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August 31, 2010

Comments

I repeat:

And do you think Obama would suggest shutting down some small community S&L that did none of the stupid, risky, greedy sh1t that let to the financial crisis simply because it could be called a "bank?" That might be somewhat equivalent, but it's not anything like what he's suggested.

C'mon Eric when he says fat cat bankers and banks need to start lending money because we helped them out, is he really talking about the same banks?

Seems like he is.

The banks we helped out need to start lending again.

Thus, he is not addressing the small, community banks that weren't helped out. Not sure what you're getting at?

Point, set, match Dems, huh?

Yes Marty, clearly the reformers have swept all before them. And all because Obama has unfairly demonized the bankers.

Maybe it's just me, but I just don't see the equivalence between Obama's comments about bankers and the load of crap that's been dumped on Rauf's head, and on that of the American Muslim community in general, concerning the Park51 proposal.

It's a tu quoque red herring, and a pointless diversion from the topic at hand.

Everybody was freaked out by 9/11. But at some point people have to quit wetting their pants every time a Muslim says or does anything in public.

Not all Muslims want to kill people. Not all Muslims want to overthrow the US government and replace it with sharia. Not all Muslims want to institute a global caliphate. Not all Muslims adhere to the fundamentalist reading of the Koran that residents of secular liberal western democracies find problematic.

And when I say "not all", please read "damned few". And in the context of the American Muslim community, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands to millions, for "damned few" please read "a miniscule number".

Muslims have lived here in large numbers for many decades. The republic still stands.

It's time for everybody to get a freaking grip.

demonizing them

You keep using that word. I do not think it means etc.

An offhand reference to "fat cats" is not demonizing, and neither is anything else quoted in that spike-online article. Unless there's a speech I missed where Obama said this won't be a fit country for decent people to live in until the blood of the rich is running in rivers down Wall Street (a speech I've given many times, to great applause, by the way), there simply isn't any substance to this comparison.

Apparently Marty needs a refresher course on what the real thing looks like:

"Too much cannot be said against the men of wealth who sacrifice everything to getting wealth. There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensible to every duty, regardless of every principle, bent only on amassing a fortune, and putting his fortune only to the basest uses —whether these uses be to speculate in stocks and wreck railroads himself, or to allow his son to lead a life of foolish and expensive idleness and gross debauchery, or to purchase some scoundrel of high social position, foreign or native, for his daughter. Such a man is only the more dangerous if he occasionally does some deed like founding a college or endowing a church, which makes those good people who are also foolish forget his real iniquity. These men are equally careless of the working men, whom they oppress, and of the State, whose existence they imperil. There are not very many of them, but there is a very great number of men who approach more or less closely to the type, and, just in so far as they do so approach, they are curses to the country."

So instead of telling me that non-bigoted reasons for opposing the mosque exist, tell me the actual reasons!

lj, Eric, et. al: First, I don't personally have a problem with a mosque near ground zero in a general sense. I'm not here to defend in infinite detail the reconquista or whether the "Cordoba" period fairly represents religious tolerance or Muslim contributions to the sonnet for that matter (that was my thesis for my minor). I understand what lj and Harmut said about that period and I don't really disagree.

My point was that I have a problem with the rhetoric from both sides, including but not limited to the "bigot" label being applied too broadly. I haven't mentioned much about the far right because it's been exhaustively covered here. I don't have anything to add.

And I don't know the last ten years of Rauf's life. What I've learned I've leared fairly recently, although I was aware of him in a vague sense. But what I've learned makes me think he is not the right person to build a mosque near ground zero.

So with that background, here's what I think:

1) I understand why some object to a bridge builder who has stated that America is "an accessory to the crime" that was 9/11. I may understand what he meant by that, but there is certainly a less offensive way to state those ideas. I believe an objection to Rauf's involvement at Park51 based on that statement to be non-bigoted.

