Uh oh, here I go again. Iʼll add apologies in advance as well as at the end, as originally written.
I do admit that stupid stuff I hear on the news can get me upset or at least writing. And the ceaseless chorus of “outrage over the Ground Zero Mosque” chanted by every FoxNews reporter/commentator all week long (they say thereʼs a difference, but as John Stewart among so many others has decisively shown, no such actual distinction exists, especially when FoxNews reporters use their commentatorsʼ corybantic remarks as the premise for a later news story: “some sources say…” meaning OʼReilly or Hannity or even Beck, among so many other loose cannons), mostly thanks to Obamaʼs gaffe at taking a stand in support of the First Amendment and then “politically” retreating from his poorly polling but Constitutionally correct statement, put me over the edge about wrongheaded Rightist opinions. Todayʼs real issue: you canʼt love/support/adore/finagle the U.S. Constitution as/how you please. Itʼs a thorny document for prejudiced “thinkers” (especially, evidently, that awkward freedom of religion thing).
As anyone who has come upon this blog is probably aware, I have no hesitation to belittle and ridicule the wildly false and brazen propagandizing that blares without cease and without censure (and usually without sense) from far too many loudmouths selfdescribed faithlessly as “conservatives.” (No one who hints at coyly — “lock and load, citizens” — or actually advocates armed revolution is in any way preserving traditions or adhering to the Constitution. Sorry, lying demagogues, but you canʼt “love” the Constitution by overthrowing it — or by selectively favoring and ignoring the sections, clauses or phrases you can strategically manipulate or donʼt like.) The worst offenders are the multifarious talk-radio whacks, whose names are appropriately Legion, and their equally wicked and often deranged fellow travelers with blogs. However, the naysaying Antijournalists who touch my own existence most often reside in that bastion of egregious treachery and deliberate deceit (and unacknowledged distortion), FoxNews, where opinionated invention is marketed as “information” and mindlessly accepted as such by millions of abused and misled fans who wrongly believe they can get their “news” from that unfair and unbalanced sewer.
The FoxNews falsities are evidently endless. A simple Google search yields plenty, some even from rightish sources. The Foxies were of course instrumental in endorsing and publicizing — then later being able to duplicitously “correct” — slimy Andrew Breitbartʼs NAACP/Shirley Sherrod “racist speech” scam (viz. a timeline on that hoax here). Sadly, that was but one example of the nearly constant hand-in-hand operation of FoxNews with militantly revisionistic Rightist bloggers, all stomping together in lockstep to kick down the truth while pretending to be wildcard mavericks. Uh huh, sure. (How is it that rigidly sticking in the big warm group with everyone else like you is falsely presented as “freedom” while anyone actually thinking for oneself is brutally demonized [falsely] as a “lib” or worse names?)
Most recently is the trumped up “scandal” over the Muslim cultural center (with a timeline of those events here) that FoxNews is yammering and hammering yet today (partially thanks to the Presidential blunders of first taking a stand and then twostepping away from his clear, Constitutionally accurate position).
The controversy (which smells as synthetic as the enthusiasm a now infamous FoxNews producer stimulated at an otherwise lackluster TeaPot party) is simply wrong. Why? Two reasons.
First, the Park51 site is not at Ground Zero (yeah, it is fairly close nearby, two blocks away and hidden behind taller buildings from the scene of the attack, and yes, the Burlington Coat Factory building abandoned on the site received shrapnel, the landing gear from one of the jetliners-used-as-missiles, and debris during the planebombing and collapse). Dust and ash and other wreckage, including presumably human remains, blew far from the actual World Trade Center site. But no one can declare all of Manhattan “sacred ground,” so the delineated and cleared Ground Zero site is the limited geographical reality to enshrine the loss of those killed through the two-plane attack in September 2001. And Park51 is not there. Foxʼs “Ground Zero Mosque” is a malicious misnomer designed to stir popular outrage (and one lifted without credit, in public anyway, from one of their too-friendly extremist blogger pals, Pamela Geller, who originally promoted and maintained the artificial indignation day by day, right along with her — or one of her confederatesʼ — laughably insane, difficult-to-understand Birther crapulosity).
