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The "Ground Zero Mosque" or The Right to Be Offended

Note: This blog entry is full of snark.

I cannot stop laughing.

I have to keep laughing at this whole situation, otherwise I will go insane.

There are a number of reasons I think it's perfectly okay to build the "GZM" (for short), most important of which is that objections have absolutely no basis in law. There is no legal reason that can keep them from building that mosque, mainly because of a pesky little thing called the First Amendment.
You see, the beauty of America so many Patriots (with a capital P) celebrate is our freedoms - I have the RIGHT to read that book. I have the RIGHT to play that guitar. I have the RIGHT to use that word.

You do. Within reason. Just like the landmark Supreme Court Case Schenck vs. United States of 1919 determined, you are allowed freedom of speech insofar as it does not bring harm to another person or infringe upon their rights. The famous metaphor used to describe this ruling is not shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, when there is no fire. This puts your fellow citizens at risk.

What appears to be happening now, though, is that we take freedom of speech and freedom of religion to mean freedom from offense. "You can't build that mosque there! It offends me!" "You can't say that! It offends me!" I admit, I may be guilty of the latter (I frequently request that friends don't say "retarded" around me because of the offense), but I'm not going to sue them over it.

Members of both parties seem to misinterpret the idea of freedom of speech to mean either of two extremes: 1. You can't say anything that might offend another human being, or 2. I have the absolute and total right to say whatever the hell I want, and screw you if you get offended.

Finding a balance between the two is damn hard, but I think it becomes easier when we consider it from a "love your neighbor" point of view. While I may not like the racist characterization of Muslims that I find being flung back and forth during the discussion of the misnamed Ground Zero Mosque (more aptly, "the Islamic Community Center [a YMMA, of sorts] that happens to be near ground zero but still a few blocks a way and not at all visible from the site"...but that doesn't quite roll off the tongue), I fully support your right to say them if that is how you truly feel.

Will I encourage you to examine the issue and think about it more closely? (adopting a Palin voice): YOU BETCHA!

Will I attempt to show you in what ways you are wrong? (repeat Palinism).

Will I tell you to shut up because you've "offended me"? No. No I won't. I might stop listening, but I won't tell you to shut up.

And see that's what's ironic about this whole thing: People all over the United States are making the point of how important these first amendment rights like speech, religion, assembly and petition by exercising them in a way that is offensive to others, as they are attempting to block one of the freedoms from a group that is potentially offensive to a much smaller group of people.

After all, the thoughts and very loud opinions of the majority trumps the rights of the minority, right?

Worked for Civil Rights in the South.

Worked for Women's Suffrage in NYC.

Worked for freeing the slaves after the Civil War.

Oh wait.

No, my bad. In each one of those instances, the voice of the minority was shown to be just as valuable, and just as protected as the majority. It seems to me that we're all on equal footing when it comes to these practices of our freedoms and liberties.

Huh. So I suppose this is the America I was born in - one where, hopefully, the voice that is loudest (corporations with deep pockets, the richest 2%, the one with a cable channel with the highest amount of viewers) isn't the one who gets to dictate policy all the time. It's an America where the little man, hopefully, has the same right to state his opinion into the din that is our political discourse. It's an America where the rights of the minority aren't always trampled by an oppressive majority. It's an America where even the people who offend and whom you offend are on equal footing, and each get to have their say.

We are so lucky to have a voice, even if it does produce that awful, awful inexplicably stupid song I posted above.

"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing about Voltaire


  1. I see where you're coming from in this.
    But as a Christian it is difficult to truly support something like this to go on ahead.

    I don't think we have a "right" to bash other people on their religions or beliefs, where they are coherent or not. [And by bashing, I mean really condemning them and making them feel like they are less than we are] But I do believe it is important to take a stand against the enemy in love. [The enemy being shown in other religions]

    And I think the greatest way to do that is to show a lifestyle of love to these people who don't know the real meaning to life.

    So instead of bashing their religion, I think its better to lead a lifestyle of love and show and tell of the great things God has done for us, so that they become more open to hearing what we have to say.

