I hereby offer my support to any Iraqi legislation that bans the construction of churches within a six-and-half block perimeter (you say arbitrary, I say justice) around any area where innocent Iraqi civilians died. No more churches. Without any just cause, the Christians attacked and invaded a sovereign state.
I can already hear the uproarious indignation. “Christian principles did not cause us to invade Iraq. It was a political decision!” Well, I’ve heard many American Christians argue that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian morality. They insist that without Christianity, our democratic system could not function. They draw connections between Christianity and a devotion to individual liberty. So either Christianity is to blame for the war, or we should NOT consider Christianity an essential component of our political system.
I’m sorry. I can’t go on. It’s very difficult to draw out this irrational, idiotic debate. Of course, the world’s two-three billion Christians were not responsible for the invasion of Iraq. Over a billion Muslims should not be held accountable for the attacks on 9/11. Are New Yorkers offended by the presence of mosques? Well, polls say that they are. Would churches near war sites offend many Iraqis? I haven’t seen polling, but I’d assume that’s a safe assumption.
Nevertheless, the whole point of freedom of religion or freedom of speech is to allow for autonomy, despite risks that certain people find such religions or speech offensive. I have the freedom to satirically argue (or legitimately argue) for the banning of churches, despite the fact that most Americans would probably not shake my hand after reading this article.
For me there are two necessary issues to consider in this discussion: The moral issue and the practical issue. I believe it is immoral to discriminate based on religion.
Pragmatically, it doesn’t make sense to allow something as trivial as the location of a mosque, to become a part of Al Qaeda’s propaganda. Why do they hate us? Even if you think opposition to the mosque is unrelated to American feelings toward Muslims, I’m sure you can recognize that people can present opposition to the mosque in that context.
Soon after the attack, the streets of Islamabad, Tehran, and Cairo were filled with sympathetic Muslims who cried and prayed for the American dead. Innocent Muslims died on September 11. Opponents to the mosque dishonor their memory. That is my argument.
Josh Kornfield is a junior majoring in international studies and political science. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.