A couple of posters have already referred to Dr. Fleming’s article on the “Ground Zero Mosque,” but this is the important take home point that I think needs emphasizing.
I don’t know which set of arguments is more degrading, the opponents’ cry of insensitivity or the defenders’ claim of religious freedom.
Let us begin with the more obvious exercise in stupidity, the notion that the First Amendment to the Constitution of 1787 grants a blanket freedom of religion to be enforced by the Federal government. Anyone who got through second grade by now is aware that it is not the First Amendment that is in play but the 14th, which was passed illegally for the purpose of giving civil rights (primarily involving contracts and wills) to former slaves. Only the tortured metaphysics and imbecility of federal judges–no exceptions alive today that I know of-could twist this into anything relevant to the current case. The purpose of the First Amendment was to prevent power-crazed national politicians from imposing their religious views on the rest of us in the states…
We know the context in which the First Amendment was written. Many states had established churches and nearly all had religious tests for voting or holding office. Some of the tests require some vague statement of belief in a god, while others are more specific and Christian. The tiny minority of Jews was, for the most part left alone, but no one in his right mind would have thought they had a right to practice their religion. Muslims and Hindus were not imaginable.