    And that's definitely one place that I've been working on in most of my life. Is to stop condemning people and rather show that Jesus' true love, which is loving and compassionate.

    We have a little Muslim boy attending our VBS this week. He is such a little joy. And I know that God brought to us, because he's still seeking and open to what else there is... Yesterday his mom came and actually stayed throughout the whole duration of the VBS and said she felt so loved being in our church and watching her son, she felt he'd been greatly loved as well.

    And I think that's the key, to bringing others to know Christ, is living out that example. Stop busying ourselves from merely "fighting" our non-believing neighbors and just love them instead. And then see what God does.


  2. I don't understand how you get from point A to point B here, Julianne. How is it an expression of love to keep them from building a community center for the Muslims in the area? How is denying them their freedom of religion going to be any sort of loving witness of Christ? As Christians who happen to be Americans, I think we have an obligation to celebrate freedom of speech and religion, and not use what we see as "the enemy in other religions" (which is very unclear - explain?) as an excuse to quash their rights. It is not loving to my neighbor for me to ignore the things that they hold near and dear to their heart - i.e., their religion, even if it different than mine - and just preach at them about Jesus' love. That ignores an entire half of a the conversation, and does us no good.

    I guess I'm just not clear on what you're getting at.

  3. I'm not clear on your point either, Julie. How exactly do you plan on showing love to Muslims who have every right to worship their god and live in their community, just as you do? They're not all going to conveniently walk into your church so you can get to know them. How exactly are you going to show them love, while at the same time you're refusing to respect their right to their own religion and beliefs?

  4. No one is saying they don't have a right to worship their God, but why does it have to be right next to the WTC grounds? Why can't it be somewhere else? If you can't see how offensive it is to a have a Muslim mosque right next to Ground Zero where 3,000 Americans lost their live due to Muslim Terrorists, then I say you have no heart. Maybe if you actually knew someone who died 0n 9/11 you may think of it differently. It's not a religious issue, it's a sensitivity issue. Why the msnbc liberal activists can't see that is beyond me..

  5. First of all, welcome to my blog, new conservative reader! You are one of many, but one of the first where I don't know your name. Hello, I'm Dianna.

    Second, I would encourage you to look at some maps of the actual location, and to examine the plans for Park51. It's not actually a mosque - it's a community center, much like the YMCA. It will have an area for conducting some religious services, and for that reason, there will be an Imam in charge, Imam Ralph, whose terrorists ties are tenuous at best. And that's where we have our problem with the issue - it's gone from a sensitivity issue, which I can understand but disagree with. There is already a mosque down there that is actually CLOSER to Ground Zero than this community center will be, and both are there to serve the needs of the Muslim business men and women in the area when they do their daily prayers, etc. It's the equivalent of having a chapel where Catholics can go see a priest or something - perfectly innocuous.

    But instead, the argument has turned into profiling of the 1.5 Billion followers of Islam into anti-American terrorists, which is beyond ridiculous. I may not know people personally who died in the towers 9 years ago (when I was 15), but I know Muslims who have been profiled unjustly since then. I consider it my duty to speak out against injustice, and when I see injustice done to Muslim brothers and sisters who, like me, simply want to practice their religion and do their religious duties, I consider it part of my duty to speak up.

    As I have said many times before, I am a Christian first and an American second, but in this case, American and Christian line up in expecting that justice and fairness will be done. I'm not going to deny someone their religious rights over a "sensitivity" issue, and I'm certainly not going to deny them because millions of Americans have decided that they are terrorists with absolutely no evidence, and nothing but hate in their hearts. That is my heart, which you claim does not exist.

    I encourage you to read more of this blog, friend, and see where my heart is. I hope that answers your questions, erconservative.

  6. Muslims are profiled because their religion tells them to go to war and kill non believers hence the numerous terrorist attacks not only here in the U.S but abroad. Have you read any of the Qur'an? It has 109 verses that calls Muslims to war with nonbelievers. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers killing infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who choose not to join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell for not joining the slaughter.

