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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