Ground Zero sum game

Cal Thomas's picture

After months of dithering by the White House about the “Ground Zero Mosque” in lower Manhattan, President Obama endorsed the project at an Iftar dinner Aug. 13. The president said, “...as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”

After a torrent of criticism, the president the next day tried clarifying what he meant. “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” he said, “I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country’s about.”

Yes, America was founded on the principles of religious freedom, but practicing religion isn’t the issue. Unlike Christians and Jews in most Muslim nations, Muslims in America are free to practice their faith. The issue is whether they use that freedom to ultimately undermine freedom for people of different faiths, or no faith.

It isn’t America’s obligation to demonstrate our tolerance, as if by doing so those within Islam who wish to destroy us will ultimately transform into religious pluralists. It is their obligation to demonstrate their own tolerance in the face of much evidence of Islamic intolerance and violence by radicals.

No less an authority on the subject than the State Department’s own “ambassador” to Islamic nations, Feisal Abdul Rauf, offers valuable insight. Rauf is the founder of Park51, the proposed Ground Zero cultural center, and a self-professed moderate who refuses to describe Hamas as a terrorist group, though the State Department does. The same Hamas whose co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar declared, “We have to build everywhere!” Yet Rauf is traveling to the Middle East at taxpayer expense, supposedly telling Muslims how tolerant America is when it comes to Islam.

In an interview posted on Hadielislam.com and translated into English by Walid Shoebat, a former Palestinian terrorist and Christian convert, who became a U.S. citizen, Rauf reveals his goal.

Shoebat explains that what Rauf wants is to use “peaceful means,” including lobbying governments and establishing charities, to incrementally establish what he calls the original Islamic State worldwide as it once was in Arabia.

This consists of the principles of Sharia law, including the stoning of adulterers and the decapitation of “infidels” (non-Muslims) everywhere, including in America. Read interview excerpts at http://specialguests.com/guests/viewnews.cgi?id=EklEykZuuurVINGCpf&tmpl=....

We debate among ourselves about this issue, trying to persuade each other we aren’t intolerant or anti-Muslim. But those who would create more Ground Zeroes are not debating themselves, at least not in a way that would minimize the threat America and the rest of the West faces. They believe they have Allah on their side and martyrdom and heaven as their goal. How do “infidel” diplomats, Jews, Christians and secularists negotiate with such a mindset?

In a statement prior to the Aug. 13 dinner, President Obama said such events “remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” Unfortunately, the president didn’t give any examples of where such principles are being practiced now in much of the Muslim world.

Perhaps the president should have considered the comments of Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Arifi on Egypt’s Al-Rahma TV, July 19, 2010:

“Devotion to Jihad for the sake of Allah, and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls, and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of His religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer. ... The Koranic verses that deal with fighting the infidels and conquering their countries say that they should convert to Islam, pay the jizya poll tax, or be killed. If the Muslims had implemented this, we would not have reached the humiliation in which we find ourselves today.”

That’s reality, not wishful thinking. This is what we’re up against with the Ground Zero project and with the rapid immigration of radical Muslims. All the pronouncements to the contrary won’t make it otherwise.

[Cal Thomas is America’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist, appearing in more than 600 national newspapers. He is the author of more than 10 books and is a FOX News political contributor since 1997. Email Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com.] ©2010 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

Davids mom
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Lutheran Church

Is the Lutheran Church considered an 'evangelical' church? Yes!

http://isae.wheaton.edu/defining-evangelicalism/

bladderq
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Muslims & 9/11 Victims

Don't know the #'s but I do believe there were more than a few innocent Muslim victims done in by their misguided fellow congregates. Kinda like when the residents of Salem burned at the stake fellow followers of Christ.

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The muslims need to be

The muslims need to be tolerant of the victims feelings and the majority of Americans feelings regarding building the victory mosque on sacred ground.