    Qur'an (2:89 - ”Therefore, the curse of Allah is upon the unbelievers!”

    Qur'an (2:191-193) - "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter...and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah."

    Qur'an (2:244) - "Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things."

    Qur'an (4:76) - "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…"

    Qur'an (4:104) - "And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain..."

    Qur'an (9:14) - "Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace..."

    Qur'an (9:123) - "O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness."

    Qur'an (61:4) - "Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way"

    I am quite fine with denying someone their religious right if their religion wants me dead because I am a Christian.

  7. I will say though if this Muslim Mosque does go up I think it's a great idea Greg Gutfield has of opening a Gay Muslim Bar next to it and since were not concerned with sensitivity this shouldn't be a problem, right?

    btw thank you for welcoming me, I'm Vince.

  8. Haha, I have no problem with the gay bar, probably because I have no problem with gay people.

    And that same argument about the Qu'ran can be made about the Bible:

    Numbers 31: 17-18: Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Isaiah 13:16: Whoever is captured will be thrust through;
    all who are caught will fall by the sword.

    Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
    their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.

    There are numerous more examples of armies destroying nations, killing women and children, burning whole towns, all because "God said so" throughout the Bible.

    And there's the famous Jesus quote, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10:34).

    If we're going to argue about violence in relation to religion, and cherry pick verses, then we have to be willing to turn this same lens on the supposed "Christian" nation.

    When we cherry pick verses that fit what we're thinking about, yes, we get an extremely violent religion. Heck, you could probably make Buddha or Confucius sound violent with the right slant. Islam as a whole, however, does not preach violence. And nor should Christianity (though oftentimes we take the spiritual warfare metaphor entirely too far).

    All the Muslims I know (and I know several) are peaceable, loving, and unwilling to "slay the unbeliever." We cannot paint an entire religion based on what a few extremists do, nor based on what a few [probably metaphorical] verses have to say. Not all Christians are responsible when one goes crazy and bombs an abortion clinic. Not all Muslims are responsible for 19 terrorists who were more politically motivated than religiously.

    Also, I would look at where you're getting your information. is a clearly anti-Islamic site, hell bent on making Islam look like a religion of violence. Of course the information from that site is going to promote a view of Islam as violent and oppressive. I put it in the same category as Westboro Baptist's - just the rantings of a fringe lunatic that shouldn't be trusted.

    Regardless, Vince, thanks for the challenge, and I hope you keep reading. I may have more posts of interest in the near future.

  9. Let me ask you though How many Christians do you know lately who have killed 3,000 Americans because they were non believers? actually more than that and other countries including all the other terrorist attempts.

    Even some Muslims are smart enough to know the Mosque is not a good idea.

    Akbar Ahmed, an Islamic studies professor at American University in Washington D.C:

    "I don't think the Muslim leadership has fully appreciated the impact of 9/11 on America. They assume Americans have forgotten 9/11 and even, in a profound way, forgiven 9/11, and that has not happened. The wounds remain largely open," Ahmed said. “And when wounds are raw, an episode like constructing a house of worship – even one protected by the Constitution, protected by law - becomes like salt in the wounds."

    Do you think Muslims are going to help their image and build bridges to a stronger relationship with Americans and the world by building next to the same place where their people slaughtered innocent men and women?

  10. I think it will help America's image overseas if we can be seen as a nation of tolerance and forgiveness rather than a nation of anti-Muslim sentiment.

    And if we want to compare terrorist acts of different religions, then let's take out all the abortion clinic bombings. Let's take a look at the man who walked into a CHURCH and shot down an abortion provider in cold blood. Let's take a look at the white Baptist in Austin, TX, who purposefully flew his plan into an IRS building with the intent to kill as many people as he could. Let's take a look at the attempted bombing of a mosque in Florida that received virtually no press, but is clear evidence of anti-Muslim sentiment in America.

