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One of the biggest stories in the news these days is plans by a Muslim group to construct a mosque, or “Islamic Cultural Center” according to some reports, within two blocks of the Ground Zero site.  Every politician from the lowliest New York alderman to the President himself have been commenting on the plans for what feels like weeks.

I am not one to take up political topics on their blog.  I truly feel that there is a time and place for these types of issues, and, generally, the Jungle Gym is not one of them.  I want this to be a safe place for my readers where they can come for some twisted insight and maybe a few chuckles.  Politics is a divisive topic that will alienate one half of a room from the other faster than the speed of light.

I only bring the topic up because I have one question.  How far are we willing to stretch in our pursuit of political correctness?

I am fully in favor of any religious group being allowed to build their sanctuaries, regardless of what they are called, where they feel is appropriate.  I am a firm believer in the fact that tolerance and acceptance of religious viewpoints that differ from your own is a keystone in the structure of this great nation.  However, the question I have isn’t whether they have the right to build, but whether it is right or not.

Now, I know that some in my audience are now frowning and thinking I’m some sort of bigot.  And maybe there is a modicum of truth there, though I don’t believe so.  I simply think that we need to approach decisions like this with an eye toward what is appropriate and what is in poor taste.

When I was in college I read a book called The Sacred & The Profane.  In this work the author, Mircea Eliade, talks to the way that we divide our world into spaces that out Sacred and Profane.  Most people would agree that the interior of a church, mosque, or temple would certainly qualify as Sacred space, whereas the local GAP store, unless you’re a fashion-forward teenager, would be a Profane, or non-spiritual, space.

I would argue that places that are not houses of worship can certainly be Sacred spaces as well.  I would call the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Hawaii a Sacred space.  I would call the prison cell Nelson Mandela occupied for decades a Sacred space.  And, yes, I consider Ground Zero a Sacred space.

And because I see that place as Sacred, how do you think I view the building of a mosque, a holy place dedicated to the religion that was used to drive men to commit the acts of 9/11, within two blocks of that site?  Notice I did not say the religion of those men.  Islam was twisted and warped by zealots and extremists before it was given to those men as their faith.  The same can be, and has been, done with nearly every religion the world over at one time or another.

But, regardless of the fact that they were adherents to an extreme and radicalized form of Islam, the faith was the tool that was used by evil men, and I will not apologize for seeing them as evil, to drive them to acts of murder and terrorism.  The idea of this faith, even in a non-radicalized form, being practiced at that Sacred space strikes me as wholly disrespectful.  One has to wonder at the motivations behind the choice of site.  Surely, no one is surprised by this backlash.  Why are they so insistent that their mosque must be in that location?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that anyone who sees a problem with this is being called every name in the book in the press and by our political leaders.  Nancy Pelosi has gone so far as to call for investigation into the funding of one group opposed to the construction.

The truth of the matter is, as I see it, there needs to be respect all around.  I will fight for your right to build that mosque until my voice gives out.  However, I would ask that you respect the sacrifice of so many people and not color the Sacred space with controversy.  I would not ask that you accept the building of a Catholic basilica at the site of a city destroyed during the Crusades, show me the same respect.

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