I don’t like the Manhattan mosque, but they’ve got the right — as long as I’ve got the right to point and laugh : Pharyngula


Some snippets from a great article by PZ on the Mosque and freedom …

…, we have not made thinking ugly thoughts about creating a theocracy illegal — if we did, we ought to simply arrest the Imam for promoting undemocratic ideals. We don’t and we won’t, I hope, because then we’re voluntarily setting ourselves on the road to tyranny that they seem to want. Also, of course, if disseminating propaganda advocating a theocratic state were criminalized, practically every fundamentalist/evangelical Christian leader in the country would also have to be arrested.

100% bang on the mark. Freedom of thought is a fundamental right we should strive to cling to. Being a crank is not a crime, and it never ever should be … period.

…we lose our democratic soul if we lose our tolerance for stupid ideas. If the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has done nothing that warrants any kind of criminal charges, you can’t simply use evidence of his unpleasant character and nasty dreams to justify civil punishment.

Also, you can’t use the possibility that once they’ve got their community center, local Muslims will start harrassing people who walk their dogs too close to the building as a reason to oppose it. That would be like suggesting that maybe if the work permit for a new Catholic church goes through, someday a priest might rape a little boy or girl inside, therefore it should not be built. Of course those things could happen, which is why there are laws about public access and the protection of minors, and those are what we ought to focus on enforcing.

I do like Hitchens’ conclusion, though …

And so do I … here it is …

“Let us by all means make the ‘Ground Zero’ debate a test of tolerance. But this will be a one-way street unless it is to be a test of Muslim tolerance as well.” Which is exactly right: we stand back and make it an open example of the principle of liberty that they can build anything they want (within zoning laws), whether it is a mosque, a synagogue, a cathedral, a community center, or a retirement home for mentally ill clowns, but that that freedom does have reasonable community constraints that they are voluntarily accepting, and there’s no going back and saying after the fact that the ideology of their building occupants allows them to violate local laws.

Click below to see full article along with lots of comments …

I don’t like the Manhattan mosque, but they’ve got the right — as long as I’ve got the right to point and laugh : Pharyngula.

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