Tolerance works both ways, unless you're a liberal.
Christian Louboutin

Hey
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Stolen comment

Bug - why did you copy and paste Joe's comment from below as your own?
You obviously aren't here for the blog.

bladderq
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A Novel Approach to Houses of Worship

Ya think there would be so many of them of all faiths, if they were taxed? I bet that would close more than a few budget gaps. Separating Church & State should be: The state won't tax you more than anyone else. This country should also be big enough in its ideals to turn the other cheek (so to speak) & show that religious freedom isn't just lip service or for white Anglo & Protesters. There was time when Catholics & synagogues would not have been welcomed to build just anywhere.

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http://groundzeromosquetheame
T-Man
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Cal Cal Cal

Still up to your old game of bigotry. Just saying - He knew this guy who is a Muslim which hates Americans that makes him an American hater too. Oklahoma Federal building was destroyed by a Christian what say ye. Iraq was invaded by a Christian nation because their leader spoke of having weapons of mass destruction what say ye on that (no weapons found). When you paint with a broad brush Cal it forms a bigot message. The norm from you as usual.

Cal Beverly
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Will you liberals help me ...

... build a little church in Mecca?

I'll supply the money, materials, Bibles, etc.

I just need you to be there with me, you know, for moral support.

Heck, it needn't even be a building. Just a 6x6-ft. plot of land, room enough for a 6-ft.-high cross. It can be on a side street in Mecca, not even the main drag.

Will you liberals stand there with me, you know, in support of human rights and all?

If Mecca is too hot for you, then stand with me in Tehran, or Islamabad, or even Jakarta.

Come on, guys, where's your liberal spirit on freedom of religion?

I mean, after all, those are all "moderate" Muslims, right?

Surely you would be in favor of a little reciprocity ... wouldn't you?

Chris P. Bacon
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Religious reciprocity

Let me see here, putting all of your smugness aside, you want to compare the Democratic Republic form of government of the United States with Sharia theocractic monarchy that rules Saudi Arabia?

Okay.

The Saudi constitution is based on Sharia law, which prohibits public expression of any faith other than Islam. This precludes, as a matter of law, the formation of Christian churches.

The United States constitution, on the other hand, goes out of its way to prevent such state recognition of a specific religion (a core tenet conveniently overlooked by the "Christian Nation" folks).

Two separate and distinct forms of government.

Now, it would appear to me that you have an issue with the Saudi prohibition on public Christian faith. Since you've framed this as a "problem", I'd be interested in hearing any proposed "solutions" you might have!

Should we "invade 'em, kill their leaders and convert 'em to Christianity" as conservative nabob Ann Coulter suggested?

Should we establish an economic blockade of their exports until they agree to respect religion the American way? oooh...no Saudi oil...that's a tough one.

Should we use the United Nations to campaign against their obvious human rights violations?

Or should we involve ourselves, as you seem to be suggesting, in an escalating game of tit-for-tat, i.e. "You gonna ban our Christians? Fine, we'll ban your Muslims!" (I can see how that would go over well with those who require their philosophies to fit neatly on a bumper sticker, but is this a proper position for a country that prides itself as the leader of the free world?)

p.s. If we really want to focus our Christian indignation, consider this little gem...substitute "Tel Aviv" for "Mecca" above. Evangelical Christian churches are banned by law in Israel as well, and the United States is financing this ban indirectly via the billions we send each year to prop up their government!

Cyclist
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Interesting Bacon
Chris P. Bacon wrote:

Evangelical Christian churches are banned by law in Israel as well, and the United States is financing this ban indirectly via the billions we send each year to prop up their government!

I was in Jerusalem a couple of years ago and there was a Lutheran Church. Can you cite that law?

Chris P. Bacon
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Cyclist, re: churches in Israel

Okay, I took you challenge and did a little research. The answer to your question is a bit complex.

I was mistaken when I said that Evangelical Christian churches are banned by law in Israel. They are not. Having said that, Evangelical Christian proselytizing is banned by law, so Christians cannot legally witness for their faith in Israel.