2) I understand why some object to a mosque being built close to ground zero with the involvement of an imam who won't denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization. I see the objection as a non-bigoted reason to object to Park51 so long as Rauf is associated with the project. If the associations of Rauf are accurate, this is not the right person.
I agree with Sam Harris' assertion that the Muslims that should build the mosque near ground zero won't. Which leads me to:

3) The general insensitivity of it all. This is a mass grave of 3,000 people. If one is trying to build a bridge to understanding, one would (I think) try to understand the feelings of those you are trying to reach, regardless of whether they are irrational and not force the issue. I don't think the "don't give in to bigots" argument works at all. I think it is a matter of respect.


Since Uncle K opened the door to great quotes, I have another that I've been saving. I could probably just add it to every past and future post on e.g. marginal tax rates and not have to bother with anything else. It's from commenter Lemuel Pitkin at Crooked Timber:

When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. … The love of money as a possession … will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semicriminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease. …

I see us free, therefore, to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue-that avarice is a vice, that the exaction of usury is a misdemeanour, and the love of money is detestable, that those walk most truly in the paths of virtue and sane wisdom who take least thought for the morrow. We shall once more value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful. We shall honour those who can teach us how to pluck the hour and the day virtuously and well, the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things, the lilies of the field who toil not, neither do they spin.

—John Maynard Keynes, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren”

It would also go well every time Andrew Sullivan talks about higher tax rates as "punishing the successful." But let me not wander further from the current topic.

BC,

First of all, I never said that all opposition was bigoted. I have acknowledged all along that plenty of people are simply ignorant about the Cordoba group, and its members, and how they stand in relation to al-Qaeda.

I understand why some object to a bridge builder who has stated that America is "an accessory to the crime" that was 9/11. I may understand what he meant by that, but there is certainly a less offensive way to state those ideas. I believe an objection to Rauf's involvement at Park51 based on that statement to be non-bigoted.

This still doesn't make sense. Why are Muslims scrutinized for political beliefs where Christians aren't? Rauf made a point that the 9/11 Commission Report made, that John McCain made and that most people in the know made: our foreign policy helped give rise to al-Qaeda via our Afghan policies.

Regardless, Pat Robertson said God was punishing us for heathen ways, and yet he can build a house of worship anywhere he wants.

This is bigoted because it holds Muslims to a higher standard, and it also goes out of its way to take Rauf's words wrongly (in that, it is perhaps ignorant too).

So that's not it.

understand why some object to a mosque being built close to ground zero with the involvement of an imam who won't denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization. I see the objection as a non-bigoted reason to object to Park51 so long as Rauf is associated with the project. If the associations of Rauf are accurate, this is not the right person.
I agree with Sam Harris' assertion that the Muslims that should build the mosque near ground zero won't.

This is bigoted because it puts an extra onus on Rauf to offer an opinion about all Muslim groups everywhere, even though he has no association with them. No Christian or Jewish groups are asked to do this, hence the bigotry.

Incidentally, Rauf did not endorse or condemn Hamas, but requested to stay out of it in the hope that he could be viewed as a good faith interlocutor. Which is, you know, a good thing.

Either way, demanding that Muslims answer questions such as these as a requirement to build houses of worship in certain areas when other religious groups are not queried about their co-religionists (although Hamas is not, like Rauf, Sufi) is, by definition, bigotry.

The general insensitivity of it all. This is a mass grave of 3,000 people. If one is trying to build a bridge to understanding, one would (I think) try to understand the feelings of those you are trying to reach, regardless of whether they are irrational and not force the issue. I don't think the "don't give in to bigots" argument works at all. I think it is a matter of respect.

No, it is not a mass grave. It is two and a half blocks away from a site that will see the erection of a shopping mall. That has two strip clubs that are closer, as well as a couple of sex shops. It has an OTB, and numerous other urban miscellania.

And, regardless, this attempt to come up with a reason that is not rooted in bigotry suggests that Rauf is wrong for not being sensitive to...bigotry!

Bigotry is by definition...bigotry!

This is the worst effort yet.

bc - fair enough.

