Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NY Daily News: Letter to the Editor

Dear Editors:

I used to be a Mike Lupica fan, that is until I read his column in your Monday, August 16th, 2010 edition, "Ground Zero mosque debate is about common sense, sensitivity to 9/11 vics, not religious freedom."

In and of itself, the title alone shows that Mr. Lupica could not be more wrong. I would write to him myself but he doesn't have the courtesy to leave leave an e-mail address or provide a comments section for responses as do most other opinion columnists.

Where do I begin?

If we are to make this issue about "common sense" and about "sensitivity" as Mr. Lupica states, then how much more common sense do we need to demonstrate than showing the world, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, that regardless of the tragedy of September 11th and its victims, regardless of the scar that remains a gaping hole in downtown Manhattan after nine long years, that our country and the resolve of its citizens is strong enough to refuse to allow our emotions to cloud our judgement and compromise our principles? How do we stand tall in the eyes of the world and more importantly, how do we look at ourselves in the mirror if we decide to abandon Constitutional rights of our fellow Americans when it is emotionally convenient?

There is no contradiction in President Obama's statements, as Mr. Lupica would lead us to believe. There was no walkback of his stance. President Obama was affirming our First Amendment rights when he said, "I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country." Whether or not it's a good idea is not for him to say, as it ultimately doesn't matter. Not commenting on the "wisdom" of the decision is irrelevant as it is a local decision. I find it interesting how those in favor of limited government and states' rights look for a federal response or intervention when it suits their needs.

If we forego our rights just this one time for sensitivity's sake, what is the next step? Do we forbid the building of a Roman Catholic church near the Oklahoma City bombing site because of Timothy McVeigh's religious upbringing? Should we prevent Muslims from worshipping just two blocks further north than the proposed site, as they've done for the last 40 years? Is that still too close and insensitive? Do we shut down the mosque at the Penatgon? After all, it's not two blocks away but in the very building that was hit on 9/11. Is Mr. Lupica suggesting we base our decisions on mob rule and not the rule of law? Is that how we should conduct trials as well? Should we have the families of rape or murder victims pronounce sentencing for sensitivity's sake?

The government has no authority or right to tell any religion where they can or cannot build places of worship as long as they adhere to local laws and ordinances. Not a church, not a synagogue and not a mosque. It's been this way since the founding of the country. It should be this way now.

And again, let's call this construction plan what it actually is: this is a community center equivalent to a YMCA, complete with a basketball court and culinary school, with Muslim prayer rooms in its upper two floors. It is not a mosque.

But where Mr. Lupica flies off the rails is in comparing the opinion of Obama's thoughts on LeBron James to defending a religious group's First Amendment rights. You know, because they're so equivalent. Maybe the President should create March Madness pool with all the world's religions and decide who'll be in the Final Four? We can call it  Mecca Madness.

But the topper has to be his last sentence.

Everything Bloomberg and Barack Obama say about this sounds right. But if the only constituency that matters here - the ones left behind by the victims of Sept. 11 - think they're wrong, they are.
So according to Mr. Lupica, two plus two equal four unless a majority disagrees, and because they're the only ones "that matter" (we'll just forget about the hundreds of American Muslims that died on 9/11) they'll just insist the answer is wrong. And Lupica will agree with them.

Stick to the sports pages, Mike. You'll embarrass yourself a little less.


Tom Hoefner said...

Mike Lupica is a great sports columnist. Whenever he treads into the realm of politics and reality, no matter which side of the argument he's taking, he sounds like a boob. This time is no different. If we allow emotion and mob rule to dictate placement of this Mosque, than the terrorists of 9/11 did their job. They got us to disregard our greatest principles as Americans. Nothing could be more disrespectful to the victims of 9/11 than that.

NowhereMan said...

Hey Mike!How about if its game seven of the world series bottom of the 9th at Yankee stadium and the Yanks are trailing 3-2 two out bases loaded.Jeter hits a drive in the gap the right fielder dives and traps the ball but the ump thought he caught it so he calls him out game over.The fans and the yanks feel they were robbed but it doesn't matter those are the rules he was called out.It doesn't matter How the Yanks and their fans feel about it a rule is a rule there is no appeal.
In the case of the so called Ground Zero Mosque,their is only one arbiter-the constitution and it doesn't matter what you and the 911 survivors who are against it feel just like in baseball you can't change what many felt was a bad call.If you don't like it change the constituion