SHAME on Chet Edwards- He Opposes that Mosque Near Ground Zero in New York (US House District 17)


 

SHAME on Chet Edwards- He Opposes that Mosque Near Ground Zero in New York (US House District 17)
 


17 August 2010 at 12:47:31 PM
salon

Saw this in the FW Star-Telegram.

A North Texas Democrat, U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, joined Reid in opposing the plan.

"I do not support the building of a mosque near ground zero ... and would urge those planning to do so to reconsider," said Edwards, whose district includes Johnson and Hood counties. "Ground zero should be a site that unites, not divides, our nation."

Critics have said the location of the mosque is insensitive because the terrorists who struck the World Trade Center towers on 9-11 were Islamic extremists. The plans call for a $100 million Islamic center two blocks from the site.

No. What is insensitive is people ignoring that our constitution promotes freedom of religion. The site is not going to be *on* the former World Trade Center site. There are, in fact, other mosques in the same area as well.

So, Chet Edwards is only for freedom of religion as long as it's the RIGHT religion. And what would that reilgion be? And he doesn't consider that his words preventing citizens from buliding a mosque DIVIDES THE NATION? Of course it does.

Some years back I saw Chet Edwards and John Cornyn in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing called "Beyond the Pledge of Allegiance: Hostility to Religious Expression in the Public Square" -Chet Edwards testified about his beliefs in separation of church and state. That same hearing had Roy Moore testifying (the one that wanted to put the 10 commandments on government property). I was really proud to hear Chet Edwards talking about the importance of government staying out of religious issues. I guess that doesn't apply when you're trying to pander your way into continuing as a career politician.

Nor does it for John Cornyn, who talks out both sides of his mouth if you listen to him here. He talks about the free exercise of religion without government intrusion... but now he's against it. I saw where Cornyn said yesterday that this is not about freedom of religion. Oh, yes it is. And this is not true.

"This is not about freedom of religion," Cornyn said. "I do think it's unwise to build a mosque in the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives as the result of a terrorist attack."

It is NOT on the site where American lost their lives.

Obama is RIGHT about this.

Obama said Friday: "Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan." He did not say he thinks that the mosque is a good idea, however. Asked about the controversy Saturday, Obama said, "I was not commenting, and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there."

From Robert Creamer:

But what is not so obvious is that every time a Republican "leader" attacks the notion that a Muslim mosque should be built two blocks from Ground Zero, they are endangering Americans' national security.

Perhaps they haven't noticed that America is still involved -- at one level or the other -- in two ground wars in Muslim countries that General Petraeus has correctly defined as battles for the hearts and minds of their Muslim citizens. Perhaps they forget the long struggle to prevent young Muslim men and women from becoming suicide bombers and fundamentalist extremists that endanger our country.

Every time one of them attacks mainstream Islam in the United States by saying that it would defile "sacred ground" for Muslims to build a house of worship near Ground Zero, they legitimate the claims of Osama Bin Laden to young impressionable Muslims across the world.

What do they think Muslims around the world hear when they say it would "defile sacred ground" for them to worship within two blocks of a sacred American site? They hear contempt and disrespect.

I also like this reference about George Washington.

"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights."

No more toleration, but equality guaranteed. Imagine this idea's tonic effect on the Congregation, "deprived as we heretofore have been," "Seixas wrote, "of the invaluable rights of free Citizens." Muslim-Americans need to hear the same assurances from their fellow Americans, now, when their more hysterical countrymen behave as if citizenship is theirs to confer or deny. As the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said on PBS NewsHour, he "takes offense" that he constantly has to defend that "I am American too."

To be sure, more legitimate than citizenship-checks in this firestorm is the argument that, to the 9/11 families especially, Ground Zero is "hallowed ground" and that a mosque "towering" over this sacred site is a desecration. One pauses at this appeal for deference to the dead. But, with all due respect, the argument begins to break down when you ask, How far away is the proper distance: five blocks, twelve blocks, a borough away? Lost in the uproar is the fact that two mosques already exist in the neighborhood and have operated for decades, one four blocks from Ground Zero, the other twelve blocks. And the head of the planned 9/11 mosque---actually it's to be a multi-purpose community center---has been imam of a mosque ten blocks north of Ground Zero for 30 years. (He's also served in Mid-east outreach initiatives of both the Obama and Bush administrations.)

But distance and deference are not the point. The Anti-Defamation League got it wrong when it stated, "ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right." No, ultimately it is a question of rights---constitutional rights, rule of law, religious liberty. The head of ADL implied as much later when he said, of the victims' families, their feelings must be honored---"even if irrational or bigoted" [emphasis mine]. Again, "to bigotry no sanction," even in suffering. (It must be noted bigotry, being hate-filled---hating all things Muslim, for example---can only exacerbate one's suffering.)

To resolve this firestorm, then, will take wisdom, oceans of it, a capacity George Washington cast in these provisional terms:

"If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and happy people."

 

Chet Edwards needs to stop, on the one hand, pretending that he respects religious expression and separation of churcn ahd state and on other, making an opinion on a mosque being built in a state not his own, not on ground zero and which has a right to do so ... or our constitutional rights mean nothing.

 

 


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