"The Ground Zero Mosque"

If you've been paying any attention to national news, you probably heard that Muslims want to build a mosque next to ground zero. First, this "mosque" is a community center inside of a former Burlington Coat Factory building and the community center is blocks away from where the Twin Towers formerly stood.

I support the building of the community center blocks away from the former Twin Towers. I believe that if people follow the laws and pay the money they should be able to build any place that involves worship. The United States, as Obama said, is dedicated to religious freedom...so let them build it. This really seems like a no-brainer...

There's no doubt that Islam was to blame for 9/11. There's no doubt that Islam can be a very violent and oppressive religion. There's no doubt that this is a sensitive issue. There's no doubt that people find this project insulting. Let's deal with the common arguments.

They want to build a mosque near the former Twin Towers, so let us build a church near Mecca!

Mecca is in Saudi Arabia where religious freedom isn't present. America is a country where religious freedom is important. We should stand up for our values and support the building of the community center.

Islam is not a peaceful religion.

Great, but it doesn't matter, but not all moderate Muslims follow Sharia Law or oppress women. If the people who attend the community center are law-abiding citizens who want to enjoy the same freedoms as everyone else, they should. It's quite simple.

It's too close to the former Twin Towers, this is just offensive.

No one has the right to be exempt from offense and we could easily claim to be offended by all sorts of things. I might claim offense to Catholics teaching children that they're unworthy humans who are fallen and deserve to burn in Hell in CCD classes, but this won't shut down churches. I might claim offense to people saying that the only reason people treat me well is because they feel sorry for me, but I can't press charges because of this. I might object to Hell Houses and fear-mongering tactics. Should I say that we shouldn't build churches near areas formerly occupied by Lenape Indians who were slaughtered and had land taken away from them by Christians?

This community center has nothing to do with the hijackers who killed Americans.

Lou Barletta, the mayor of Hazelton, PA and candidate for Congress made the following statement about the "Ground Zero Mosque,"

“I strongly disagree with President Obama’s remarks about the construction of a mosque a few blocks away from Ground Zero. The area around the site of the former World Trade Center is hallowed ground, and we need to treat it as such.

How does building a community center blocks away from 9/11 mistreat the hallowed ground of 9/11? If anything, supporting the building of this community center should affirm our commitment to religious freedom in America.

The president must honor the wishes of the families of the victims, who have overwhelmingly opposed the construction of this mosque.

Sorry, a group of people don't suddenly get to trump local laws just because they oppose something. I understand that the families may be emotionally impacted by the construction, but their wishes don't get to stop the construction.

Most American Muslims are peaceful people, but Islam’s most radical followers have a long history of placing mosques at the sites of their greatest victories.

The people who own and who will attend the community center aren't the most radical followers of Islam. Let's face it. New York City is a big place and there are surely many Muslims in the area. Churches are all over Northeastern Pennsylvania and some of the most radical Christians place their places of worship near sites of victories. Whatever.

President Obama needs to strongly withdraw his support for its construction. If nothing else, common sense would dictate that we should not allow this.

Oh, so forget the law and let's just follow "common sense."

For more coverage on this issue, please read Sam Harris' take on this and watch a recent episode of the Daily Show.