future concerning those who do not properly respect our ideals. (This is the point in the argument where the other 33 percent who support the mosque cry out about freedom of religion. As far as I know, no one is calling for a ban on building mosques in general. This is about respecting the memories of those who died in the 9/11 attacks, and recognizing that, while possibly those who are leading the Cordoba Initiative have only peaceful intentions, those who are our enemies will see this as a holy site, built to commemorate some perceived radical Islamic victory over America and the world.)

My sixth thought is that those who are pushing this mosque project are not politically savvy. If they wanted to gain the respect of the majority of Americans, they would publicly cancel their plans in the name of peace and harmony, and choose to build elsewhere.

My seventh thought is really a question: "Why does the left always think it is a right wing conspiracy when the majority of the people oppose one of their views (think Hillary Clinton)?" To ask who is funding the opposition, in this case, is to forget that everyday Americans are capable of agreeing together on something so obvious.

My eighth thought is borrowed from my friend Rob but worth repeating here. He asks, "Who is funding Nancy Pelosi? They should be forced to wear large red N's on their shirts."

My ninth thought is, "No, really, is funding available?"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Show Me Peaceful Islam

The uproar over the Ground Zero “victory” Mosque— which, thankfully, is gaining momentum—is not a test of our commitment to the freedom of religion, but rather a test of our ability to discern threats to every freedom that we enjoy. I am thankful to see that almost 70 percent of Americans are against the Mosque (64 percent in the latest fox poll. CNN found the same).

Saying that 64 percent of Americans are against the Mosque does not mean that 64 percent of Americans are against freedom of religion. It just means that they have enough insight and sensitivity to realize that the Ground Zero Mosque is a bad idea.

But, the argument continues to center around freedom of religion. So, this is my statement concerning freedom of religion in America:

Any individual or group can worship anything or anyone it wants to so long as that worship does not interfere with another person’s choice of worship so long as that group’s values do not threaten the freedom that others enjoy.

Now, that is a simplistic statement that would need mean caveats if it were to be seriously discussed. But it gets to the issue at hand.

Examples of the freedom of worship in this country and how the line can be crossed resulting in a loss of freedom:

The Ku Klux Klan—Espouse their hideous doctrines if you want to. Even meet together to say stupid things. But when you put a burning cross in a black person’s yard or threaten bodily harm, you become a terrorist and you have to go.

Christianity—We are free to espouse the teachings of Jesus and rejoice over the founder’s faith, etc. We are free to say out loud that we believe abortion is wrong and that homosexuality is a sin. But the second we blow up an abortion clinic or bring bodily harm to homosexuals or lesbians, we have broken the law and become terrorists. (A more radical view may say that violence against abortion clinics and doctors who perform them is more like declaring war on behalf of unborn children, but the fact is, it is legal in this country to have abortions so we must use peaceful means. Those who do not are outside the pale of true Christianity and must be dealt with.)

Islam—Believe in Allah, pray five times a day, wear whatever you want to wear (unless it causes a security breach). But when your beliefs espouse a plan to kill all who do not believe as you do, then you become a terrorist and you do not have the freedom to worship in that way.

Peaceful Islam. Really?

Now we keep hearing about a peaceful Islam. Unless there are two Quran’s, I don’t know how peaceful Islam is possible unless Muslims are admonished to only obey the parts of the Quran that they choose (unlikely). But let’s imagine it is possible. When I look around at Islamic states in the world, I don’t see peace, nor do I hear freedom ring. If there are Islamic states that allow the joyful freedom of worship to all people regardless of their religious persuasion, I am not aware of it. But if it exists, I would wager that there is much turmoil and fear. If none of these things are problems in these peaceful Islamic states, then please elevate them so that we can use their example.

So, here are my current questions:

Could someone please (and I am asking honestly) show me peaceful Islam based on the Quran? I’m not talking about some American experiment trying to create something that does not exist. I mean show me in the Quran where Muslims are allowed to peacefully coexist with other people who do not worship Allah.

