Friday, July 16, 2010

Let the Mosque be built near Ground Zero

There are few things more important to the American experience than the freedom of religion.

Post New World England fought for hundreds of years about religion. It didn’t seem to matter that opposing sides were just a degree or two different in their religious view point. Suppression by one side or the other lead to violence and carnage. When the power shifted to the other side, they then visited the same on the other.

What kept that unrest from the New World shores was tolerance of each other’s religious point of view. In fact, it was so important that religion became an issue in the newly formed Republic, the authors of the constitution wrote into the document, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Of all the things the authors were vague about in the constitution, the words “no religious test shall ever be required” are as clear as it can get. It is clear the authors want no person in any position of authority in the country to make decisions based on a religious point of view.

Through the years, that belief in freedom of religion has been tested over and over. While we may not argue about some of the outcomes, in the long run, it came out right. We are still here, religion flourishes and people can feel free to worship just as they please, or not, depending on their point of view.

But, as a community of believers and non-believers we are now being tested. Our clear vision about the freedom of religion has be clouded by the violence the nation experienced on 9/11. The near complete collective thinking is that the violence was authorized by Islam. This is because a few powerful personalities have adopted Islam as their justification for all the violence they advocate. Responding to the call, a few hundred, arguable, a few thousand have taken up arms against the West in the name of Islam. But, there are millions of others that have taken no violent action against the West.

Near the now hallowed ground that we call Ground Zero, Muslims would like to build a mosque. It is a simple act of constructing a building were people of a like view point can gather to worship in the manner that is constitutionally protected. It would be right to allow it because it is just place that the Muslim community felt was right. It would be right to allow it because of the Muslims that also died in the attack. But, it would also be right to allow it because of the violence that happen there. That a visitor may find a place of their faith to pray that that it will never happen again, no matter that it be Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Islam or any other faith.

The building of the mosque near ground zero should be allowed.