JanieM - not to take your comment here even further off topic, but IMO what is lacking in American political discourse nowadays is a fundamental criticism of capitalism as a social and economic system, at least as we practice it. There is no topic that is more crucial to the times, and it's not even on the radar.

"It's a tu quoque red herring, and a pointless diversion from the topic at hand."

TQ no. Pointless diversion, ok. Hurricane is coming and I have a few more important things to do than argue the obvious anyway.

The general insensitivity of it all. This is a mass grave of 3,000 people

1. Some of those 3,000 people were . . . Muslims! And in any case, nobody elected Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin to speak for any of them.

2. You do know that they went to great lengths to remove all the human remains, right? That it's only a "grave" in the most tenuous metaphorical sense?

Anyway, can someone pinpoint me the exact moment in time when the right wing suddenly became so hung up on sensitivities and feeling and empathy and all those other things that they've spent the last 50 years mocking other people for?

I'm asking Thomas Jefferson to renounce and condemn the blood lust of the Great Terror and the murder of thousands of innocent Frenchmen merely to water his fruit trees at Monticello BEFORE we build a monument to him in Washington D.C.

I further request an investigation into his role in inventing the writing desk/dumb waiter that can convert via two easy adjustments into the murderous weapon of mass murder -- the guillotine.

The article drifted from discussion of mosques to hate crimes.

According to the most recent FBI hate crimes report, reporting data on 2008, (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2008/incidents.html), 17.5% of 'hate crimes' were about religion. Of those, 65.7% were anti-Jewish, and 7.7% were anti-Islamic.

I think this is a pretty good indication that anti-Islamic bias is not what we need to worry about first.

Eric:

Regardless, Pat Robertson said God was punishing us for heathen ways, and yet he can build a house of worship anywhere he wants.

Not that I want to defend Pat Robertson, but if one of his congregation got all holy and such and read the Bible in such a way that seemed to him to require him to fly a plane into the tallest building in a Muslim country, I'd be the last person supporting a church near that site even it was in the spirit of reconciliation. Or take the Muslim country out of it and say it was here in the U.S. Same answer. Is that bigoted?

Why are Muslims scrutinized for political beliefs where Christians aren't?

That's certainly not the case. There are assumptions made all the time about Christians' political beliefs. And I don't see a parallel that is informative of the issue. Do you have one?

And, IMHO, the left's defense of Islam is a bit ironic.

And how is opposition to terrorism a political belief?

Rauf made a point that the 9/11 Commission Report made, that John McCain made and that most people in the know made: our foreign policy helped give rise to al-Qaeda via our Afghan policies.

It's not the idea, but how he said it. That's what I said.

Incidentally, Rauf did not endorse or condemn Hamas, but requested to stay out of it in the hope that he could be viewed as a good faith interlocutor. Which is, you know, a good thing.

I don't agree. If he truly is against terrorism, he should call it like it is. He has no problem saying American policy was an accessory to the crime, so why does he have compunctions calling it like it is with respect to Hamas?

Either way, demanding that Muslims answer questions such as these as a requirement to build houses of worship in certain areas . . .

It's one area. Although that does seem to be somewhat loosely defined. And It's not Muslims in general, but those seeking to build Park51.

when other religious groups are not queried about their co-religionists (although Hamas is not, like Rauf, Sufi) is, by definition, bigotry.

Examples?

It is two and a half blocks away from a site that will see the erection of a shopping mall. That has two strip clubs that are closer, as well as a couple of sex shops. It has an OTB, and numerous other urban miscellania.

Yes, go and tell the victims' families exactly that. It will make them feel better.

Phil: Point taken. "Grave" is not the right word. I was more referring to how those who lost loved ones there feel, not me.

Last comment: I did not intend to defend the opponents of the mosque. I do not intend to do so now. Some of the ideas I find reasonable I have defended.

That being said, a refusal to even acknowledge there are objective reasons to oppose this mosque is, by definition, bigoted. I'm simply pointing out that the blanket "bigoted" argument is wrong and unhelpful. I'm truly sorry that my attempts to do so are the worst effort yet. I'll be quiet now.

