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Bigotry? I Don’t Think So.

Hey, Bruce: [1]

[2]

Bruce McQuain

This “Ground Zero” mosque controversy [3] has begun to rankle me. It is my understanding that those who want to build the “ground zero” mosque own the property there.

Secondly, it really isn’t adjacent to the old World Trade Center site, but a few blocks away.

Even if it is adjacent, however, if the first part is true, then it is theirs to build what they wish. I may or may not be happy about it, but they are the property ownthe ers and what is built there is their business.

The Anti-Defamation League seems to understand that as well, however, under the guise of “doing what is right” it acknowledges the mosque builder’s rights but then dismisses them in favor of the bigotry of those who oppose them. In a statement they said: [4]

Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right. So the bigotry expressed in this is “unfair, and wrong”, but to hell with rights, we’ll side with the arbitrary and subjective “what is right”.

An amazing statement coming from a group which was founded to fight bigotry against Jews.

Thankfully not all Jews feel that way.  They also understand how profoundly wrong headed the ADL’s statement is.  From J-Street:

The principle at stake in the Cordoba House controversy goes to the heart of American democracy and the value we place on freedom of religion. Should one religious group in this country be treated differently than another? We believe the answer is no.

As Mayor Bloomberg has said, proposing a church or a synagogue for that site would raise no questions. The Muslim community has an equal right to build a community center wherever it is legal to do so. We would hope the American Jewish community would be at the forefront of standing up for the freedom and equality of a religious minority looking to exercise its legal rights in the United States, rather than casting aspersions on its funders and giving in to the fear-mongerers and pandering politicians urging it to relocate.

Exactly right.  Another way of saying all of this is “grow up”.  You either have religious freedom and ownership rights or you don’t.  It isn’t a “right” if it can be selectively applied under the arbitrary rubric of “what is right” fueled by bigotry.

Sigh.
I’m not convinced that this can be considered bigotry .  Might we expect the same kind of concessions from the world of Islam , say setting up a Jewish temple in the middle of Mecca?  I tend to doubt it.  And the current tussle over Jerusalem would seem to answer that question before it is fully uttered.  I don’t seem to recall anybody accusing Islam of bigotry there, can you?

I wonder a bit at the dependence on law and government, here. If there are many here ( @ Q&O) who claim the title of “libertarian”. Martin mentions the fine line between legalities and social correctness.  I’m usually not much on social correctness, but I am less enthralled with dependence on legalities.  Trying to dance the line between those two we invariably end up with the kind of situation being described in the article.  And certainly, such a dance is not inspired by the fundamentals of libertarianism.

The entire question surrounding whether not something should or should not be the legal in this case strikes me as not being in keeping with the libertarian mindset.  Because something is legal doesn’t make it the right thing to do.  Or, so I have been told several times over the years.

They may well have the right under law to do as they propose.  That said, might we at least agree that it is a singularly insensitive and provocative act?