No Mosque! No Mosque! The Ground Zero Mosque: Michael Grimm NY-13 and Randy Altschuler NY-1 Explain Why They’re Against It

The primaries in New York come up August 24. In anticipation of that day, I requested interviews with two conservatives, yes, conservatives, running for office around New York City. Randy Altschuler of NY-1 out on Long Island, whom I first interviewed at CPAC [video here] and I recently wrote about with the Chris Cox controversy (establishment Republican). I also had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Grimm running in NY-13 which represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn (his Democrat opponent made a splash when he released a list of the “Jew money” given to Michael Grim).

We talked about everything from illegal immigration to jobs to 9/11 and yes, the Ground Zero Mosque. Both candidates are against the mosque being built there and they both have excellent reasons why.

Please listen to the whole podcast here.

Now, to the subject of the Mosque…

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There are a couple concerning issues on both sides. First, there’s the notion of America’s long tradition of freedom of religion. Americans take this freedom for granted. They’re quite used to assembling where they want, saying what they want, associating how they want. Second, there’s property rights. My turf, my way. (Unless the government wants to take over your house for something or someone, they deem appropriate, see Kelo.)

Americans hold these rights dear, obviously. They define us. In addition, I worry that any wavering on property/assembling privileges will be exploited by leftists eager to create moral equivalence where there is none to restrict rights of other creeds and religions based on their own whims. We have already seen the absurd claims of “Christianist” and the offensive framing of any evil act by a person who happens to be Christian as smearing Christianity. Never mind the always favored anti-Israel bias that pervades leftist thinking and liberal journalism. That concern does not outweigh my bigger concerns, though. Politics and literalism must give way to moral law and common sense here.

On the other side, there’s the fact that America is still at war with the extremist element of the religion represented by the provocatively named Cordoba Mosque. For more on the significance of that name read what Peter Robinson says here. It should be noted that I would feel as discomforted with a similar display at Ground Zero had an extremist element of the Methodist church blown up the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

When a country is at war, they war ideologically, economically, with symbolic acts and finally, with actual bullets and mortar rounds. For those who poo-poo symbolism, I’d like to remind them of the jubilant Iraqis who toppled the Saddam statue in Bagdhad. How about the taking down of the Berlin wall? These were merely pieces of cement, mind you. Why the big deal? Also, since buildings mean nothing symbolically, I’m sure American liberals would have no problem with Israel dismantling the Dome of the Rock–they own the property, after all. Not to mention, THEIR holy ground, the Temple of King David sits there, too.

Symbolism matters. Now, just like Americans are rather agnostic about the American soccer team–we care more for our personal football teams and really, any other sport besides soccer–the nationalism displayed by countries around the world matters to them. It is rather an ego-centric notion, to only look at the Cordoba Mosque building through the lens of American vision alone. A mosque, to world Muslims, built near the ruins of the most outrageous act of terrorism the world has seen, means something to them.

Remember the jubilation by Muslims displayed everywhere from Gaza to Turkey to the slums of France? Well, I do. These same folks watch the building of this mosque with interest. And eagerness. As the Twin Towers site still sits as a pit of despair, a mosque, funded by foreign Muslims will grow as a shrine to the celebrated murderers. This will encourage and embolden the ones we still fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. The mind is powerful and there is nothing like symbolic encouragement to recharge a foe. For those who don’t agree, why would writing letters, mere words, help our troops? How about comfort foods? Symbol! I mean, they can survive on energy bars, why give them food that symbolizes home?

Those who support the mosque remind me of legalistic Christians. They make the laws and rules an idol, not unlike making the Constitution an idol, and therefore make the whole of the truth offensive. For Christians that would be making any law supersede the greater law of love. For Americans, that would be making tenets of the Constitution supersede the greater truth of freedom. We do not serve freedom when we build a monument honoring destruction and subjugation.

That is not to say that moderate American Muslims desire to subjugate their neighbors, or even that they desire to live under Sharia themselves. I have to believe they live in America because they enjoy the freedoms that they would NOT have if they live under Sharia in a Muslim nation. That is also not to say that Mosques are inherently offensive. They’re no more offensive or unoffensive than a Catholic Cathedral or a Jewish Temple, etc. Most edifices built in service to God are built with care and love and epitomize beauty.

The Cordoba Mosque adjacent to Ground Zero is not built just to be a house of worship. It’s being built to offer aid and comfort to our enemies. It is built as a means of demonstrating conquest. It is naive to believe otherwise.

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