Second, whether the siting of Park51 is now (after all the carefully orchestrated and broadcast hoopla) or ever was hurtful to the families and friends (or some of them) of those lost on 9/11, the real issue is Constitutional. Yes, especially after all the selfserving politicians, braindead “pundits,” bloggers, radio nuts and opinionated reporters on FoxNews have had their deliberately provocative say, the location may now have become — or been made into — “a stab to the heart,” as the Palinʼ Grizzly (so important herself in popularizing the jingoistic, artificial scandal through her semiliterate Tweets) snarked. But then so is every racist, hate-filled, pseudopatriotic, funds-eliciting Fundie sermon on Muslim evil. But Newt, the Ice Queen, the Foxies and other weasels of their stink excuse that talk because a] they agree with such cant, b] those speakers, according to them, are “good Christians” (as they wildeyedly and wrongly rave that our deistic and even agnostic “Founding Fathers” supposedly planned, evidently in secret, for us all to be), and c] whatever aggressive craziness the wicked preachers scream is Constitutionally protected free speech. The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech in the First Amendment (and a thoroughly misled Supreme Court bafflingly and scarily has now extended that right to nonhuman noncitizens, to corporations — God forbid). The right to speak out is guaranteed by the Constitution.
Exactly my point. So is freedom of religion.
And freedom of religion is definitely and gloriously not limited to Christianity (of any hue, and particularly not just to selfrighteous Fundamentalist claptrap*). Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, pagans, Hindus, atheists, pantheists, even deists like Franklin and Jefferson are all free to practice their inharmonious and not necessarily valid beliefs wherever and however they must — so long as any and every religion is separate from the state. And the state cannot hinder, inhibit or restrict at all nor meddle in any way with the practice of religion. Therefore, the Park51 project is free to locate and practice as it pleases without interference, Constitutionally and absolutely. Thatʼs why the public outrage, if itʼs actually real, is wrongheaded; quite candidly, weʼre acting unConstitutionally, just like those many who were conned into voting for Proposition 8 in California. It doesnʼt matter what even a majority wants if itʼs not Constitutionally valid. Wrong is wrong, no matter how many believe in the untruth.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” [That is the First Amendment in its quite simple entirety.]
Certainly, the First Amendment directly limits Congressional meddling with religious freedom (and speech, the press and public assembly), meaning the federal government can definitely do nothing about the NYC Muslim cultural center, Park51, but that also means the interfering citizens groups and loudmouths in the media, although free to express their opinions, donʼt have a legal leg to stand on. We can hurt possibly in this situation, but we cannot stop religious practice.
Besides, for the Rightists to tar all Muslims for the actions of those fundamentalist al-Qaeda nutjobs is wrong. Just as I should not presume that all Christians are selfserving, selfsatisfied, selfrighteous, vindictive, uncharitable, unBiblical, verse-selective fundamentalist “evangelicals” (Matthew 5:39; Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27; among other ignored or redfined passages, not to mention that notorious hellbent rich man and the eye of the needle) like the Fundie whacks around, behind and with Geller.
FoxNews and naysaying, hateful Rightists need to learn: repetition of a lie does not make reality. (At least so I hope.)
Finally, since I wrote this little diatribe on Tuesday afternoon, time and tide have outdone me by far. A former student shared this on Facebook Wednesday night, and I almost decided to withdraw this post. (Now there is an intense and important essay on the wickedness of the synthetic mob hatred for the new cultural center.) However, I appreciate the commentatorʼs reference to Niemöller.
* And furthermore, if our own homegrown narrowminded, exclusivizing unchristian Fundamentalists have the right to freedom of religion, fearfully so do fundamentalist Muslims and forthright, persuasive atheists, and any other cult. The one clear thing about our Constitution — other than its establishment of a strong, tripartite, powerful federal government — is that it is not exclusive to any one tiny segment of the population.
— Sorry about the link to Facebook above (on “armed revolution”). However, I could not believe the insanity nonsensically expressed in the comments. And the treason. (For any readers who arenʼt on Facebook it might be worthwhile to join just to see for yourself how utterly demented Rightism has driven average, unclear-minded, thoughtless bogus “patriots.”)
My apologies for having opinions myself. But I hate to witness the truth being hacked and beaten into falsehood.