I think this is a pretty good indication that anti-Islamic bias is not what we need to worry about first.

Two thoughts:

1. Those numbers are from 2008, and the recent demagoguery is, well, recent.

2. There are a lot more Jews than Muslims, you need to do a per capita comparison to get the most accurate numbers.

3. Hate crimes are certainly NOT the only measure of bias.

So, in general, I disagree.

Not that I want to defend Pat Robertson, but if one of his congregation got all holy and such and read the Bible in such a way that seemed to him to require him to fly a plane into the tallest building in a Muslim country, I'd be the last person supporting a church near that site even it was in the spirit of reconciliation. Or take the Muslim country out of it and say it was here in the U.S. Same answer. Is that bigoted?

Yes, because it suggests that one of Rauf's congregation flew a plane into the Twin Towers, and that is not the case. Rauf is a Muslim, but he does not represent all Muslims, nor does al-Qaeda represent all Muslims.

It is either bigoted or ignorant to suggest that. Guilt by association is ugly.

Further, if there were already churches nearby, and this was just another church to be built nearby, it would be as incoherent as it was bigoted.

That's certainly not the case. There are assumptions made all the time about Christians' political beliefs. And I don't see a parallel that is informative of the issue. Do you have one?

Do we ask Christians how they feel about anti-abortion activists? No? Interesting.

And, IMHO, the left's defense of Islam is a bit ironic.

Huh? I defend any group that is being demonized. Rauf is a decent man. One of my best friends - who has worked in the White House on counterterrorism (Bush White House at that) has personally worked with Rauf on interfaith projects. Defending Rauf is ironic? How?

And how is opposition to terrorism a political belief?

It is precisely political. It sure isn't a religious belief. Regardless, Rauf has comdemned terrorism and extremism and violence repeatedly. Hamas is more than just a group that employs terrorism.

Further, the problem is different groups describe other groups as terrorist, or not. For example, there were many Jewish groups that committed horrific terrorist acts during the formation of Israel. However, we don't ask Jewish leaderst to comment on those.

It's not the idea, but how he said it. That's what I said.

But the fact that such a fine, thin point could be used as a cudgel against a community center project is telling that, really, there is something larger behind the opposition.

I don't agree. If he truly is against terrorism, he should call it like it is. He has no problem saying American policy was an accessory to the crime, so why does he have compunctions calling it like it is with respect to Hamas?

Again, he says that terrorism is wrong, unequivocally. He does not discuss Hamas for various reasons, but he is clear on terrorism. Hamas is an elected political party that provides vital services to a population. And they commit violence in the resistance/occupation paradigm, under which the occupiers, too, commit terrorist acts.

And regardless, making an American citizen comment on an Israeli domestic conflict, and making the answer a determinant in terms of whether that American could or should be permitted to build a house of worship is absurd. This is America. Not Israel. I repeat, NOT ISRAEL.

It's one area. Although that does seem to be somewhat loosely defined. And It's not Muslims in general, but those seeking to build Park51.

What area? Two blocks from the WTC site? What about 4? 5? How close is too close.

And those seeking to build Park51 are exemplary! Bush chose Rauf as a US goodwill ambassador fercrissakes. If that doesn't make him good enough to build a mosque in lower manhatttan, what would?

I mean, what exactly disqualifies him?

Examples?

Are Jews asked about settler violence and extreme right wing violence against Palestinians?

Are Christians asked about abortion bombers, or African Christians' brutality toward gays?

Yes, go and tell the victims' families exactly that. It will make them feel better.

Since I, personally, know 6 families and attended the funerals of close friends after 9/11, you can go stuff it. And I don't know what your point is: irrational claims about the WTC site should be treated as fact, lest we upset some families by telling them exactly what kind of establishments surround the WTC, and what exactly will be built on the site?

As if they don't know? As if their family members didn't see these sites on their way to work?

That being said, a refusal to even acknowledge there are objective reasons to oppose this mosque is, by definition, bigoted.

No it is not. You have not presented an objective reason that is not rooted in either ignorance or bigotry.

