Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Test Case For Religious Freedom In America?

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Nihad Awad, the director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has said that the Mosque at Ground Zero controversy is, "a test case for religious freedom."

He said, "It's now a litmus test, a test case for religious freedom in America."

But is it really a test case for religious freedom in America or a clever way to deflect the debate and re-frame the discussion?

I think it's the latter and our President, Nancy Pelosi, Michael Bloomberg and other high profile politicians who support the building of the Mosque-community center-Cordoba House-Park 51 Project or whatever you choose to call it, are either ignorant to the ways of Islam or worse, don't care.

I want to share why I believe this is not a test of religious freedom in America in 2 parts. Today, the difference between freedom of religious belief and freedom of religious practice of those beliefs. Tomorrow, I will continue with why this mosque controversy is a matter of deceit, not religious freedom, with examples from Nazareth to New York.

First, religious belief vs. religious practice.

Secular progressives, in their rush to appear "tolerant," "fair," "sensitive," and even "Christian" fail to acknowledge that the conflict between Islam's stated goals and those of western culture constitutes a clash of civilizations.

Jihad seeks to replace democratic values with theocratic rule.

The real question must be, "Is freedom of religion in America absolute?"

Can the rights of one religion in America be limited when they infringe on the rights of others?

If we simply define the New York mosque as a dispute over religious freedom, the mosque promoters and their allies are completely controlling the conversation and misleading Americans into choosing between 2 false choices---death by sword or death by cannon.

I have heard no critic of the mosque deny that Muslims are free to worship in America.

The real issue involves respecting the priorities and beliefs of a host society, that from our founding has welcomed and accommodated a diverse display of religious beliefs. It involves an understanding of what Ground Zero represents in our free society and to those who lost family and loved ones on that spot.

Those who oppose the mosque and terrorism for that matter, are often called racist. It's important to remember that Islam is a religion---not a race, ethnicity, or natural origin. Therefore, it should not be given greater rights or privileges than any other belief system in America.

Although secular progressives like President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Bloomberg and others cite the Constitution to justify their perverted political correctness, the First Amendment does not mandate acquiescence to religious extremism.

So, as with other Constitutional rights, freedom of religion is not absolute in America.

We are not a theocracy, nor should we ever become one.

Addressing these issues are both difficult and complex---never simple or easy. But to make sense of the mosque controversy, we must look at the realities of how freedom works in America today. Whether you agree is yet another question.

Over the past 20 or more years, there has been a
number of court cases brought against the "Followers of Christ" church in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.

Members of the church believe in divine healing administered by the laying on of hands and prayer, and do not believe in any medical assistance from a doctor.

Their county district attorney has aggressively and successfully prosecuted church members who have failed to provide necessary medical care to their children as required under Oregon law.

I have
linked a recent story, which also gives you a background on the situation, going back to the early 1990's.

Personally, I believe in divine healing. I believe God may heal someone instantaneously as Scripture teaches. I believe in miracles. I also believe that God has given us the gift of medical science. Whether healing takes place as a result of prayer only, or through the hands of a physician, it is none the less a miracle from God.

My point, however, is that the people of this particular church have the freedom to believe as they do, however, they do not have the freedom to practice that belief when it results in harming a child.

White supremacists have the freedom to meet in their "churches" and hold certain beliefs, but they are not free to practice certain of their beliefs.

Polygamists are free to believe in multiple wives as a religious belief, however, that practice is not allowed under American law. At least not at this time.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the freedom to preach hate toward America, but if that belief is acted upon in a way that directly violates the rights of others or harms them, it is not acceptable.

No, the Mosque--Cordoba House--Park51 Project---community center, or whatever you choose to call it, should not be built within steps of Ground Zero.

But it is not a litmus test of freedom of religion in America.

Matthew Hausman has written extensively on this subject. I have
linked it for your convenience.

If the government can limit how other religious communities can use property or express themselves when public safety and welfare of others are said to be at risk, how do the secular progressives and secular socialists justify not applying the same standards to Islam wanting to build a mosque at Ground Zero.

