Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cordoba House, Charles Krauthammer, and the First Amendment

by Michael Kinsley

Atlantic Wire
August 16, 2010

Muslim American citizens have a constitutional right to build a religious and cultural center anywhere in this country that Christians or Jews may build one. This is so clear and obvious that opponents of the planned Muslim center near Ground Zero usually concede or avoid the point. Then they say that the center should not be built at this location anyway. I guess they mean that these Muslims should give up their right voluntarily--or under duress.

And why do they say this? Well, the two obvious possibilities are bigotry and political opportunism. Maybe they associate this Muslim center with the perpetrators of 9/11. That would be bigotry, since the only real connection is that both are Islamic. Or maybe, in the case of Republican politicians and right-wing commentators, it is simply a matter of taking advantage of a political opportunity that has fallen into their laps.

Both of these reasons are fairly unattractive. Is there any reason to oppose the mosque that isn't bigoted, or demagogic, or unconstitutional? None that I've heard or read.