It's easy to say that the people behind the Park51 mosque and community center should have simply placed their center farther away to avoid giving offense, but it's hard to guess how far away would be safe.
Religious faith is too important to become a political punching bag. One does not have to like or even respect Islam to believe its practitioners have the right to build a worship center wherever they wish.
I refer to those who oppose building the mosque at Ground Zero as holding an un-American position because the First Amendment stands in their way, yet they still seek the path of the emotional short cut.
As I followed the issue, I was struck by how the word mosque became the dominant conflict driven media frame of the story and how interfaith bridge building and creating a space for moderate Islam receded into the background.
There is only one halfway decent reason why a Mosque should be built 2 blocks away from Ground Zero in New York. It's called the 1st Amendment. Maybe you've heard of it? That's the deal with Democracy. It's not a Chinese menu.
The hysteria about the Muslim community center being planned near Ground Zero is not just a protest against a building and a place. It is rather the latest chapter in this evolving campaign that exploits fear by preying on uncertainty and insecurity.
The American public's oppugnancy to the erection of the "ground zero mosque" only serves to reinforce the worst fears of Muslims around the globe -- which is a shame because obstructing such an endeavor couldn't be more un-American.
Gingrich and others are trying to figure out how to brand their inevitable defeat, and they seem to have settled on the idea that the very existence of the mosque is enough to discredit its proponents.
Chicagoans this week embraced a group of disabled Egyptians. They expressed their fascination with Egypt as a nation. In turn, the Egyptians made friends and embraced American culture and business know-how.