There are 160 Christian churches in Israel. From what I understand, they are almost evenly split among two main functions: Providing a support network for the vast number of Christian tourists who visit the Holy Land each year, and for the Christian Russian Diaspora. I hadn't realized during the 1970s that a number of Russian Christians took advantage of having a small amount of Jewish ancestry to flee Russia during the initial thawing of the Cold war. They qualified to return to Israel under the "Law of Return". They now live in Israel and want to practice their Christian faith, although they are nominally Jews in the eyes of the Israeli government.

Israel routinely blocks evangelical groups from establishing Christian missions, and the ultraorthodox Shas party wants to impose even more draconian measures on Christians, proposing to revoke citizenship of those immigrants who will not declare their Jewish faith. One of the largest missionary groups in the world, the so-called Latter-day Saints, were able to establish a pseudomission in Israel only after agreeing to not witness door-to-door. People can come to them, but they cannot go to the people.

In any event, I still believe there is an important parallels here: both Saudi Arabia and Israel, although permitting private individual religious belief, use the government to actively discourage and/or prohibit Christian proselytizing.

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ChrisP, analogous situations?
Quote:

. . . and the ultraorthodox Shas party wants to impose even more draconian measures on Christians, proposing to revoke citizenship of those immigrants who will not declare their Jewish faith.

Shhhh! Chris, what's the matter with you??! Keep talking like that and these "good Christian" people will get ideas about getting rid of birthright U.S. citizenship and replacing it with a required declaration of Christian faith.

Wait a minute. That won't work. Nope. It will have to be replaced with something else. A simple declaration that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior just isn't enough. Oh, don't get me wrong; a simple declaration is perfectly fine for regular Christians like you and me but, apparently, for some people, it isn't sufficient proof of the faith of the African-American guy at 1600 Penn. Ave.

I mean, it's not going to be enough proof for some people who keep saying that they are Christians. And, well . . . since we can't see into their hearts . . . we can't really know what they believe . . . I guess we have no choice but to take them at their word.

C'mon. Sing it with me, ". . . and they'll know we are Christians by our love".

Observerofu
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bolo for God

and God bless your pea picking little heart.

Now why don't you go torture some cats and take some kids lunch money.

Observerofu
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Nope can't let that slide either

Chris P Bacon said:"I was mistaken when I said that Evangelical Christian churches are banned by law in Israel. They are not. Having said that, Evangelical Christian proselytizing is banned by law, so Christians cannot legally witness for their faith in Israel."

Again you are incorrect 0 for 2 as it is.

See this article for clarification:
http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/BibleStudyAndTheology/JewishRoots/press...

If what you say is true Pat Robertson would not have been allowed to "testify" in Israel in front of an audience in Israel.

""We love you!" Sharon told the gathering. In a march through the streets of Jerusalem, they returned the affection, waving signs such as "Oklahoma Loves Israel" and shouting "Hallelujah to the God of Israel!""

Your information about Israel is flawed at best.

Chris P. Bacon
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Thanks for playing

Not many people would consider Pat Robertson a Christian missionary.

I can understand how YOU would make that leap of faith, however.

Robertson is more of a Christian celebrity, one who sends vast quantities of tourists to Israel each year.

I wouldn't be surprised if Israel rolls out the red carpet for him and/or has him on retainer, he brings in so many tourist dollars. Not to mention his unswerving support for the seedier aspects of Israeli politics.

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CPB I was just correcting your "Mistakes"

if you want to call them mistakes. You are wrong. Twice now you claimed facts that were in error.
The first was were you said it was against the law in Israel to have an "Evangelical" church. You were wrong.

The second was were you claimed it was against the law in Israel for Evangelical Christians could not "testify" in Israel. Again you were wrong.

If you can not at least state true facts then don't be surprised when you are called on them.

Cyclist
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Chris P. Bacon

Thank you for the response.

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cyclist I am not sure he realizes that

there is no such law.

