When Bigotry Trumps the Constitution

19 Jul

Under the Establishment Clause, if a government bans the construction of a mosque – it’s really not any more a mosque than the YMCA or YWCA or the JCC are churches or temples – at 51 Park Place because of its supposed proximity to the World Trade Center site in New York City, then there can be no religious structures or monuments of any kind within that same radius. (That means you, St Paul’s & St. Nicholas! Bye-bye, Y! And other Y!) That prohibition, however, would be violative of the Free Exercise clause.


Therefore, Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino think that anti-Muslim bigotry is more important than the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Put another way, to Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino, being a bigot is more important than being an American. It’s good to know that an unemployed woman from Wasilla, Alaska knows what’s best for Manhattan. Refudiate!

43 Responses to “When Bigotry Trumps the Constitution”

  1. Ward at 8:08 am #

    Please explain the love affair between Liberals and Islam.
    It can’t be that Islam is a “progressive” religion–its tenets should be anathema to you folks. You people have no time for progressive Christians, Jews, or even Unitarians.
    If an Evangelical Christian mega-church were trying to locate in that neighborhood you’d be siccing WNYMedia’s crack investigative “reporters” on the founder and the moneyman to find the back-story. But here? Nah.
    Oh–wait a minute, I get it–Sarah Palin doesn’t like it. That makes it just dandy.

    • slothrop at 8:18 am #

      I think Alan’s love affair was with the Constitution. He may love Islam. I don’t know that he does or not. What I do know is that his post was about the Constitutionality of favoring or disfavoring one particular religous group. Thus, whether you, Alan, or anyone else likes, loves, or hates Isam is completely irrelevant from Constitutional point of view.

    • Alan Bedenko at 8:20 am #

      Shorter Ward: Islam bad, Libruls bad. Also, I cannot … ahem … refute or “refudiate” BP’s constitutional argument.

      • Ward at 11:30 am #

        Alan — the Constitution would be in for much hilarity if we were to try to reconcile it with the (Sharia) concept that testimony by a woman is of no impact in a court proceeding, and need not be refudiated. Like I say, the Libs choose strange bedfellows.

      • Slothrop at 12:50 pm #

        @ Ward: What?! Do you wear a tinfoil hat? Can you even try to reconcile the Constitutionality of barring the Mosque-esque building for the reason that it is too islamic?

    • Jon Splett at 12:14 pm #

      @Brian and Ward- Correct me if I’m wrong here but didn’t Christians carry out an act of terrorism in OUR OWN BACKYARD when James Kopp decided to start shooting doctors?

      Where’s your outrage there? Why aren’t you trying to ban every church in Amherst from setting up shop?

      Oh that’s right. You buy into the whole zombie Jesus bullshit so clearly that’s ‘different’.

      There is a common theme in these terrorist attacks however. It’s called religion. We shouldn’t be banning it outright because thought-crime is a dangerous road to go down but lets be real here. Pumping people up with irrational, baseless beliefs that prey on their insecurities and place more value on death than life is a great way to get them to do insane things for you. There are no atheist suicide bombers. People with no god don’t murder doctors or blow up clinics in a deity’s name.

      If you’re serious about addressing the root of the problem, have the balls to address it for what it is. Religion, not just Islam, breeds intolerance and motivates people to kill for their preferred magical sky king. Every other sort of group think is openly criticized and questioned but somehow the most ridiculous basis for a world view of all gets a free pass.

      tl;dr- Your religion is just as ridiculous and has dropped plenty of it’s own bodies via terrorism.

      • Brian Castner at 7:44 pm #

        Splett – 1) you don’t know my faith, and I don’t profess it here, so I have no idea why you assume it is “zombie Jesus.” Watch your stereotyping while you rail against bigotry. And 2) while religion is the root of many eveils (and a few goods), you are wrong in your diatribe about one thing – there are atheist suicide bombers – the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Try Walter Laqueur’s “No End to War” for a primer.

  2. Carl at 8:18 am #

    Ward: How about some proof for that charge?

    Oh, wait…you don’t need no stinking proof!

    • Ward at 11:33 am #

      “Charge”? I don’t see no stinkin’ charge.
      Please tell me what distinguished school taught you to read.

      • Carl at 3:08 pm #

        Ward: It’s in the first sentence of your reply, asking what sort of love affair liberals have with Islam.

        And you’re saying I can’t read?

  3. Silence Dogood at 8:37 am #

    This building is not for a religion. It is for a hate mongering terrorist organization who would just as soon blow you up than look at you. Everything changed on September 11, 2001.

