Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On being called "Politically Correct"

Those who rant against the building of the Islamic equivalent of a YMCA in lower Manhattan have enjoyed accusing those of us on the other side of "political correctness". In fact, of course, if one side can be fairly accused of being motivated by "political correctness" it would be the ranters. They have repeatedly used sensibility to the feelings of some (not all by a long shot) 2001 terror survivors as their main argument in discouraging free expression among actual residents of lower Manhattan -- who were also terrorized in 2001.

My objection to the use of the term "politically correct" is that, rather than dealing with the core issue of whether or not Muslims in lower Manhattan have every right to speak and worship and assemble as they please*, opponents attack civil libertarians' motives by accusing us of only worrying about ruffling the sensibilities of the Muslims. Hogwash! That is an ad hominem response , in my book. I have Muslim friends. I love and admire them. But I think the beliefs of their religion, as I understand them, are wrong and definitely not the loving faith of the New Testament as I read it. That's why I choose to be a Methodist instead -- though I disagree with some other self-styled Christians about as vehemently. I have no problem telling anyone that.

I believe those who are ranting about the erroneously-labeled "Ground Zero Mosque", have every right* to do so, but are tragically mistaken in doing so. In practical terms their actions are totally counter-productive. I believe their actions are also analogous to calling for Japanese-American internment in WWII, calling for segregation of African-Americans, calling for posting of "No Irish Need Apply" signs, calling for Native-American removal, etc. I believe, eventually, they or their progeny will be embarrassed by their actions and statements. Newt Gingrich, for example, has permanently soiled his own biography with his extremism on this issue.

I hope I would, if it came to it, be willing to die for the ranters' and the Muslims' right as Americans to be royally wrong and believe, preach, worship, assemble*, to their heart's content for their wrongheaded beliefs.

* under the law, of course -- please don't anyone give me another lecture on extraneous issues like zoning.

Editing Note: spelling corrected in title, 8/25/08.

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