Aug. 4th, 2010

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Here is a set of quotes that do a pretty good job of explaining why this mosque should not be built at that location.  Some I agree with more than others but all are worthy of consideration.  However, the two that I think do the best job I include below.

In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming. But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one.

Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right. -- The Anti-Defamation League

If you read no further, know this: RedState supports the Anti-Defamation League in its opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero mosque.” The ADL is right on all counts: in its rejection of bigotry, its affirmation of American religious freedom, and its declaration that common decency demands the end of this effort. As the ADL notes, this is “not a question of rights, but a question of what is right.”

...The fact is that the groups behind the “Ground Zero mosque” / Cordoba House / Park51 chose the site explicitly for its proximity to Ground Zero, and then spent months boasting about it in the press.

...A “Ground Zero mosque” — even if only near Ground Zero, even if a “community center” rather than a mosque — is the opposite of reasoned restraint. It tramples upon the principle of a public square marked by democratic consideration. It displays a grotesque lack of generosity, while demanding extraordinary generosity toward itself. It insists upon rights — which no one disputes — and ignores responsibilities. It is, in short, a bitter vindication of the critics of American democracy at our nation’s Founding. -- The Directors, Redstate

Remember, the flipside of rights is the responsibility that comes with them to exercise them wisely and with care.  We are demanded to show sensitivity, especially when it comes to religions other than Christianity.  Why should not the people intending to build this structure be held to the same standard?
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As most, if not all, of you reading this are probably already aware, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled that the amendment to the California State Constitution, passed by the voters of that state as Proposition 8, is in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America.  Specifically, it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.  It is also interesting to note that Judge Walker was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan.

This brings up an interesting issue, namely what happens when the Constitution of a state conflicts with the Constitution of the United States.  Clearly, the Judge ruled that the US Constitution takes precedence and I concur.

Full disclosure:  I did not support Proposition 8, nor would I have voted for it had I been a resident of California.  But it's not because of any opinion on whether or not two people of the same gender should or should not be allowed to enter into the legal relationship known as "marriage" as sanctioned by the states.

It's because of what Constitutions are supposed to do.  The way I see it, a Constitution's purpose is to describe the structure of a government, allocate certain specific powers to that government, and define specific limits on that government.  What a Constitution is not supposed to do is tell individual citizens that they cannot do something.*  It is up to the legislature to determine whether any actions should be proscribed and the executive to carry out the implementation of those laws.  Should a state legislature determine that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry, that's their purview, subject of course to challenge on the grounds such legislation is in violation of the State or US Constitution.

*It has been argued that there is one provision in the US Constitution where a private individual is prohibited from a specific action.  That is the Thirteenth Amendment which essentially says one person cannot own another.  However, I interpret it as an effective enumeration of the right not to be owned by another and thus on the same level as most of the Bill of Rights which enumerates other specific individual rights.

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