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Judge H. Lee Sarokin

Judge H. Lee Sarokin

Posted: August 5, 2010 01:39 AM

I do not know whether or not the comparison is apt. The suffering of the victims and families of child molestation may not compare with those of 9/11, but some claim the suffering is equal. The point, however, is that if we prohibit religious buildings because of the dastardly acts of some members of that religion, then no religious building could ever be erected.

I certainly recognize and respect the opposition to the Cordoba Center at that particular site at this particular time, but we must distinguish between the right to protest and the right to prohibit. Both sides in this dispute point to the symbolism of this structure at Ground Zero (although, in truth, it appears to be near, rather than at Ground Zero). In my mind, that issue should be resolved by asking what the decision says about our nation.

Denying the structure says that we value anger and revenge and wish to punish the whole for the acts of a few. Allowing it says that we value our commitment to religious freedom and that we do not condemn an entire religion for the acts of some of its members. Denial demeans us. Permission distinguishes us.