Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Michael Bloomberg delivers stirring defense of mosque.

Mayor Bloomberg has made a stirring speech in defence of the building of a mosque near to ground Zero. Surrounded by religious leaders of several faiths, he called this "[as] important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetimes."

The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.
This is what makes the right wing objections to this mosque so very strange. Usually, conservatives would find themselves making Bloomberg's argument, and it is only because of a virulent anti-Muslim bias since 9-11 that they find themselves making the very opposite one.
“Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11, and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemies’ hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists, and we should not stand for that."
The Palin's and the Limbaugh's have not thought this one through. They are seeking to be populist and to play on people's fears and prejudices, but, in doing so, they are betraying what are supposed to be their own principles.

And no organisation has sold out it's principles more than the ADL.

Once the ADL was an organization of heroes. No more. Now when bigots call for a lynch mob to form out of fear and religious intolerance, the ADL no longer stands in the way. Now they call on their members to grab a rope and join the rampage.

Peter Beinart has a post up that helps to explain how the ADL went down the hate spiral of Wingnutopia. He makes a good case for how an important organization destroyed its credibility in an effort to appease the powerful and the extremists in their network.

Foxman is trying to justify his intervention by claiming this:
But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain—unnecessarily—and that is not right.
Now, he appears to define the ADL's purpose as to look protect the sensitivities of survivors, rather than to ensure “civil rights” and “democratic ideals” which was what his organisation was ultimately formed to ensure.

The ADL now find themselves on the side of the mob attempting to remove the rights of one group of citizens. That's shameful.

"Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure, and there is no neighborhood in this city that is off-limits to God's love and mercy, as the religious leaders here with us can attest."
Bloomberg is to be applauded for a wonderful principled speech.


Daily Beast:
The ADL’s rationale for opposing the Ground Zero mosque is that “building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain—unnecessarily—and that is not right.” Huh? What if white victims of African-American crime protested the building of a black church in their neighborhood? Or gentile victims of Bernie Madoff protested the building of a synagogue? Would the ADL for one second suggest that sensitivity toward people victimized by members of a certain religion or race justifies discriminating against other, completely innocent, members of that religion or race? Of course not. But when it comes to Muslims, the standards are different.
Click here for full article.


bravospeeches said...

Regardless of your position, you have to agree this is a well written speech. Here's my take on the techniques Bloomberg and his team employed to make this perhaps his most memorable speech of his tenure:

Kel said...

Thank you. I enjoyed your article on that speech.