I'm simply pointing out that the blanket "bigoted" argument is wrong and unhelpful. I'm truly sorry that my attempts to do so are the worst effort yet. I'll be quiet now.

Again, for the umpteenth time, it's not only bigotry. It could be ignorance as well.

17.5% of 'hate crimes' were about religion. Of those, 65.7% were anti-Jewish, and 7.7% were anti-Islamic.

I think this is a pretty good indication that anti-Islamic bias is not what we need to worry about first.

Eric already got to this, but the mistake you're making here is conflating "cias" with "hate crimes." "Hate crime" is a specification added to a criminal charge such as assault, battery or vandalism. "Bias" is something else entirely. I think the current round of "No mosques!" in Tennessee and Buffalo and NYC counts as bias, where it is clearly not a hate crime.

And, as Eric also alluded to, there are approximately 1.5 million Muslims in the US according to the Pew Center. There are approximately 6.4 million Jews.

Defending Rauf is ironic? How?

because lefties hate religion and god and faith and they're all atheists who have spent generations demonizing and persecuting decent Christians and eliminating every trace of Jesus in the public sphere. but now here they are defending this horrible violent moon religion and trying to ensure that its laws replace the Constitution and that all our good white women will be clothed in the filthy burka.

duh.

Put a different way: would a Church ever be disallowed to be built in the area if it's leaders refused to condemn Hamas? Even if the leaders refused to endorse Hamas?

But, objectively speaking, that is a valid reason to oppose a mosque being built in the area? Because of the leader's opinion's on an internal Israeli matter?

Sure.

Would a Church ever be disallowed to be built in the area if it's leaders suggested that US foreign policy empowered al-Qaeda and extremism in the Afghan area?

Same.

Net/net, the non-bigoted argument against Park51 is that Rauf is not a good enough Muslim to build it.

Right russell. But we don't have the same "good enough" tests for Jewish or Christian leaders. Which is why I think it's bigoted.

This, even though many Jewish leaders actively support illegal settlers in Israel and some Christians do not condemn anti-abortion crusaders (or are not asked to, repeatedly, with the answer treated as a judgment on their lawful activities). ie.

Of course, that's the whole point of the Sam Harris quote: the only Muslim good enough to build a community center on Park Place is one who would never ever build a community center on Park Place.

Quite a catch, that Catch-22.

I said I'd be quiet, but I have to say this:

Eric: I apologize for the sarcasm that was offensive and in bad taste given your personal experience. My bad.

I should also correct my Pat Robertson analogy to if some nut of a DIFFERENT Christian sect, etc. BTW, I think Pat Robertson would be particularly a bad choice for a "bridge building" church near ground zero due to his post-9/11 comments. Not that anyone should be LEGALLY prohibited.

Finally, I think the problem is we don't have a parallel situation. Frex, I think any Christian building a church near the site of an anti-abortion homicide in a specific effort to build understanding between abortion supporters and Christian abortion opponents would get questioned on whether he or she supports killing abortion doctors. And I think that would be right.

P.S. Cleek: lol. I rather liked that.

Finally, I think the problem is we don't have a parallel situation. Frex, I think any Christian building a church near the site of an anti-abortion homicide in a specific effort to build understanding between abortion supporters and Christian abortion opponents would get questioned on whether he or she supports killing abortion doctors. And I think that would be right.

Absolutely! Me too!

Similarly, Rauf has been asked, repeatedly, what he thinks about al-Qaeda and what he thinks about terrorism. And that's fine FWIW.

And his answers, each and every time without fail, and unequivocally, have been that he thinks terrorism is wrong, that it violates Islam and that al-Qaeda is terrible.

In fact, Rauf has been such a longtime and notorious opponent of al-Qaeda and terrorism that the Bush administration selected him to be a goodwill ambassador to the US after 9/11.

His position on terrorism is not an issue - at least it shouldn't be to anyone that has been paying attention at all, or who can do even cursory research.

But that's not really it, is it?