    Vince, you're not going to convince me that Islam is a violent religion. You would have to convince me that the Phelps family are true representations of Christianity first. I've studied both - I have a degree in theology. Any version of the Islamic religion that preaches violence and "hurting the infidel" is a fundamental sect, and not representative of what 1.5 BILLION people in the world follow.

  11. I'm just telling you what the Qu'ran teaches, and comparing the very few Christians who have blown up baby killing clinics to Muslim Terrorists killing thousands of people is ridiculous. Islam is indeed a violent religion, if you aren't educated enough to know that much I feel sorry for you. Maybe you should join their religion and see for yourself and marry one. Don't be shocked when he beats you as they do not respect women.

  12. is a hate site? Diana seriously, what ARE you smoking. It's a FACT site with FACTS to back up the FACTS. It simply highlights the FACT that Islam and it's followers are a bunch of sick, twisted, perverted whack jobs. Whack jobs from a cult of death, murder, slavery and abuse. Whack jobs who killed 17 people over a FAKE story about a Koran being flushed down a toilet. Whack Jobs who kill widows because they fall in love after their spouse dies. Whack Jobs who hang gays, murder children, subjugate women beat animals and blow up bus loads of innocent school children in the name of their cult. Whack Jobs who use kids as human shields and shoot dogs for sport. Whack jobs who refuse to condemn en masse the jihadi brothers and sisters who daily carry out wholesale slaughter of innocents across the globe.

    Their cult members slaughtered over 2,700 people 2 blocks away and the proposed site of the Victory MOSQUE/Den of inequality was in fact a very large part of GROUND ZERO as the Burlington Coat Factory located there was hit by the landing gear of one of the planes.

    Building any kind of Islamic WalMart anywhere in the vicinity of this horrific battlefield is an insult in the extreme. And they clearly know it. They have no desire to reach out, to build any kind of bridge to welcome others.

    It's like building a memorial for the Virginia Tech Murderer on the Campus of Virginia Tech.

    I couldn't give a wet fart on a dry January day if they want to practice their "religion"(of hate) there are over 100 Mosques in NYC already we don't need their GROUND ZERO VICTORY MOSQUE.

  13. So long as hate like this continues in America, the nation will never truly heal, the wounds will always be raw.

    To Vince specifically: "Do you think Muslims are going to help their image and build bridges to a stronger relationship with Americans and the world by building next to the same place where their people slaughtered innocent men and women?"

    "Their people." It's a key phrase here. So long as Americans continue to lump all Muslims together over the actions of an extreme few, those few will continue to grow, because they'll see themselves as justified. Yes, there is a set of people calling themselves Muslims who are extremely... belligerent, concerning taking those particular parts of the Qur'an very literally. There are also people who call themselves Christians doing the very same thing with the Bible, and have been for many, many years. Do you consider the KKK to be "your people", just for an example?

    Also, just to reiterate a point that many people are ignoring or choosing not to acknowledge: IT'S NOT A MOSQUE.

  14. Hi Jen of the Jungle,

    I completely agree with you that the atrocious acts you mentioned above are indeed committed by “whack-jobs.” Where I disagree is your jump in logic from premise A (these guys are whack-jobs) and premise B (these guys are Muslim) to your conclusion “all Muslims are whack-jobs.” That logic jump has no rational basis.

    Since you’re a fan of “facts,” let’s look at some: There are around 1.57 billion Muslims in the world. Most of the acts you described above are characteristic of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The high estimates of the Taliban’s numbers are around 35,000 and Al Qaeda boasts about 1,000. You and I agree that these guys are indeed the whack-jobs of the Islamic population, but notice that they make up a whopping .02% of the Muslim population.

    Even if we said the ENTIRE population of Afghanistan and Iraq combined—every man, woman, and child—bought into this ideology (which they don’t), we’re still left with 4% of the Muslim population. So where are all the whack-jobs? It seems that, according to your depiction of Islam, somewhere between 99.98% and 96% of Muslims are NOT following the tenants of the religion to terrorize the world and cause general havoc. Either that, or there’s something significantly wrong with your idea of the religion.

