On Religious Liberty and the American Experiment…

Posted by Melvin Bray on August 16th, 2010 filed in Useful Perhaps

I agree with almost everything Joan Walsh says on Hardball today, and almost only the last thing proffered by the other two.

Islam did not attack America on 9-11; terrorists did. Peace-loving, law-abiding Muslim Americans suffered losses as great on 9-11 and in the months that followed as any honored with the moniker “9-11 families.” Not only did Muslims lose loved-ones in the towers and as passengers on the planes that crashed that day, they also suffered the psychic trauma of all Americans. Furthermore, their losses were compounded by the demonization of persons perceived to be Muslim, which resulted in a dramatic rise in random hate crimes, racial profiling, unjust arrests and extraordinary rendition.

This is yet another example of conservatives’ ability to name so effectively. A mosque isn’t being proposed for Ground Zero; it’s a community center, to be built at 45 Park Place (multiple blocks away from Ground Zero) by an organization that has been serving that community for years. The underlying nativist renegotiation of our nation’s fundamental ideals as articulated in this debate and the one over the 14th Amendment is troubling. If Americans allow ourselves to be led any further down this road, we may find ourselves in such an emotive and irrational place that good sense and common decency can’t redeem us.

We pray often, “God bless America,” but if we spurn those blessings–the blessings of our best intuitions, the blessings of each other–with what are we left?

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