America has lots of problems, from fighting two wars to high unemployment to anemic economic growth. Our friends on the right, however, seem to think we don't have enough problems and are working like gangbusters to transform more than a billion people around the world into our sworn enemies. As the New York Times reports, the anti-Ground Zero Mosque hysteria has gone nationwide:Go read the original post to get the full story and the embedded links.In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.Gee, it's funny how quickly the supposedly anti-government Tea Party wants the government to suppress peoples' right to freely express their religion, no? It's almost like they're selective in their outrages against state power! Whoda thunk it!
In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.
In Sheboygan, Wis., a few Christian ministers led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor.These local skirmishes make clear that there is now widespread debate about whether the best way to uphold America’s democratic values is to allow Muslims the same religious freedom enjoyed by other Americans, or to pull away the welcome mat from a faith seen as a singular threat.The cool thing about wingnuttery is that it gets more extreme all the time. Repealing the Fourteenth Amendment is old hat at this point -- now it's time to repeal the First Amendment too!
The lesson of the carnage of 1524-1648 in the European religious wars was that toleration was the way to maintain a civil society. You give people the freedom of conscience to follow whatever creed they wish and require them to extend the same courtesy to all other religions. That is the very definition of a "free" society. But the idiots who run the new right wing populism in the US don't know history, don't know their own Constitution, and are playing with ideological matches in a very combustible environment. It is truly scary.
Brad Reed gets it right when he says:
...of all the bad things the modern GOP stands for, I think its desire to reignite the Crusades may be the worst. I'm not sure what could possibly motivate such a desire, since the Crusades didn't go especially well for either the Europeans nor Muslim nations they invaded. Perhaps Newt thinks invading Iran will bring Jesus back to Earth, thus freeing him to be Raptured away while the rest of the world burns.