I understand why some object to a bridge builder who has stated that America is "an accessory to the crime" that was 9/11. I may understand what he meant by that, but there is certainly a less offensive way to state those ideas.

Wasn't it Pat Robertson who said that Katrina was the result of homosexuality in New Orleans? Ought we to be offended by the building of any new Christian churches on the Gulf Coast? Or, perhaps, subject the pastors of such churches to scrutiny- have they properly and unequivocally denounced Robertson? Are there any fundraising links between the two, such as a common donor? Do they both belong to any broad coalition of churches?

Phil: Point taken. "Grave" is not the right word. I was more referring to how those who lost loved ones there feel, not me.

This is just not how we do justice. Im sure that the family of a child killed by a drunk driver would like to see the offender dragged to death behind a truck. Im sure that the relatives of someone killed by a defective part might like to see the CEO of the company that manufactured it fed to grizzlies. Some might even wish ill to the offender's parents or children, or those of their race or religion.

But while we accept that the victims and their families might have a thist for vengance, we don't attempt to justifty that thirst. We accept it. We certainly don't base public policy on it, or sit around talking about how, if those feelings are 'legitimate', then maybe we ought to punish the offenders further (or worse, people who look like them etc).

Finally, Im not sure that it makes sense to justify the view of the approximately 1/3rd of the country that wants the government to block the center and the 1/3rd who merely want it not to be built based on the views of actual victim's families. Of course, some of those families will support the building of the center and some will oppose it (and some may even worship there)- but that's neither here nor there as far as public policy ought to go.

According to the most recent FBI hate crimes report, reporting data on 2008, (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2008/incidents.html), 17.5% of 'hate crimes' were about religion. Of those, 65.7% were anti-Jewish, and 7.7% were anti-Islamic.
I think this is a pretty good indication that anti-Islamic bias is not what we need to worry about first.

If you've got any recommendations on preventing anti-Jewish bias crimes, I am all ears. I think that the vast majority of commenters of all political stripes here would agree that anti-Jewish bias crimes are Bad Things.
But is there some reason we can't work on both? Other than, it lets you make a rhetorical point?

TQ no

Marty, it's just about definition tu quoque. But, as wikipedia sayth "Tu quoque is only a fallacy when one uses it so as to divert attention from the issue at hand, or to avoid or fail to respond to an argument that non-fallaciously gave one the burden of proof."
There are times that tu quoque seems appropriate eg when someone of one party gets apoplextic over a Senator from the other party doing some horse-trading.
But here, I agree with others than you're equating two different things: saying that some group of people- say, the bank regulators- fell down on the job is IMO very different from intentionally conflating Islam and al-Qaeda. We can hardly have a discussion of domestic policy without the former type of assessment; the latter we can do completely without. I think you're painting with too broad of a brush to categorize these things as being similar.

if one of his congregation [or of a different sect] got all holy and such and read the Bible in such a way that seemed to him to require him to fly a plane into the tallest building in a Muslim country, I'd be the last person supporting a church near that site even it was in the spirit of reconciliation.

Doesn't work either way, bc. OK, if al Queda or a sect/cult like them wanted to build a mosque in lower Manhattan, I could understand the objections.

Let's imagine the Christian counterfactual in a more realistic way. Suppose someone from Pat Robertson's church took Pastor Pat's words seriously, and shot up, say, a gay bar, or something purported to be a gay bar, in NYC, killing lots of people (gays and not-gays alike). Since Pat indicated that homosexuality and other 'immoralities' made G-d allow 9/11 (and hurricanes), it made perfect sense to this guy to slaughter several dozen people; in his own mind, he was doing everyone a favor.

10 years later, Pat Robertson Inc. decides to build a super duper church on land they own a few blocks from the scene of the shooting rampage. Would there be some controversy? Probably some. Would construction be impeded? Unlikely. What would be the 'conservative' position? 'Private property, bla bla bla! it's insulting to 'tar' the entire literalist right wing evangelical tradition with the same brush, bla bla bla!'

You can freakin predict almost verbatim what the right wing reaction would be.

