07 September 2010

Consistency of Argument – Can Versus Should

In the dust-up over the building of the Ground Zero mosque, several political types supported – and continue to support – its construction based on the First Amendment’s assertion of freedom of religion. Politicians like New York City Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama make the argument that the government cannot refuse the right to build on the proposed location simply because some (or most) Americans (or New Yorkers) feel it should not be built there. These political types, we are told, are doing the hard work of upholding the Constitution against a formidable foe: public opinion, or the tyranny of the majority.

I hope that in the next few days, the very same politicians who ardently support the building of the Ground Zero mosque as an expression of freedom of religion will also and with equal vigor support the burning of Muslim holy books in Florida over this coming weekend. If, as we are told, what is legal and constitutionally allowable cannot be denied to a person, then these two actions – the expression of religious freedom and the expression of free speech – must be equally supported. To not do so is transparently disingenuous.

On the other hand, those in the majority of everyday folks say that the Ground Zero mosque can be built, but given the special circumstances of the location and its special history, should not be built. It’s a matter of judgment, not a matter of rights. It would not surprise me if those very same people also firmly believe that the yahoo who wants to burn Qurans has the right to do it but absolutely should not – it’s simply wrong. What’s more, this consistency of argument poses no issues of disingenuousness.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I completely agree that it should NOT be built, but that it also goes against an American's right to free religion. Some things are just wrong, and it upsets me that we have such double standards and are so quick to bow down as to not upset anyone. You can't make everyone happy all the time, but I wish common sense and DECENCY had some weight in this country.

Also, I'm sure you recall from all those summer nights as a kid in the midwest what a firefly looks like. You have a very cool picture of a dragonfly (not as nifty as a damselfly, but it'll do ;) .