It does not take much for many Christians to throw down the Christian Card and declare war on themselves. They loudly point out the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment. But, many of them read “religion” as synonymous with “Christian” and “freedom” to abridge all other religions and non-theists. The War on Christmas, laws against sharia, and dismissal of rights for non-theists or atheists run hot and are but a few examples of their self-declared “War on Religion (or alternately, Christianity)” . They take the whole Onward Christian Soldiers thing very seriously in the same way the blitzkrieg was serious.
Poobah Self Disclosure: I’m an atheist. You may be a Christian…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
America is an unhappy place these days. Opposing forces not only bludgeon each other bloody, but as Mitch McConnell recently announced, they make it a political priority to wipe out their opposition like Genghis Kahn scorching the earth of the steppes. Nowhere is this fighting as pointless and picayunish as in the Secular v. Non Secular Death Cage Match.
As a rule of thumb Republicans are the logical home of the stupidly religiously zealous. Folks like the Family Research Council, Glenn Beck, and loopy Michele Bachmann trumpet vuvuzela the superiority of the God-ed while practicing the most shockingly unchristian behavior against the ungod-ed. Even their captive audience of soft-headed, opportunistic political drones have trouble with them – especially when they stop donating money and votes.
The religious zealots have a huge David and Goliath thing going on. “Dear God, give me a slingshot and guide mine rock into the eye of my Godless oppressors, the libruls.”
But fundamentalists have no lock on the asshat zealot market. Stop by a Jesus Freakery and read the comments. Go to a Atheisterie and the words seem plagiarized from the same source, “You’re a know-nothing asshole who’s a traitor intent on wiping out what crumbs of democracy we still have left.”
And one more similarity. Almost all the over the top bloviation mentions how much anyone who disagrees is some sort of hate-filled, brainless zot – as though we’re all Little Georgie Shrubs.
Most Christians are reasonably sane and the same goes for the secular crowd. All the reasonable ask is a bit of wiggle room because they’re entitled to it. They want to go to church (or not), put up the occasional Christmas Holiday tree (or not), and be safe from the incessant yawping of people who would staple the 10 commandments to everyone’s forehead or consign religious gatherings to a dank cellar with the lights turned out – sort of an ecumenical Gitmo.
But out there on the dark edge of Firebase Freedom lurk nuts to the left of us and nuts to the right of us, as unreasonably pissed about the, “In God We Trust” motto as they are by the, “Christians über alles and the hell with anyone else” brigade.
The balance between freedom of religion and freedom from religion is delicate and a very narrow gap. One person’s “absolute” freedom is another’s horrible shackle.
As with all Constitutional rights, we don’t get to vote on them or change them at will to suit our fancy. However, there’s nothing wrong with a legitimate argument about where the line lays. But, meanness for the sake of meanness is meaningless, rude, and counter-productive.
So everyone, let’s kiss and make up so we can go back to something important, like hating Congress and the President.
You know, something useful.
- FYI – Religious Freedom In Indonesia. (jwitness.wordpress.com)
- U.S. claims restrictions on religious freedom in Azerbaijan. (jwitness.wordpress.com)
- Is ‘Freedom of Religion’ Necessary? (friendlyatheist.com)
- Do atheist activists poison everything? (barefootbum.blogspot.com)
- The Future of Secular Humanism (superscholar.org)
- The Forgotten “Social Issue” (thecynicalchristian.blogspot.com)
- Middle East Christians are told to embrace secularist drive | Austen Ivereigh (guardian.co.uk)
- -What’s the Difference: ‘Freedom of Religion’ vs. ‘Freedom of Worship’ (answersforthefaith.com)
- I Get Email (spaninquis.wordpress.com)
- The Secular Donation Box (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)
- Religion: A Peril for Jews: Secularism (time.com)
- Who persecutes believers? Other believers (liberalconspiracy.org)
- Landmarks in the Critical Study of Secularism (3quarksdaily.com)
- Rick Santorum: DADT is Part of a Secularist Plot to Push Religion Out of the Public Square (crooksandliars.com)
- Spiritual Life of an Atheist: Values Matter, Not Belief – Lessons From A Second Viewing of Avatar (sannejohnson.wordpress.com)
- Call to ban school assemblies by secularists who claim ‘Christian character’ infringes children’s human rights (dailymail.co.uk)
OK people, let’s calm down! Let’s just stop all this mosqlitizing and use a little common sense for a moment, shall we? Don’t make me turn this country around.