Now, let consider a slightly different scenario. The mass murder happens, but now, 10 years after, the land and proposed church are of the Methodist persuasion - mainstream, ecumenical, peace-loving, anodyne. Is there even a controversy? They're CHRISTIANS after all, just like the guy from Pat Robertson's church! Not only would there be no controversy, no one would even notice, much less grill the hapless Bishop of New York about political conflicts in other countries.

Park 51 is like the second scenario. There is no rational objection to it, and as has been pointed out many times already, there actually *was* no objection to it (from Republicans or anybody else) until some very cynical pols decided to deliberately aggrandize Pam Geller's bad mental health, so that millions of people might get afflicted with it.

It might make some people grouchy to be on the wrong side of this one, but that's their own problem and responsibility.

10 years after, the land and proposed church

Sorry, that should be '..proposed Community Center, with a chapel in it'.

The article drifted from the mosque to hate crimes.

The fact is, 17.5% of hate crimes are religious, and about 65% of those are anti-Jewish. The anti-Muslim hate crimes are less than 8%.

So I think if we want to worry about hate crimes, the anti-Muslim attitudes should not be our first priority.

See: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2008/incidents.html

So I think if we want to worry about hate crimes, the anti-Muslim attitudes should not be our first priority.

If we want to worry about hate crimes, I don't see the remotest reason why we shouldn't worry about all of them. I think they're all, underneath or at some meta level, the same thing. "Other=bad." It doesn't matter which thread you pull on first in order to get at that problem.

Odd that God kills so many people or stands by all-powerful but hoarding his religious capital as all of us die alone (ultimately) and yet he is still invited as guest of honor to the funerals.

He's always the first to line up for a plate of tuna melt casserole, three-bean salad, and lemonade at the home of the deceased while the rest of us offer our condolences to the bereaved. Off he goes, his coat pockets filled with dinner rolls, to sit in the corner and feed his visage with both hands.

He takes the longest swig off the flask Uncle Billy passes around to the men afterward out under the tree in the yard and then wipes his mouth on the good napkins and belches loudly enough for the widow to hear.

He carves his graffiti name on tombstones resting on the very graves of those he has taken from us.

People actually baptize their babies in His name even as he plots those very babies' demise.

Pat Robertson's God brought the punishment of random death and destruction to New Orleans and yet the city's good people rebuild God's houses, consecrate his ground, and welcome him back, even as his killing waters have not receded.

God, a demand-sider, stimulates and creates demand for his houses of worship and his services by his unrelenting daily death toll.

And yet we zone in his favor in the midst of the killing field.

AreaMan, apparently, for reasons unknown to everyone else, you want to pretend that bias manifests itself only as "hate crimes." Can you maybe help the rest of us out by telling us what the hell you're on about?

AreaMan- that's a funny thing, your twin brother was just here saying exactly the same thing. Some people responded to him, check out what they said & maybe a conversation will develop. And please, let your other twin brother know so that we don't get a third post containing exactly the same information, that'd be hella awkward.

it's insulting to 'tar' the entire literalist right wing evangelical tradition with the same brush

Take OKC- Ive heard many people argue that we can't tar the violent rhetoric of the militia right with McVeigh's brush, he was just a 'lone crazy'. Let alone tar the conservative wing of the GOP in general (nb not saying that would be correct).
There is, I think, a correct amount of scope to give this sort of group blame, but it's often intentionally altered for blatantly political purposes.
And, of course, it's not always on the right- my experience is that many if not most evangelicals believe that attacks on abortion providers to be wrong, but Ive seen pro-choice people conflate those two groups in order to attack opposition to abortion in general as tolerant of violence or hypocritical.

I understand why some object to a bridge builder who has stated that America is "an accessory to the crime" that was 9/11. I may understand what he meant by that, but there is certainly a less offensive way to state those ideas. I believe an objection to Rauf's involvement at Park51 based on that statement to be non-bigoted.

And that's the game that's being played, you see. A political leader can try bashing on Muslims - but it's risky. It might backfire. they might look like a bully.