" Israeli law officially recognizes five religions, all belonging to the Abrahamic family of religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Druzeism and the Bahá'í Faith. Furthermore, the law formally recognizes ten separate sects of Christianity: the Roman, Armenian, Maronite, Syriac, and Chaldean Catholic Churches; the the Eastern Orthodox Greek Orthodox Church; the Oriental Orthodox Syriac Orthodox Church; the Armenian Apostolic Church; and the Anglican Evangelical Episcopal Church."

Seems like someone is making it up as they go.

Git Real
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Ummmm... Even those Baptist

Have multiple associations in Israel. Lawbreakers I suppose.

bladderq
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Liberals & Religious Freedom

I didn't know any of those countries had as a conerstone of their very existence & founding: religious freedom. Sometimes you just gotta be that shining light on the citadel.

Main Stream
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there's enough mosques...

...churches and synagogues in the world already, Cal. Let's build a library or school near Mecca, or ground zero, instead.

Git Real
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Or A Jail

To imprison terrorists that would allow young women to burn to death because they weren't dressed religiously enough to exit a burning building.

Courthouserules
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A cross for Mecca

I have a relative who used to go for a week or so to some wild place in Central America nearly every year (paid for by the Baptist Missionary Church) and help build a simple wooden church for a missionary to use.

As soon as the churches were completed and before the minister could start it up, it would be burned down or demolished! Every year.

I'm not sure of their religion but I suspect they were mostly either Catholics (Central American branch)brought there by the Spanish, or religions inherited from the Incas or some such! Sun God worshipers maybe.

They had no interest in a Jew of 2000 years ago, from another country, and the fact that the white Spanish killed most of them, didn't help the missionary cause.

I am an Independent (glad McCain won so far) and also hope King Roy wins.

We don't want a Mosque at the twin towers and they don't want a cross at Mecca.

I must say however, that I think there is a Mosque near the Temple Mount In Israel. Could that be the reason for perpetual war there?

Just another reason to keep any kind of religion out of political elections.

Davids mom
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Cal

We don't validate our greatness by acting like those who do not practice the values that have made us great. We're Americans. Mecca has always welcomed all Muslims - regardless of color of skin or country of origin. We have just recently been able to say that about many of our Christian churches welcoming all Christians. There are places in New York where a person of Jewish or Christian faith may not feel 'safe'. Intolerance is not to be duplicated with American pride. Let the residents of New York work this out. Christians have gone to Mecca, Tehran, and Islamabad. It is known that radical Islamists have shown intolerance in Arab countries - like radical Christians here in our United States. Let's work to eradicate intolerance. Help!

Joe Kawfi
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Tolerance

The muslims need to be tolerant of the victims feelings and the majority of Americans feelings regarding building the victory mosque on sacred ground.

Tolerance works both ways, unless you're a liberal.

Main Stream
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liberals and conservitards agree sometimes

"Tolerance works both ways, unless you're a liberal."

I'm a liberal and I don't think the mosque(Islamic community ctr.) should be built that close to ground zero either. I think the latest poll states that 70% of Americans don't want it built there, and you know a lot of those polled are most likely liberals too.

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DM: No comparison

"It is known that radical Islamists have shown intolerance in Arab countries - like radical Christians here in our United States. Let's work to eradicate intolerance. Help!"

As much as I cannot stand fundie Christians, there is hardly any comparison in quite a long time between fundie intolerance and their actions and radical Islam pukes who slaughter each other in droves and actively seek to do the same to others. They started with each other and keep trying to eradicate themselves but have been expanding their insanity elsewhere for years before 9/11 and aren't stopping now.

It's a NY issue and one that the President thought would be a great time to let everyone know about the Constitution that he ignores on a daily basis by continuing and expanding what Bush started. The last person I want to hear a civics lesson from is Obama when he thinks "anything goes" in the name of "national security" just like his predecessor did and he wants even more control, like an "Internet shut-off switch." Lovely. He has no credibility on this issue.