At its heart, the Non-Ground Zero Non-Mosque Mosque™ is a simple zoning application gone awry. If the gutted shell of that ex-Burlington Coat Factory sat almost anywhere else on Earth, the NYC Planning Department would be looking at how much traffic the place would generate and how many toilets to require per person. Instead, it’s caught between creating an international incident and/or sparking Civil War II.
What ever happened to the idea that governmental decision-making should be forced down to the local level? I mean come on, it doesn’t get any more local than a planning department.
There are literally dozens of places this kerfuffle could’ve been avoided, but as usual, many people were busy helping demagogues turn themselves into demigods instead of simply minding their own business.
Encouraging the Bullies
It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that building anything remotely connected to Islam was going to be an uphill battle in today’s America. Of course, the Muslims could’ve simply opted to put their center somewhere else, but they’re under no obligation to voluntarily abandon their Constitutional rights. Although they shouldn’t be surprised at the blowback either. And quite frankly, giving in once they started down this road would’ve been a mistake anyway. There is no better way to encourage bullies than to back down from them when threatened.
As for the anti Mosqueteers, they seem to have bought into this newfangled delusion that the Constitution is up for a vote whenever you don’t like something. To hear them tell it, if Muslims want to erect a religious venue the Constitution cannot be allowed to stand. However, if the Baptists want to nail the 10 Commandments to every flat surface in the Republic, it’s a Constitutional right. I’m not sure if this is a terminal case of disengenuosity or a complete inability to recognize irony when it bites them on the ass.
Ground Zero used to be two gleaming towers of steel. A brace of buck-ass krazy kamikazes turned it into a smoking hole in the ground. Many people (not Christians or Muslims or Jews or Atheists, or Druids… just plain folks) died. It was a horrific thing, especially if you had friends or family there or were just coming out or the subway as the towers fell.
When Lunatics Run Amok
But as bad as it was, bad things happen when lunatics run amok. As much as Commander Mission Accomplished would’ve like you to believe there is a “war” we can “win”, it just ain’t so. The best we can do it mitigate the problem by taking reasonable counter measures – duct tape, roll-plastic, and MRIs for airline passengers need not apply.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Americans were pissed. They looked upon the wreckage-choked harbor as a hallowed place where the nation could focus in an attempt to never let such a tragedy happen again. Today, tourists from across the globe, including a hefty number of Japanese, come to visit the place with cameras in tow and leis on display. The place is no less hallowed because of the gauche tourists and would be no less hallowed if a Shinto shrine went up.
In essence, both places are geographic spots on a map. Soil is soil. They are special because we made them special. They are hallowed because we all agreed they are hallowed. The point is that when someone from the opposite side of the policitical or religious spectrum agrees with you, shut up and stop arguing with them. You’re on the same side!
If not, we’re no better than those krazy kamikazis. If there is a war to be won or lost, it will be decided over the idea that crazies can knock down some expensive real estate and we will willingly make ourselves more like them.
After all, that was exactly their intent.
- Mosque Opponents: Bigots, Opportunists, and Krauthammer (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Muslims should respect the hallowed ground where thousands died (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Ajay Singh Chaudhary: The “Mosque Affair,” or, Far and Away the Country’s Most Ridiculous Controversy (huffingtonpost.com)
- Someone buy Krauthammer a street map (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Mira Schor: My Whole Street Is a Mosque (huffingtonpost.com)
- Letter: Muslims should be saying ‘no’ (commercialappeal.com)
- “Who Are the Real Cordoba House Provocateurs?” and related posts (insideoutthebeltway.blogspot.com)
- Mosque Near Ground Zero Divides Sept. 11 Relatives (abcnews.go.com)