    The real facts demonstrate that the whack-jobs make up a radical fringe, in the same way that other religions, populations, and ethnicities have radical fringes—they don’t represent the majority.

    In addition, your bigoted statement that “...Islam and it's followers are a bunch of sick, twisted, perverted whack jobs,” demonstrates to me that you’ve never actually met a Muslim in your life, nor have you ever been to a country with a significant population of Muslims.

    So, from the numbers above, we see that your quantitative “facts” are nonsensical. Furthermore, your complete lack of experience with the human beings you are discussing gives you no qualitative authority either.

    As Diana pointed out, you have freedom of speech, so it’s well within your rights if you want to be blatantly uninformed and spread hateful, divisive ideologies in the same way Al Qaeda does. But you have no authority to talk about “facts” when it comes to this matter, so please go back to relying on inaccurate stereotypes to make your hate speech arguments.

    For others involved in this discussion, here’s an interesting article:

  15. Yawn Chris. Yeah I've met Muslims before, many. San Diego is host to one of the largest muzzie populations in the country. Met at least one of the 9/11 murderers as he lived a block from me and shopped at the same grocery. I know a few "bad muslims" who if they actually followed their faith like their parents, would have nothing to do with you or me. As unless you are a muslim you are beneath them. They are as "muslim" as I am. Which is not at all. THEY would account for a large chunk of that 1.57 billion. And I speak not of them.

    Just look at the reaction of the "palestinians" to the horror of 9/11 for a clue. Singing and celebrating and selling souvenirs. They still do you know, sell souvenirs that is.

    Like the NAACP creeps who cheered Shirley Sherrod's loving story of redemption (well they only cheered the part where she said she stuck it to whitey) the cult of Islam supports the DAILY slaughter wrought upon the people of this planet in the name of their religion. They do so not only with their silence but also their wholesale support.

    I am reminded of the reaction of TENS OF THOUSANDS of muzzies in Europe who took to the streets with signs that sported such loving slogans as "Europe you will have to pay! Your 9/11 is on it's way!" I heard like...3 muzzies speak out against it. Now I am pretty poor at mathematics, but can you work out THAT percentage for me out of the 1.57 billion sport? Huh?

  16. Jenn,

    Thank you for your input, but I will not tolerate hate speech on my blog. "muzzies" is an offensive term that is an inadequate way of shortening the correct term of "Muslims." It takes the exact same number of letters to type, and I will not tolerate such speech.

    I have tried to be gracious on this blog, especially as I said that I will not tell you to shut up. But at this point, I am going to do what I said I'd do second - I will stop listening, as you already have. I kindly request that you take your discussion elsewhere, as it is no longer welcome on this blog. The discussion has ceased to be productive, and as this is my blog, I request that you no longer post here.

    Thank you and good day.

  17. It's the Catch 22 of living in's not a sensitivity issue it's a law/rights issue. On that note, I wonder how far the "Muslim-Free Zone" extends in the minds of those opposed to this community center. What a ridiculous notion: "You can build it somewhere else, just not here." That's funny, kind of reminds me of Manifest Destiny and us telling the Native Americans that they have to live somewhere else. Maybe eventually we can push those of the Muslim faith into little reservations like we did the Indians!

    The former Burlington Coat Factory is already being used for a meeting place for Muslim religious practices. It's just... getting a face-lift. It's not hallowed ground.

    Even if this is a means to an end of America as we know it and it ushers in more terrorist attacks, some kind of World War 3, or even the tribulation we cannot allow exceptions to the law just because of a sensitivity issue. I agree 9/11 was a terrible thing, but... America has to live by it's own laws, or it will fall from within and not at the hands of Muslim extremists. If America goes down in flames for this, we did it upholding our chief value: freedom. It matters not what kind of people these Muslims are, if they follow the Qu'ran strictly or what their intentions truly are. It's more UN-American not to build it because our laws give them that right.

    The law must be upheld. Sensitive issue or not.

  18. Hate speech? What happened to free speech Diana? Are'nt you being too "sensitive"? Remember our rights? We don't care about being insensitive I thought? You have no problem with 9/11 friends and family getting slapped in the face, it seems you only like to uphold the constitution as long as it goes with your msnbc rachel maddow liberal ideology, right?

