The controversy about what the Associated Press now refrains from calling the “Ground Zero Mosque” (oh, how PC!) does not seem to be going away. Many folks have it all wrong. Many others have it right, but for the wrong reason.
Of course everyone in America has the right to freely practice the religion of their choice. And we do still have rights to own and maintain private property — though many in power these days are actively working to eradicate that under the banners of “general welfare” and “social justice” which come down to expropriation of private property by the state.
The right of an person or organization to construct a building of any type is not absolute. It is circumscribed by its responsibility to avoid infringing on the rights of others. Typically any disgreement on the suitability of such construction is adjudicated by local zoning boards. The federal government has no voice in the argument, much less the Commentator-in-Chief.
So, does the GZM infringe on the rights of others? One can cogently argue that it does, despite the conciliatory words that this is really a “cultural center.” Worthy of inquiry is the reasoning of why the chosen location was selected. Unpacking it, one finds that Islamists have demonstrated a proclivity to construct mosques at or near the site of their greatest victories over the infidels. Look at Istanbul. Look at Jerusalem. Look at Spain, site of the Cordoba mosque. Gee, wasn’t the GZM at one point planned to be called Cordoba House before planners felt the heat and renamed it Park51?
One of the little-acknowledged truths germane to this discussion is the one revealed in detail by Andrew McCarthy in his recent book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.
(The book is available everywhere; the link is to an e-book edition I’ve just finished reading on the nook platform.)
Very briefly, a substantial number of today’s Islamists, including the ones doing the planning and fund-raising for the GZM, conceive of Islam in part as a religion but more expansively as a method of ordering society, using sharia to enforce the dictates of Islam on those submitting to it. Clearly such a method infringes on the rights of non-Muslims, which makes it incompatible with the First Amendment and the rest of our founding principles.
Read the book. Then think about the wisdom of permitting construction of a victory monument for 9/11 within blocks of the Twin Towers.