Monday, August 23, 2010

The Right to Do Wrong

Most Americans are familiar with the First Amendment. Not all Americans realize that the First Amendment has nothing to do with the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. Some prominent players in the debate are using “freedom of religion” as a straw man argument to demonize all Americans who stand for honor, decency, and respect for the dead, murdered in an act of war.

Common sense, which is increasingly rare, tells me that nothing intrusive or controversial should be built anywhere near the site of Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers once stood. That means no church, no temple, no synagogue—and no mosque. Ground Zero is a sacred site, as worthy of national reverence as the Pearl Harbor or Gettysburg memorials.

In fact, Gettysburg had its own issue with inappropriate construction. A politically neutral observation tower opened in 1974, to provide aerial views of the battlefield. After a long legal fight in which area residents, historians, and many other Americans across the country protested this desecration, the tower was demolished in 2000.

Gettysburg is hallowed ground, a place where ten of thousands of American soldiers died in battle nearly 150 years ago. It is, quite rightly, federally protected land. A mere nine years ago, at the World Trade Center, a murderous enemy that remains openly dedicated to our total destruction slaughtered nearly three thousand innocent civilians. If they could speak, I would not be surprised if the combatants who died at Gettysburg would say that the land at Ground Zero is equally as holy in American history as their own blood-soaked battlefield.

Memo to Imam Rauf and all his endorsers, especially those in media and politics: Just because someone has the right to do something does not mean it is the right thing to do. Most Americans still understand that. It’s beyond pitiful that so many of our so-called “leaders” do not.