It's curious that these supporters---Obama, Pelosi, Bloomberg and others, are among the first to proclaim from the mountain top, their commitment to freedom of religion, yet display contempt for any perceived encroachment of Christianity into secular society. They condemn the Mormon Church and other churches for their deep commitment to Proposition 8 in California, in defense of marriage. They publicly deride pro-life evangelicals and others for their belief in the sanctity of life and their opposition to abortion. Yet they promote a secular statism in which religious expression is, at best, marginalized.

Should Muslims somehow be regarded differently?

The Question:

If the government can limit how other religions can use their property or express themselves, how do liberal progressives justify not applying the same standards when discussing Islamism?

The Answer:

They don't justify it. They just do it---because it's politically correct. And they are in the majority.

Tomorrow: The Big Lie and How Islam Explains It.

Gary Randall
Faith and Freedom

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  1. Fantastic comentary, reminds me of the discussion on absolute freedom - we are free in this country, but not to the extent of yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater.

    Nor should we be compelled to tolerate an intolerant, theocratic religion whose sole stated purpose is to cause us all to "submit".

    For now, I am free to resist that lunacy!

  2. You have an enormous hole in your logic.

    You are correct that while we have a right to believe what we'd like, we do not necessarily have the right to practice those beliefs. Practice can be restricted in circumstances when those practices can be shown to harm others, as in your examples. Presumably the harmful "practice" you are trying to link to Islam is terrorism.

    But you do not address the point that these Muslims are not asking us to allow them to commit terrorism. They are asking for the right to build a mosque. We have no reason to believe that these Muslims have any desire other than to provide a place for their followers to worship peacefully. (If you know something, fill us in.)

    What "practice" do these Muslims want to do that would cause harm to others?

  3. Above comment. Read tomorrow's blog. It addresses your question.


  4. 1. If you have heard no critic of the mosque deny that Muslims are free to practice their religion in America, you aren't reading the comments to your own blog posts. An idea I find dubious at best.

    2. You try and conflate opposition to the Muslim Community Center (it's as much a mosque as your local YMCA is a Cathedral), when they are two very separate things. I have seen no credible evidence that the people behind Park 51 have any connection with or desire to engage in terrorism. What I have seen is smears from the likes of Pamela Geller, who actually rallied with neo-Nazis in Germany because they are anti-Muslim too.

    3. I have never heard Obama, Pelosi or Bloomberg publicly deride "pro-life" Evangelicals or anyone else "pro-life", nor have I heard them condemn the Mormon Church for their massive and often hidden and illegal campaign spending in support of Prop 8. Do you have specific examples? Or should we just assume that you threw in the usual librul boogie man to stir up the base as election season closes in?

    Also, Prop 8 isn't really comparable to Park 51 in any way shape or form. It is an example of a religion trying to enforce their beliefs upon others, who believe differently- or the question you pose above and seem to answer in the affirmative "Can the rights of one religion in America be limited when they infringe on the rights of others?", seems to apply here. Where is does not apply is in the case of Park 51, where the Muslims behind it are just trying to go about their lives. The existence of a Muslim community center "steps from ground zero" (which is any on the continent if your think about it) doesn't infringe upon anyone else's right. No one would have even heard about it if the GOP weren't looking for a wedge issue going into the midterm elections!

    4. Finally, the supports of Park 51 aren't looking for it to be treated any differently than any other religious building is in NYC. It has already undergone all the normal necessary and required permitting and local land board use approval. The people looking for different and exceptional treatment when it comes to Muslim community centers, are those opposed. That they would attempt to smear those, who support the normal processes being followed as some seeking different regard where Muslims are involved is a despicable as it is dishonest.

    Now the question is will the censors allow this lengthy, respectful and well argued reply? Given their actions with my posts in the past, it's an open question.

  5. Sometimes I feel as if I am in an old Twilight Zone episode, one where there is a parallel universe in which everything runs backwards.

