About that mosque
The sparks are literally flying off this one.
It is the plan to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center just two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center attack in New York City.
This one should be easy. It is at the heart of what we believe in, what we stand for. It is the notion of religious freedom, and the firm belief that we do not, as individuals or as a government, block the right of people to worship in the way they want, where they want.
That is what I believe. Saying it is one thing; believing it and then having the conviction to stand behind that belief is something else altogether.
I don’t believe anyone is arguing whether these groups have the right to build the mosque on this site.
To them, the site becomes their own “sacred ground,” every bit as much as the “sacred ground” of the World Trade Center, which symbolizes to many Americans the essence of the terror that was delivered to this country on Sept. 11, 2001.
I wish I could simply say the groups have the right to build on the site and be done with it. But I would be lying if I did so. Yes, there is a part of me that is taken aback by that possibility.
I will forever remember that day, where I was, what I was doing. More than that, I think often about how that day scarred this nation, in the process changing it forever.
In short, we are not the same country today that we were on Sept. 10, 2001.
It is for exactly those reasons that I will defend the right of those who want to build that mosque so close to Ground Zero. It defines who we are, as individuals and as a nation.
But it will not stop the lingering wish that they would decide to build it somewhere else.
I get the feeling I am not alone. I don’t know if it’s right, but it’s the way I feel.