So, they have to find a way to bully Muslims that you can whitewash really nicely, and make it look pretty.

So they find something. And they count on other people to rally around it. And, pardon the crudity, they throw shit against the wall to see what sticks, and when they find just the right sticky shit, that's what they keep flinging.

If it hadn't been Rauf saying that, "you know, the US has done some stuff that pisses off a bunch of Muslims, and that's why there are some people who hate them" there would have been something else... or, they would have dropped Ms. Sherrod as their enemy - whoops, sorry, why did Shirley Sherrod pop into my mind?

Or, they would have dropped Rauf, and found another target.

Now, what you're saying is not entirely incorrect - there are people who, in good faith, oppose the project because they were fed a lot of lines about him, and they, themselves, are not committing a bigoted act.

But they believe what they believe because of the bigotry of others (and the carefully contrived public hating generated by the hate machine).

Pragmatically, sometimes it's best to say "I understand how you feel that way - but I still think you're wrong, and here's why."

But a person who gets misinformed, and does something wrong, needs to realize how awful their actions are. Being too gentle does not do them a favor, because what they're doing is still *wrong*.

As for:

The general insensitivity of it all. This is a mass grave of 3,000 people. If one is trying to build a bridge to understanding, one would (I think) try to understand the feelings of those you are trying to reach, regardless of whether they are irrational and not force the issue. I don't think the "don't give in to bigots" argument works at all. I think it is a matter of respect.

Here's the thing: no one gave a damn until it was made a big hatefest. There were some sparks flying that were deliberately fanned into flames. But let's pretend that I'm being too cynical. I *could* possibly be wrong. I'm not - but, let's pretend.

There were leaders who could have tamped all this down. "Yeah, it's insensitive" they could have said to the Palins and Gingriches and (I'm sure) the Limbaughs and Becks, "but you know what? If we bring it up, and let it become big, splashy headlines, it'll be ten times more hurtful than if we just let it quietly happen. And if we discuss our concerns with enough community leaders, there might be a better way to handle this than raising a mighty stink."

So, I'll ask you: who was *more* insensitive? The guys who planned a quiet little construction project in Manhattan, or the people who started screaming that it was a horrible, horrible thing, by a horrible, horrible man, and kept flinging shit until they found stuff that stuck?

Listen: I sympathize with your point of view. There was a time I'd have said the same sort of thing. But that was before the last 18 years where I saw how much hate could be used as a tool of politics.

That being said, a refusal to even acknowledge there are objective reasons to oppose this mosque is, by definition, bigoted. I'm simply pointing out that the blanket "bigoted" argument is wrong and unhelpful. I'm truly sorry that my attempts to do so are the worst effort yet. I'll be quiet now.

Um. Could I suggest you change the word "objective" to something else? There are no "objective" reasons to oppose the mosque. There might be reasons held by those who are acting in good faith, who are not bigoted towards Muslims. However, I believe that, in nearly all of those cases, people would not have those objections if there wasn't a hatefest intentionally whipped up over this.

Not that it needed further demonstration, but Park51 is IMO just the latest proof case that no good deed goes unpunished.

This CNN piece covers a lot of relevant news of today.

A broad coalition of Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders denounced what they described as a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry across the United States Tuesday, arguing that such sentiments constitute a betrayal of traditional American principles.

[...]

Numerous faith leaders in recent weeks have expressed concerns about hate crimes against American Muslims in the runup to this weekend's anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, which coincides with the holiday of Eid-al-Fitr marking the conclusion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Attorney General Eric Holder is slated to discuss the concern at a Tuesday afternoon meeting with religious leaders at the Justice Department. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may weigh in on the debate as well when she joins a Ramadan celebration at the State Department Tuesday night. Clinton is expected to deliver remarks around 8 p.m. ET.

[...]

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the religious leader behind the project -- officially known as Park51 -- has returned to the United States from an outreach trip to the Middle East, according to Daisy Khan, his wife.

He plans to make a public statement about the debate surrounding the project later this week, although the exact timing of his remarks is unclear. [....]

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