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The Ground Zero Mosque: qb’s Take

23 August 2010

There’s not a lot more to be said on the merits.  But we should clarify a few things so that the debate is constructive:  most importantly, what is and is not actually being said on each side.

First, the facts on the ground.  If it is true that, as is reported by the NY Post, the site of the proposed mosque was directly damaged by a falling piece of landing gear on 9/11/01, then it’s fair to consider the site part of Ground Zero.  Fair-minded people might disagree on this, but it is not fair to say that opponents are objecting to a site well away from Ground Zero.  If direct damage is the objective standard, then the site is at Ground Zero.  If proponents wish to use a different and narrower but equally objective standard, let them state their standard clearly and show why it is not arbitrary (e. g., “within the Twin Towers’ actual footprint”).

Second, the center of mass of opposition to the mosque is not, as many are saying, an anticonstitutional effort to prevent, by means of governmental power, the mosque from being built.  qb listens to a lot of pundits, and the closest he’s heard to any such thing was Michael Medved’s recent suggestion that local zoning ordinances be used to prevent it.  But Medved, a lawyer by training, surely knows that any such application of zoning ordinances would still be subject to the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, meaning that applying a zoning ordinance would have to treat all religious groups equally.

Third, the center of mass of opposition to the mosque is not a matter of Christianity vs. Islam.  There are undoubtedly fringe groups among Christians who oppose it on religious grounds, but they are not the mainstream.  Among all the pundits in opposition, Glenn Beck is probably the most likely to be among their number given his tendency to cast every issue in terms of religious faith; and if he opposes the mosque SITE on religious grounds, he is of course wrong to do so.  If there is an overtly and uniquely Christian basis for any position at all, then “love your enemies and do good to them that persecute you” is bound to be the operative standard anyway, trumping any other proof-text.

But it is also pretty clear that the opposition to the mosque among U. S. citizens transcends Christianity per se.  We’re on much firmer ground to correlate opposition to the mosque SITE with those who see it as a grotesque affront to basic human decency, the kind of decency that bends over backward to avoid adding insult to injury.  qb does not mean this as a proof-text for opposition to the mosque SITE, but merely as a pithy summary of the kind of considerate heart that opponents of the SITE wish the Muslims would exhibit:

“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

I Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV)

A fair summary of the opposition’s basic argument is this:  of course the Muslims have a right to build a house of worship on private property, and of course no government power should be used to prevent them from doing so.  But one wishes that the Muslims would adopt a Christlike standard of charity and good will and avoid rubbing salt in our national wound.

qb won’t hold his breath.

So the Muslims should just go ahead and build the thing, and we should just move on.  In particular, we who are Christians and who oppose the mosque SITE (again, not its FACT) should state our case and then respond with charity as the thing is built.


24 Comments leave one →
  1. American Delight permalink
    23 August 2010 4:03 am

    “we should just move on.”

    I’m still hoping Gov. Patterson can work out an alternative site with Imam Rauf.

    And this is another opportunity to learn which politicians stand up for what is appropriate.

  2. 23 August 2010 9:17 am

    With all due respect – ridiculous.

    As I told a friend of mine earlier today, we’ve got a HUGE LOG, a log the size of a REDWOOD TREE, to take out of our own eye before we start expecting that sort of charity and good will from others.

    And this hardly explains the simultaneous matters of the opposition to Islamic edifices in Murfreesboro, TN – in Sheboygan, WI – in Temecula Valley, CA, etc.

  3. brian permalink
    23 August 2010 10:18 am

    one also hopes Christians can let go of hate, anger, and practice mercy and forgiveness.

    I appreciate your words, but being a Christian, I naive think trying to encourage people who have already committed to being Christ-like to actually live up to it, instead of people who don’t follow him, is more worthwhile.

  4. 23 August 2010 12:27 pm

    Gentlemen, thanks for stopping by.


  5. coop permalink
    24 August 2010 1:16 pm


    Is locating the Islamic center near ground zero an insult to the decency of the family members of the twenty-plus Muslims working in the Twin Towers who also died on 9/11?


    • qb permalink*
      26 August 2010 10:47 am

      Yes, of course! The Wahhabi extremist strain of Saudi Islamists that ran the actuary tables apparently decided that the likely collateral damage of killing wealthy American corporate Muslims was worth it.


  6. Ben permalink
    24 August 2010 3:45 pm

    The moral equivalency and pluralistic vascilation in our culture today simply astounds me. Clearly, the followers of Islam will consider it a victory to have the mosque built on the site of an act of Islamic hegemony in the land of the “great Satan”. Note the similar examples of mosques built on other areas of conquest in Jerusalem and modern day Instanbul. Let’s not be naive, indeed.

    • coop permalink
      24 August 2010 4:04 pm

      So, Ben, be astounded and then note that the mosques built in Jerusalem and Istanbul (was Constantinople) were built after they were overrun by Islamic armies. Not before. I see no Islamic military forces of any capability anywhere compared to the U.S.–even compared to Switzerland. Straw men and fear mongering, my friend, straw men and fear mongering.


