A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Zero Opposition

Frankly I've found most of the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy a bit baffling (as almost everything is, which in any way involves Sarah Palin). The mosque is not being built ON Ground Zero, or even within view of it. Another mosque has been near the site since the 70's. While some of those involved are undoubtedly good-hearted, others (mostly politicians) are using it to drum up hatred and anger.

I believe that at the heart of the controversy lies a fundamental misconception. All of the opposition somehow equates those Muslims who are building the mosque with the Muslims who perverted Islam and flew planes into the world trade center, murdering thousands of innocent people. This to me seems as incoherent as it would be to hold me responsible for the acts of some crazy extremist who happens to be Mormon. Why should we punish those who are not responsible for the attacks by restricting their free exercise of religion? Some would argue that Islam is inherently violent and preaches death to unbelievers, however, as an excellent article by Robert Wright in the New York Times points out, similar passages exist in the bible. I think that even the people who are sincerely opposed to the Mosque for non-political reasons are falling prey to this logical fallacy of equating Muslim extremists with all Muslims.

As Mormons, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." This is part of the Articles of Faith, succinct statements of our fundamental beliefs. It specificially says that we believe all mankind should be able to worship God WHEREVER they desire to. Shouldn't this include a location in New York City of Muslims' own choosing? Why should loud angry people decide where others practice their religion? Isn't that the beginning of tyranny?

Also, as a nicer way to oppose the Mosque, some have said that "Sure, they have the right to build the Mosque, but they aren't being "sensitive" to the emotions it creates." Well, leaving aside the fact that someone will always be offended by religious practice, this creates a world where we don't have true freedom of religion. Instead we have freedom of religion as long as the majority approves of your religion. Again, this goes back to the automatic assumption that all Muslims are terrorists. This is simply FALSE, and punishes the innocent for the sins of the truly guilty.

I thought this was an excellent post breaking down the logical fallacy behind opposing the Ground Zero Mosque: http://theboard.byu.edu/questions/59155/ (note: Sauron is not the LOTR Sauron, it's someone's pen name on the site)

So, I have zero opposition to the mosque in downtown NYC. I hope it is built and becomes a refuge of peace for those seeking to worship God.


  1. Hear hear! The NYTimes article you link to doesn't include this scripture, but I think it's another great example of how even Jesus can be understood to advocate violence if you read only one of his statements without the context of the rest of his ministry.

  2. Nice post! I agree.