Davids mom
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NUK_1

There is a comparison (not too long ago) between humans who are intolerant of one another because of their 'religion'. It has not been that long ago that we witnessed the carnage in Ireland. (Christian against Christian) Countries in Africa are still involved in carnage due to differences in 'tribal/religious' beliefs. We as Christians do not like to note the comparison - but others throughout the world are aware of man's inhumanity to man - based on religious differences and/or downright greed and search for power. The United States walks a fine line in not becoming like 'others. This issue is above 'Obama/Bush'. How this is resolved is important to American citizens. The resolution will not be easy.

Cyclist
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Davids mom

Christians have gone to Mecca? You better do a little research. You'll be surprised about the law of the realm there.

Davids mom
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Corrected Cyclist

Christians have gone to Saudi Arabia. Christians (individuals) have visited the area (Mecca) - and respect their 'laws' while there. Mecca is a religious 'area' - that Muslims honor. There is intolerance towards non-Muslims. I don't believe we, as Americans, need to replicate a practice that is practiced by another religion - in their country. Our country is an example of tolerance of differences. We need to continue to protect ourselves against those who would harm us - Muslim or Christian. There are many - Muslim and Christian - who are praying for a peaceful resolution to this problem. What many were concerned about was the sick chant of 'deport all Muslims'. I notice that this rhetoric has declined somewhat - and that is a good thing. There are Mosques in almost every city in America - including Fayetteville. Loyal Americans of the Muslim faith live among us. Let's continue to respect them as Americans.

Courthouserules
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What is the law of the realm?

A question:
Cal assumes, I think, that all liberals think the same way and that all conserves think the same way, and he knows that all Independents do not think the same way about ever situation.

Have we come to this?

Cyclist
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I don't know CHR$

Perhaps you need to strike-up a conversation with Cal. You must realize though he doesn't talk with us mortals much. But, he will spank you. Just ask Sniffles/Chris P Bacon.

Ninja Guy
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Uh Cal, Check Yur Map

Cal, last I checked, them places wasn't in the US and them there folk ain't yet embraced the notion of religious tolerance like most of us 'Mericans has. I'm a scaird that if you had yore way, our good ol' US of A might resemble Tehran, Islamabad, or even Jakarta. But we keep dropping enuf bombs on em, they come to love Jesus right quick I reckon, them what is left alive at leest.

Busy Bee
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Cal

Well Cal, it seems to me that the whole mosque, community center, whatever, is really a local zoning issue. Either the site is zoned for a community/worship center, or it is not. If New York City has the site zoned appropriately for said use, can the city of New York approve say, a Methodist community/worship center, or a Jewish community/worship center, but not approve a community/worship center from another religion? Is that the kind of America you want to live in? Do we really want to throw the US Constitution out the window at (or really, near) Ground Zero? Won’t the terrorists have won if we do that? Why can’t we use existing laws against terrorism, conspiracy, racketeering, money laundering, etc. to stop or prevent terrorists without saying “well, never mind about that silly ol’ First Amendment? It only applies to people like us.” If anyone connected with the mosque/community center commits a crime, arrest them, try them, convict them, and send them to prison. If they don’t commit a crime, well, then don’t.

As far as going to Mecca and building a church, I don’t ever plan to visit any Islamic country for any reason. As a woman, I’m not going to any country where I could be arrested for having my hair uncovered, driving, drinking a glass of wine, etc. (or promoting Christianity) If my husband ever took a job in Saudi Arabia, I would tell him “See you when you get back.” You are correct, there is not a lot of tolerence for non Muslims there. But I don’t have to worry about the laws there since I’m not going there. I just need to worry about the laws and constitutional rights here in the good ol’ USA. And cherry picking the constitution is a slippery slope. This week it’s the 1st Amendment. Next week it might be the 2nd. (FYI, I am indeed a gun owner.) Stop terrorism by enforcing the laws that we already have and leave the Constitution alone!

Busy Bee
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Re: Two Block from Ground Zero Mosque

I'd like to know how far from Ground Zero you have to be before the U.S. Constitution applies.

Spyglass
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Sometimes common sense needs to apply..*

*

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