      • Ben permalink
        25 August 2010 7:36 am

        Please, Coop. I’m old enough to recognize a straw man and that’s not one. If you think that the Twin Tower destruction was anything other than an act of war in the name of Islam, then you need to get out more. Or perhaps be more informed about the nature of post modern warfare in the world. In other words, opposing armies no longer put on their uniforms, get in line, and start shooting. As Hanson, et al, have noted, contemporary warfare is defined as much by propaganda and political symbolism as it is by body count. Funny, you seem to affirm that indeed Islam does build on conquered territory. At least we can agree on that.

      • 25 August 2010 9:22 am

        I’m old enough to recognize a straw man and that’s not one. If you think that the Twin Tower destruction was anything other than an act of war in the name of Islam, then you need to get out more. Or perhaps be more informed about the nature of post modern warfare in the world.

        Or perhaps you need to get out more and learn the difference between an act of war and a conquest. I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of failure?

        Here’s a simple syllogism that might assist you.

        Major Premise: Islam builds on conquered territory (much like the Monroe Doctrine, one might add in a quiet aside).

        Minor Premise: Islam did not conquer Manhattan, New York City, or any other US territory.

        Conclusion: Thus, the reference to “Islamic hegemony” is a straw man.

        I completely agree with you on the nature of contemporary warfare, but where I think your argument fails is in an accurate assessment of Islam’s victory conditions for this conflict. When we begin to operate according to their standards of right and wrong, I believe they’ve achieved at least one major victory condition.

  7. coop permalink
    25 August 2010 9:54 am

    Thanks, Nick. Couldn’t have said it better myself. After all, doing something claiming the name of Islam does not translate into the very complex entirety of Islam. Islam is not monolithic or exclusively anti-American.

    And Ben: Hanson, by the way, is very instructive about warfare between city-states in Ancient Greece, but his rationale regarding “asymetrical” warfare is typical of the neo-con (read: neo-Trotskyite) desire to apply the entire force of the state to ideological behavior that is essentially criminal: dynamite for killing wasps. Think proportionally, Ben. Think proportionally.


  8. 25 August 2010 10:17 am

    Islam is not monolithic or exclusively anti-American.

    For confirmation of this sentiment, I recommend reading this excellent memo from Dr. M.A. Muqtedar Khan, wherein he writes:

    “It is time that we acknowledge that the freedoms we enjoy in the US are more desirable to us than superficial solidarity with the Muslim World. If you disagree, then prove it by packing your bags and going to whichever Muslim country you identify with.”

    • qb permalink*
      26 August 2010 10:49 am

      This guy brilliantly confirms the self-evident. Similarly, applying water to dry ground reduces its dustiness, and I can prove it!


  9. Coop permalink
    26 August 2010 11:12 am


    Sometimes the obvious needs confirmation, especially when sky-is-falling obfuscation parades poisons the well.


  10. 27 August 2010 9:06 am

    It’s worth remembering that the 2,700 who lost their lives on 9/11 at the WTC were TARGETED CIVILIANS. Any moral equivalences or analogies that any of you would like to draw to ensure that anti-mosque-SITE Americans are properly demonized must start there.

    Along that line, if you agree with Prof. Churchill that the 2,700 were “little Eichmanns,” go ahead and admit it up front. (And yes, qb knows what Churchill really meant: functionary cogs in a wheel, not Nazis per se.)


  11. 28 August 2010 8:28 pm

    Are we still convinced that the site is the only reason for the furor over Park 51?

    • qb permalink*
      29 August 2010 7:38 pm

      Never said it was the only reason. Extremists always exist. qb spoke in terms of the “center of mass of opposition.” Go and learn what it means! qb

  12. coop permalink
    30 August 2010 9:37 am

    Hmmm. Of course, blacks have the constitutional right to sit anywhere on the bus, but for the sake of the sensitivity of some white folk, they should sit at the back.


    • 30 August 2010 10:04 am

      Balderdash. An “analogy” that features so little resemblance it should be ashamed to wear the title. Try again, Coop!


  13. coop permalink
    30 August 2010 10:24 am


    My, my. Analogy doesn’t take? OK. Political and social pressure for whatever reason is the American way–as is wanting things both ways. Sensitivity is moral high ground for you on this issue but not in other “politically correct” matters.


    • 30 August 2010 2:39 pm

      No, it doesn’t take, although qb can see why you tried that tack: accusations of racism – even cleverly tacit ones – are, as wonderfully shown by Krauthammer in his most recent column, the last refuge of today’s liberal scoundrels. Not that you are one of those, but you take qb’s piont.

      BTW, Coop, are we still on for a brewski or three in a couple of weeks? I’m thirsty.


  14. coop permalink
    30 August 2010 3:12 pm


    In a couple of weeks? I was remembering later. I have to be out of Big D at a Chaplain’s conference in Memphis, 10-13 September. I plan to reacquaint myself with some authentic Memphis ribs and blues. Hope that doesn’t mess things up


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