Religious Freedom… But Not for All

By: Patti Bankson

I think we’d all agree that simply being “religious”, no matter the religion you adhere to, doesn’t guarantee perfection, but it sure can guarantee scrutiny. And when something happens to place a religion under the national microscope, that scrutiny can be pretty intense. So can the opinions and arguments. In those instances, more often than not, you can’t win for losing. On the other hand, if you throw your religion out there into the public arena by doing something that causes jaws to drop in disbelief… something that stomps all over the still-aching hearts of those who lost loved ones because of violence perpetrated by a member of your particular religion… all your protestations of sensitivity to those broken hearts ring pretty hollow. You know, of course, I’m talking about the decision to build a mosque at ground zero. Not only do the sensitivity protestations ring hollow, but arguments offered in favor of allowing this project sound stupid. Like the argument NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg made that this is a Freedom of Religion issue. Geez… and here I thought you needed to be pretty smart to become a BILLIONAIRE. Guess not! Or maybe there’s something else behind his argument? Don’t know what, but …

On ABC news, “Morning Mix”, Deborah Norville (“Inside Edition” anchor) pointed out to host, George Stephanopoulos, that the point here is that there’s a church that was buried when the second tower came down. Quoting Ms Norville: “St. Nicholas Church, a Greek Orthodox church. That church has run into every conceivable impediment. And in nine years, that church, this place of worship, has not been able to get the Port Authority and other agencies to give them the green light to rebuild, and yet, a mosque, which has no presence in the area, has been given the green light by getting the landmark status of this building rejected. A lot of people look at that and go, wait a minute, where are our priorities?”

I agree with Deborah, but I also think people look at that and go, wait a minute, where is our common sense? Why are all the rest of us, in the name of political correctness, supposed to be “sensitive” and “tolerant”? Why can’t the people behind the ground zero mosque project be “sensitive” and “tolerant”? Nobody is saying they aren’t free to worship whomever and whenever. In this case, it’s the “wherever” that’s the problem. Not just because of how the friends and relatives of the Twin Tower murder victims feel, but because there are so many other places the mosque could be built… why this one, particular spot? Oh, and there’s yet another question that needs answering: What makes this mosque project so special that it appears to be just speeding ahead on a well-oiled track, while it looks like NYC’s Port Authority and Mayor Bloomberg are perfectly happy to leave St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church buried under long-gone, but not forgotten ashes, and on-going red tape?

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