    Bottom line is the Mosque won't be built, and if the far off chance it does I can't imagine New Yorkers leaving it alone and there long.

    Last thing I will say on this is if the (using correct term) "Muslims" were so loving and wanting to build a better reputation to distinguish themselves from the "terrorist Muslims" then they wouldn't have picked right by Ground Zero to build their Mega Mosque. Instead they would see how sensitive an issue it is and move it somewhere else, especially since the Majority of Americans have expressed anger over it but they didn't and refuse to, so that tells you an awful lot about them..

  19. Concerning this blog, it's Dianna's property and she has every right to restrict what can and cannot be said here. Just as you would have every right to evict someone from a party in your garage if they started mouthing off, insulting you and everyone else there.

    And to reiterate - it's being built in what's already being used as a Muslim gathering place, there's no legal leg to stand on concerning preventing it, and all this effort to pressure the builders into moving elsewhere - particularly if successful - is playing right into the hands of those genuinely responsible, providing them with more ammunition for their recruitment spiels.

    In fact, the entire use of "they" and "them" in this argument is a fair amount of ammunition on its own. Muslims who live and work in America, who've grown up here their whole lives, have friends and family and are tied to the neighborhood, the city, the state - well, that makes them Americans, same as you or me. They're part of the "us" that's so often preached as making America great.

    "Bottom line is the Mosque won't be built, and if the far off chance it does I can't imagine New Yorkers leaving it alone and there long." I find it interesting that Manhattan, the borough where Ground Zero is located, comes out 53% in favor of this community center being built. Not that that specifically addresses your point concerning the majority of Americans, though I will comment that majority support or opposition doesn't necessarily make something right or wrong.

  20. Thank you, Jon. You said basically what I wanted to say.

  21. Oh, and just for reference: "muzzie" is derogatory in most senses of its uses, including the usage we find above.

  22. Dianna, I've read a few times before but never commented until now:

    First of all: America was NOT created as a Christian nation, its purpose was to create a haven for freedom of religion with a strict policy of political non-interference. Funny how Christians tell the government to "leave their God alone" and are up in arms if they perceive that the government might have passively considered something that would change their order of operations. But on the other hand, they're more than willing to incite and even demand that the government interfere with the ability of other religious groups to freely practice. The shit-fit over this mosque is a perfect example.

    A Muslim community center does NOT violate the rights of Christian freedom of religion or free speech. It does NOT put Americans at risk. And its NOT insensitive. Christians tend to forget that there were plenty of non-Christians in the towers on 9/11. Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, etc., it was a tragedy among men and women of all faiths.

    The loss at the towers was their loss too. Their Family and friends fell along side of ours (and often WERE ours), They lost dignity. They lost hope for peace, understanding, and mutual respect between themselves and many other religions. And the loss of that was due to a limited few radical members of an otherwise peaceful, loving, kind group of people.

    "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."--Anne Lamott

    The Christian reality is often that we're here to spread salvation. But if you look carefully at the Bible, there is a difference between spreading the love of Christ and bestowing it on brothers and sisters of all faiths and ways of life (as Jesus did (ex: The woman at the well, the tax collector, the blind man...none of whom were Christians, btw) and trying to save people. Our actions should be the same toward others regardless of whether we agree on which "big man in the sky" supplies the truthiest truth. It all comes down to the exact same odds. Showing love, accepting them and supporting them in things that will positively influence their lives (such as a center where they can connect with their community and reach out to show kindness and love to each other!) and offering hope and aid when they've fallen. Loving like Jesus did doesn't mean converting people or saving means accepting that they deserve that love regardless of all other factors.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.


The owner of this blog tolerates no form of hate speech, including racial slurs, citing stereotypes as fact, or anything else deemed intolerant or hateful by the blog author. While you may have a right to say it, it does nothing to advance productive discussion, and therefore any comment containing such speech will be deleted accordingly.