Misanthropic Meanderings

My Photo
Location: California, United States

See the title? There you go.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gin Joint

I'm starting to think we should just keep August in a quiet, dark bedroom, maybe just take a national vacation or institute nationwide siestas or something. Did I just step out of my car and into 1943 Weimar Germany? Let's get a few things straight right off the bat. The Park 51 building is not at Ground Zero, nor is it a mosque. It is, in essence, a YMCA, except with a M where the C would be. Somewhere, probably on 2nd floor or 3rd floor, is a nice, quiet private room where prayer mats will be kept. There will be lovely calligraphic (hint, this word does not come from the english) decorations and there will be a blessed silence not often found on NYC’s downtown streets. Men and women of multiple faiths will be invited to take use of the facilities, some, of a specific faith will partake of this room. When the room is filled to capacity, an observer scanning the ranks will be amazed at the range of hues. Turks, Somalians, Uzbekis, and yes, even blond, blue-eyed American born types will be there. None of them will be disturbed that in another section of the building, men and women are wearing swimsuits while exercising in the pool. Or that people of other faiths, or even no faith, are using meditation rooms. This is a community center with a prayer room for Muslims to be built by an American citizen of very well vouched for character with his own money on his own private property. And it is not your business, rest of America.

Make no mistake about it, this is not up for discussion by people in Alabama, or Florida or Alaska. The good Senator from North Dakota has nothing to say about it either. It is a local land use issue that is determined by the local government. And they’ve already given approval to a project that renovates an area, will bring construction jobs into downtown Manhattan and bring the resource of a community center to the city. For those who claim that since Muslims perpetrated 9/11 therefore Muslims should not be allowed to build a “mosque” on Ground Zero–that hallowed ground complete with stripper clubs, tchotchke vendors, the typical fair. You have your wish, there is no mosque. For those who think that having Muslims worship or own a building, no matter the stated purpose, that close to Ground Zero, take it up with the Constitution. If you think that Islam is a violent religion for whose crimes Muslims do not deserve equal rights, the Huguenots would like to have a few cathedrals removed, so St. Peter’s is gonna have to go. And since the Orange order have done violence, St. Paul's is out too. In fact, by the time you weed out all religions with a history of fratricide over doctrine, intolerance to those who simply do not share their faith and general all too human evil doing, the only religions allowed will be Baha'i and Quaker. We move forward after violence, in forgiveness, because we know the tenets of a faith are not proof against the worst of human behaviour, but a bulwark against fear when we experience this darkness. By following our laws, boldly with malice toward none, we exemplify the best we have to offer in America. To put it in Christian terms, it is "a lamp to my feet and a light for my path", so to speak.

As of right now, acts of violence against Muslims or supposed Muslims are increasing. We've had arson against the building site of a mosque that has nothing to do with NYC or any ground zero. Where are we going with this? The civil rights past of this country was violent and bloody. Many of the same people who are now trying to gin up fear and hatred for political gain, if not just plain old personal power, refuse to acknowledge the past. The question for America is, will you be led by the nose, by these immoral people, back to a shameful past? Or will you stand up and reject hatred in favor of the law of the land?

Labels: , , ,