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Religion: When Democracy Becomes Hypocrisy

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I'm so worn out and I know I'm not alone. It's everywhere, this raging debate about the Mosque at Ground Zero. And when I say "raging," I mean enraged. Doesn't anyone get tired of the hate, the fighting, the venom? Isn't there anyone out there astute and sensitive enough to change the course of things? God, I hope so, because this is beyond exhausting.

First we had the utter evil that fueled the September 11th attacks. And now instead of practicing what we preach and looking for an opportunity to create peace and inclusion on our own soil, we continue to divide, foster more hate and create hostility towards others unlike ourselves. Why is it that we are so limited as human beings that we only seem able to make space for our own kind? In case no one noticed, that's what the terrorists do. Don't we want to be better than that? We certainly say we do, but where's the evidence?

The combat, the hypocrisy, the grandstanding, the bravado, it's killing us. We are fighting over a piece of land and religion is once again at the heart of it. Sound familiar? What is wrong with us? Have we not had enough war? Do we really need to start another one in our own backyard?

Apparently so, because that's what's happening. We have a lot of smart people doing dumb things. I know, nothing like stating the blindingly obvious. But, here's what I really don't understand. Why has a plan not emerged to build places for Christians, Jews and Muslims to worship? There. Done.  Debate over. Fighting over. Venom neutralized. But no, there's not even been a whiff of suggestion. Rather, for some reason we need to fight and hate and keep the jihad going here as well as in the Middle East. We talk about tolerance, we talk about acceptance, yet, we do no such thing. All it would take is a teensy bit of openness, willingness and flexibility to create something extraordinary, something that so far, no war has been able to accomplish. So why not try?

Make a place where all kinds of people are respected, valued and welcomed regardless of their beliefs. Instead of one big mosque, why not have something less big to make room for a church that could sit next to a synagogue? How gross is it that we cannot come up with a solution where one interest group agrees to take a little less in order to give a little more to another so that collectively, we could start the process of actually paving a road to peace. All the talk, talk, talk is useless. We need doers who know what to do. Even for someone who is as enlightened as President Obama claims to be, this should have been a no-brainer. So, I ask, why not take this opportunity to create something good rather than adding more land to the overcrowded map of perpetual battlegrounds. The symbolism and everything else about it is all wrong.

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