First, let's do some house keeping: the "Ground Zero Mosque" is not on Ground Zero. It's two blocks away. Nor is it a mosque. It's a community center with a prayer room. Kind of like a chapel in an airport- a place to pray, but not a church, right?
How absurdly stupid would it be to broadly define Christianity as a hate faith because of Westboro Baptist and the KKK?
Now about the Imam in question: he's never given support for Hamas. Here's what he did say:
During an interview on New York WABC radio in June 2010, Abdul Rauf declined to say whether he agreed with the U.S. State Department's designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Asked if he agreed with the State Department's assessment, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio,
"Look, I'm not a politician. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question," he told interviewer Aaron Klein.
"There was an attempt in the '90s to have the UN define what terrorism is and say who was a terrorist. There was no ability to get agreement on that."
Asked again for his opinion on Hamas, an exasperated Rauf wouldn't budge.
"I am a peace builder. I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy," Rauf said, insisting that he wants to see peace in Israel between Jews and Arabs.
So now that we have the facts straight, we can go on to the utter, shameless, nutballed hypocrisy of the right on this issue.
Besides the sheer racism of equating a worldwide faith of millions with terrorism and hate, we could talk about how Westboro Baptist and the KKK are Christian organizations and how absurdly stupid it would be to broadly define Christianity as a hate faith because of them.
We could also address how the Tea Party in particular and Republicans in general have wailed for years now about the sanctity of the Constitution and how inviolate it is. Yet, when confronted with a poster boy issue for First Amendment religious rights, they choose to selectively edit their strict constructionist outrage.
It seems to me that a community center dedicated to multicultural healing, with a 9/11 memorial and a mission of educational outreach, is exactly the sort of thing we would logically want near Ground Zero. But we have gone past logic in the America of Beck, Palin and Gingrich.
On his website, Gingrich says,
There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively towards us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.
And that pretty much proves my point. The vaunted "brain" of the right either has no clue that freedom of religion is one of the key transformational innovations of American democracy...or he's simply lost in a frenzied power struggle to be the most quoted prick of any given news cycle.
Either way, it's some scary stuff when the latest polls are showing fairly overwhelming support for Gingrich's position not only in New York, but in the country as well. The melting pot is boiling over these days.