    Years ago one would never hear a general in the Army say that a pastor who decided to have a Quoran burning hurts his mission or jeopardizes the safety of the troops. Instead he would make any necessary adjustments to continue his mission and inform the troops as to why there has been a heightened alert. Years ago he would do this and not make any statements as concerning the actions of any of those he has sworn to protect and defend by defending their constitution.

    I wonder if this change is because we now have a Muslim sympathetic commander in chief.

    We have to work now to take America back.

    There's a woman who sat on a scarlet colored beast in the book of Revelation. (Chp 17) You can read what name was written on her forehead in verse 5.

    If you imagine her, could you imagine her holding a book of some sort? Of all the books in the world, what kind comes to your mind, if you can imagine her holding some kind of book?

    It wouldn't be a Bible would it? I don't think so, unless she was perverting it in some way, using it wrongly in order to deceive. A woman like that could be influenced by so many other kinds of books and there are so many in the world today.

    Let's remember that she is an enemy of the Church of God, the Bride of Christ.

    I thank God we have the freedom to burn a few books. I think I should be willing to protect that freedom even if it means that someone somewhere might at some time decide to burn a Bible. I trust God that he is able to reveal himself by fire as he did in the days of Elijah. God has kinds of fire as he is the maker of them all.

  6. Would a political movement be tolerated in any nation that did the following:

    1. Force people to join their movement under threat of death.
    2. Made leaving the movement a capitol crime.
    3. Insulting their founder or their founding documents is a capitol crime, even if no offense was intended.
    4. Force all who would not join their political movement to pay a special tax or be killed.
    5. Deny all competing political philosophies the right to publish their materials, build or repair buildings.

    Islam is both a religion and a political movement and Islam does all of the things mentioned above.

    To grant Islam freedom of religion is to surrender your own in the long run.

    Bundling a radical political agenda with a religious belief system does not change facts.

    I for one would deny any Muslim the right to practice their religion in the US if they did not extend that right to all others, including allowing non-Muslims to enter Mecca and build churches and synagogues there.

  7. 10:22pm

    Before you start limiting people's rights based on the actions of their brethren across the ocean, you might want to review that Constitution your side claims to hold dear.

  8. The Constitution is not a SUICIDE pact, wake up and smell the coffee. C,Lacey

  9. I am awake and I'm not afraid of our country being taken over by Muslims. I can't imagine any scenario where that could happen.

    I am, however, concerned of serious terrorist strike using loose nukes, etc. And I agree with the those working in counter-terrorism that the best way to avoid that is to identify those in Islam who who are friendly with us and cultivate co-operation.

    The only people who can truly quell the terrorists are their fellow Muslims. And they will, unless we do something stupid, like say, alienate the ones who would be our friends.

  10. I'm sure the Byzantines and Spanish couldn't foresee that
    scenario either. It cost them dearly, I DO NOT hate muslims,
    but we must be discerning about intentions. Remember what
    the road to hell is paved with. C, Lacey

  11. Why is this organization called Faith and Freedom?? Here you have an organization that pushes a *political agenda* and then turns around and calls Islam a religion that pushes a political agenda! Weird!

    Where does the Bible embrace democracy as a core value?? How would Muslims describe Christians during the Crusades? Would that description be fair to most Christians? I think the language used here to describe Islam would fit Christianity back then. If we can use history to tar modern day Muslims, shouldn't they be able to use Christian's Crusades to tar us now?

    Maybe rename the organization to Faith, Bigotry and Restricted Freedom?

  12. Let's be clear here, the Crusades were a response to the
    Muslim conquests in Europe and their refusal to allow
    Christian pilgrims to go to Jerusalem and their subsequent attacks on same. That atrocities were committed by both sides
    in the name of their God was heartbreaking and tragic. Are
    people of faith not supposed to be invovled in the politics of their day? I suppose you just want us to be cowardly and stay
    in the house or church. So sorry, ain't gonna happen. C. Lacey


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