Second, if this rare bird of peaceful Islam exists, does it exist in the context of radical Islam? I mean, can it hold its own? When radical Islam comes knocking does peaceful Islam fold the tent and say, “Yes, Master. Whatever you want.”?

Of course peaceful Islam exists in America where it has to exist, but when the competition is defeated and it’s only the family, show me peaceful Islam.

Islam is growing in European countries and with it is coming much turmoil.

Here is a final thought. In America we have had to endure those who burn flags. We don’t agree with it but they have been protected. We have seen seasons of protest. What do you think will happen in America when someone burns a copy of the Quran some day? Cartoons of Muhammad in Denmark brought utter wrath! But that could never happen in America because our love of freedom will protect us.

God save, God help America!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Questions and Answers Concerning the Ground Zero "Victory" Mosque

Is this whole Ground Zero mosque business just press spin?

I don’t think so. We are never free of partisan spin and I expect I expect where it exists it falls along the general lines we always see. But, all in all, I don’t think it is covered enough in the press, though I am hearing about it more and more. No matter how you spin it, at the vortex is a proposed 13 story mosque at the site of the 9/11 bombings (two blocks away), built by the Cordoba Group (Cordoba having an aggressive meaning for Islam [just Google it]). It smacks of a holy site built on the grounds of a perceived victory over America. Even IF the builders don't see it that way it will still serve that purpose for the radicals.

Isn’t freedom of religion at stake here?

All things being equal, freedom of religion is strong argument right up to the point where a radical religious movement blows up the twin towers and plunges the globe into open conflict. Then, things get a little dicey. If Christians had flown planes into the towers in the name of the evangelical church, guess who would be under extreme scrutiny today by EVERYONE? In fact, if a strongly conservative Christian religious church wanted to build near the site it probably would be opposed! Christians have freedom of religion but I was part of a group of Christians who were not allowed to sing a Christian song at the Lincoln memorial. On the news this morning was a report of a group who were asked to stop singing the national anthem at the Lincoln Memorial.

Perhaps this is more about property rights than it is religious freedom.

Perhaps. However, if the Muslims sponsoring this project really want to bring people together and foster peace, let them do it a few blocks further away to prove their motives.

Is this really a monument to an Islamic victory; a holy site?

If this is not a monument to Islam, then why be adamant about building it there? If it is just another mosque going up, then that in itself is an even stronger reason to stop it because the site does mean something to Americans. Not only that, but the proposed 9/11/2011 groundbreaking is conspicuous.

I think every place in the city where the debris fell should be considered a protected area. This would not keep normal building from happening but it could stop projects that keep the conflict going. Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for governor of New York said, “As Governor I will use the power of eminent domain to stop this Mosque and make the site a war memorial instead of a monument to those who attacked our country.” Thank you!

Shouldn’t we be tolerant?

Do you think the Islamic nations are going to welcome Christians now? Has anybody seen signs of an Islamic/Christian love fest going on anywhere in an Islamic state? So, if every now and then, Americans want to pause and say to the other nations of the world, “Slow down, we’d like to retain our identity please.” I think they could cut us some slack!

Why do you say that Islam is a Trojan horse?

As I wrote a few weeks ago, there are statistics that tell us what happens as the Muslim population increases in a non-Muslim country such as the U.S.

At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs.

From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves -- along with threats for failure to comply. At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris , we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam , with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam.

Now, I heard an interesting statistic a couple of weeks ago: that there are one million Muslims in the New York Metro area. Now, my understanding is that there are eight million people in NYC, but 19 million in the larger area. My question is how many Muslims are there in New York City? I wonder what the percentage is to the population as a whole. Further, I wonder if we will see some of the behavior that happens at the 5-10% level sooner here in our own back yard.

Some encouraging news: Construction workers and others are boycotting the plan and Republican gubernatorial candidate Paladino is speaking up, and Bill Reilly predicts that the Mosque will not be built because no construction company in the city will take it.

In many ways, this is a test of nationalism. Can a nation still rise up and do what is best for its own safety, security, and patriotism, or is it forced to bow to global pressure?