No more victories for Bin Laden
By R ELISABETH CORNWELL - WASHINGTON POST 'ON FAITH'
Added: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 08:20:49 UTC
There is an irony in that the very people who claim to defend America's traditional values are the ones who are so very willing to hand over victory after victory to Osama Bin Laden. Our personal freedoms have been diminished, our judicial system has been vandalized, and our economy stretched to its limit fighting a war on terror at home and abroad. We have allowed fear and ignorance to take hold. And isn't that what Bin Laden and his ilk really want?
Yet here we are again giving an ear to those who would love to hand over one of our most cherished values to Bin Laden: the First Amendment.
Personally, I am not in favor of a Mosque being built near Ground Zero, but then I am not in favor of any religious buildings being erected where the legacy of faith takes the form of a gaping pit. They all seem in 'poor taste' to the eyes of a secularist. I weary of the 'Holier-than-Thou' folks' claim of 'knowing' the truth through a collection of thousand year old writings and the ongoing, contorted, convoluted, and conflicting interpretations. I would rather see children learning about the Constitution than about divine retribution and faith. What should be built at Ground Zero is a community center dedicated to overcoming ignorance, dogma, superstition, and blind faith, replacing it with reason, logic, science, and compassion. This is not a new concept, it is a little over 200 years old and was used as the framework to design a bold experiment in self-government.
However, my personal preferences are inconsequential, no matter how strongly I feel about the inappropriateness of the presence of mosques or churches at that iconically tragic place. Our Constitution makes it very clear that popularity of an idea is no basis for law. It would not matter if 90% of Americans were in favor of banning a church, synagogue, mosque or temple from building on private land, because the only thing that matters is that the First Amendment is upheld. And as long as the rights of religious people are being upheld, then there is still the chance that we are all protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
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