Yesterday I published a blog entry about the building of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, not far from where the September 11th terror attacks took the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent victims. The entry took nearly eight hours to write, and it's composition took five writing sessions spread out over two days.
And I thought I had said everything I wanted to say....namely, that extreme Muslim terrorists, not Muslims, were responsible for 9/11.....and that building a mosque at the site was within the Muslim group's rights; I agreed with the position of President Barack Obama and Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
And I disagreed with the critics of those who questioned the reasons for building a mosque at the site; there is a thing called The United States Constitution that guarantees freedom of assembly, speech, and worship to all, not to a select few.
But at 4:00am this morning I woke up- it was a bad dream. I was seeing a Bizzaroland dreamscape, a New York City that didn't have a mosque two blocks from the former WTC site.
Rather, there was another religious group housed there.....The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, had opened a satellite church in New York; 8 million sinners, 8 million souls going to hell en masse.
But I'll digress for a minute....let's talk about those religious groups who could occupy the site, and have little or no objections.
No one would have a problem with Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, or other Eastern Orthodox Churches at the site. Coptics? Well, they're Arabs, but they're CHRISTIANS...so they're OK.
Anglicans, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian.....heck, any mainstream Christian Church would be alright, even the ones who perform same sex marriage; this is New York, ya know.
Evangelical Christians and Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jews can build at the site....
Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses? Well, there's enough doormen in NYC to slow down any door to door missionary work, at least limiting it to "normal business hours".
Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs....they're part of the mainstream.
Santeria? Well....maybe some trouble with animal rights people....but OK, they can build a church there.
Wiccans....they're "white witches", aren't they? Pantheism....like in AVATAR? Oh, what the heck, they're OK.
Scientologists? John Travolta and Tom Cruise can't be wrong, can they?
Atheists, Agnostics, and Unitarians? One group believes in nothing, another isn't sure, and the third believes in SOMETHING, but can't quite define what it is. They're harmless....let them build SOMETHING there.
Which leads us to the Westboro Baptist Church, and their pastor, Fred Phelps.....remember them? They are the ones who picket other churches, events, stadiums, funerals, and cemeteries with signs that say things like "God Hates Fags", "God Hates America", and "God Hates Israel". The WBC is not part of any Baptist conventions or associations, and claims to adhere to Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles. And to be fair, the WBC is NOT a representative of any mainstream Christian group
But- for argument's sake- what if the WBC moved into the same building that the Muslim group wants to turn into a mosque/Islamic cultural center?
I talked about these guys a few months ago. On April 14 the WBC was set to picket actress Dixie Carter's funeral, claiming Ms. Carter "...lived her life in adultery. She divorced her husband and married two other men along the way. God says that is living in adultery!".
In the view of the WBC, America is being punished for it's sins by being engaged in war in Iraq and Afghanistan, hence the protests at the funerals of military members killed in action....and they believe that 9/11 was more Divine Retribution leveled at America.
I could go chapter and verse about the Westboro Baptist Church and their hatred of Jews, Catholics, other Protestants, homosexuals, and a long, long, list of all they find sinful.....just check out some of these pictures. But the bottomline is the WBC, spewing hate and venom, could occupy the same space that Muslims want to use for a mosque, and little could be done to stop them. Their picketing (41,000 protests since 1991) could be curtailed by requiring them to have permits, but as far as having freedom of speech and assembly, and of religious expression, they are protected by the Constitution, even being as loathesome as they are.
I wonder how, in this Bizzarroland scenario, would the usual suspects react.....what would Palin, Boehner, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and the other voices with an opnion an everything, say about a far, far off the charts radical right Christian group occupying a building so close to Ground Zero, hallowed ground, and an event the WBC cheered as God's punishment?
Would those voices be as strong in repudiation as the one's we've heard in reaction to the building of a mosque? Surely there would have been fewer political ramifications.....and probably much less media coverage.
Just something to think about.
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