As one of America's leading libertarian thinkers, perhaps I’m always expected to give the "libertarian answer" to every issue. But sometimes one has to speak not as a libertarian, Republican or Democrat, but rather as an American — preferably a common sense American.
The issue of allowing a mosque to be built in the shadow of the 9/11 terrorist tragedy is one of those times.
The answer is simple for a common sense American — I support religious freedom, as all Americans should. But this is not a case of religious freedom.
The definition of religious freedom is that Muslims can build their mosque virtually anywhere in America despite 9/11 . . .despite the Times Square bomber . . .despite plots by Islamic extremists to blow up the New York subway system . . .despite everything happening in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
That's what makes our country great. We do in fact support religious freedom. You can build a mosque virtually anywhere in America.
However, there is also freedom of the rights and sensibilities of others to consider in a free society.
This specific issue of building a mosque near 9/11 ground zero is unique. It is not about religious freedom. Rather it is a blatant offense to all Americans, and a desecration of America that should not and cannot be allowed to stand.
Does "religious freedom" and freedom of speech mean hate groups should build statues to Hitler in front of Jewish temples in America?
Should Americans raise money to build Jewish temples and Christian churches at Mecca?
Should Japan build a statue to the bravery of their pilots at Pearl Harbor?
Should the U.S. build a statue to the bravery of our pilots at the site of Hiroshima?
Aren’t those examples all about “freedom of expression,” "religious freedom" and property rights? Yet common sense obviously overrules even “freedom of religion” in these cases.
This proposed building of a mosque on hallowed ground is an atrocity towards America.
To build a celebration of Islam within steps of 9/11 does nothing to increase religious freedom . . . it inspires hatred, divides our cultures, and increases the odds of violence and hate crimes.
Common sense dictates this mosque, being built in this specific location, is NOT being built as a sign of friendship between Muslims and Americans, but rather as a sign of the lack of respect.
The financial district of Manhattan is not a residential area with a large number of Muslim residents for the mosque to serve. Therefore common sense dictates that the only possible reason to build it there (rather than in Brooklyn or Queens where there are large Muslim populations) is to show Muslim contempt for Americans by building a monument to Islam in the shadow of the site of their greatest triumph over America.
It is not an example of religious freedom — it is an example of people shoving their religion down our throat to taunt us.
Yes, private individuals and organizations have the right to build houses of worship with their own funds.
If it turns out that this project is sponsored by a foreign government or organizations that support or fund terrorism, I believe we should not allow it to be built.
However, if this is privately funded by parties with no ties to terrorism, I have to believe that we have enough people in this country who are offended by the prospect of a mosque at ground zero, that the money can be raised to buy this land at a fair price from the owners.
I know I’d be the first to contribute to keep this sacred land.
We can also put public pressure on the property owners to sell to this new patriotic foundation funded by Americans. We can organize massive protests, filling the streets surrounding this property with patriotic Americans concerned that the hallowed ground of 9/11 never be used as a political tool to taunt or embarrass the United States, if that is indeed the purpose.
I, for one, am ready to fly 3,000 miles to New York to join the protest.
These are the only rational answers for common sense patriotic Americans. In situations like this, none of us can afford to be libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, or politicians of any stripe.
We are all proud Americans.
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