    • Slothrop at 8:43 am #

      “Everything changed since 9/11.” When did 9/11 change the Constitution? I hope the terrorists did not succeed in taking away our Constitutional protections. That would mean they won, right?

    • Eric Saldanha at 8:54 am #

      Will you join me in the effort to remove the Catholic Diocese building from my neighborhood. After all, it houses a international criminal organization which protected and encouraged legions of child molesters. Everything changed when the first priest took an altar boy to the rectory.

      • Ward at 11:25 am #

        Now THAT’s the kind of religious tolerance we’ve come to know and expect from Libs.
        Thank you Eric. Now, if the Catholic faith would only preach jihad, beheading of apostates … and hire the likes of Dhabah “Debbie” Almontaser (“I don’t recognize the people who committed the [9/11] attacks as either Arabs or Muslims.”) as principal of one of its parochial schools, we might really be on to something.

      • Eric Saldanha at 1:04 pm #

        if the Catholic faith would only preach jihad…

        It does, particularly if you’re gay or a woman seeking authority over her uterus. Or, in the cases of Drs. Slepian and Heller, a physician fufilling his oath to provide care to his patients.

  4. Eric Saldanha at 8:38 am #

    Ward – please explain the bigotry and ignorant hatred shown towards Islam by conservatives.

    Also, why would any sentient person would take seriously the scrawlings of a ex-beauty queen quitter who makes up words like “refudiate”?

    • Brian Castner at 9:13 am #

      I think conservatives were generally supportive of Muslims worldwide (Bosnia, Kosovo as the latest examples) until they killed 3000 of us. That did kinda change things, don’t you think? You can call it all bigotry and ignorant hatred if it makes you feel better, but Muslims, in the name of their religion and to further (their understanding of) its goals (not as a random accessory), did attack the country. Right? Am I remembering that correctly?

      But to your second point, there is no less salient or relevant fact today in America that whether Palin supports and denounces something. I don’t ask the tree stump I chop wood on its opinion on world events. Why would I ask her?

      • Alan Bedenko at 9:18 am #

        Terrorists attacked the country on 9/11. Not Islam. So it hardly accomplishes anything productive to treat all Muslims as terrorists.

      • Brian Castner at 9:22 am #

        Muslim terrorists that attacked because of their faith. To ignore that basic point, or lump all terrorists together for political convenience, is assinine. Of course all Muslims aren’t terrorists. Using that big brush is as useless as calling everyone who doesn’t support this mosque a bigot.

      • peteherr at 9:29 am #

        Brian, I had to read that comment a couple of times, because I didn’t feel like it was something you would actually say. Since there is about a billion and a half Muslims in the world and the terrorist segment of that is probably a small fraction of 1%, it is certainly kind of bigoted to say. I am certain that there is equally as small a segment of Christian Fundamentalists or Jewish extremists who are equally as radical and dangerous.

        And Hank, by your standards I am certainly a liberal, and I am not in love with Islam. I don’t know enough about it. I am in love with equality, and innocent until proven guilty, and all of the same tenets of the Constitution that Alan is espousing here.

      • Eric Saldanha at 9:31 am #

        By your logic, Brian, I should live in a state of panic because I’m surrounded by Catholic churches, housing an untold number of child rapists.

        Conservatives love to dredge up the “Islam killed 3000 of us on 9/11” card while ignoring the fact that dozens of innocent Muslims perished in the terrorist attack. Strange that an attack based on faith would kill the very practioners of said faith.

      • Brian Castner at 9:51 am #

        My last comment for the day – I’m writing a post on this tonight, and have to take off with the kids . . .

        @ Pete: You misunderstand me. I am not denigrating the whole faith. But you there are two very inconvenient facts that many of you seem to want to ignore: 1) the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 were not doing so because of communism, or anarchism, or political beliefs, or catholicism or judasim. There were doing so because of their faith in Islam. Their motivation is important to me, or else we stay ignorant Americans. Should we not care why the people want to kill us? And 2) Unfortunately, the breed of Islam touted by these groups is not part of 1% of the Muslim faith. Most of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and large parts of Iraq follow a similar path. There is generalized support for Wahabism (in Saudi Arabia), and the extremist forms taught in the madrassas in Pakistan. Indonesian has its own home grown issues, and there is wide support for J-e-I in the southern islands. Its is not a small percentage of Muslims, which is one reasons we still have so many problems in that part of the world. Are all Muslims terrorist? No. Are all Muslims peace-loving? No. Isn’t the reality always more nuanced than we wish it was.

        @ Eric: I am not a bring up 9/11 all the time guy. You know that. I bring it up here because we’re talking about a mosque/prayer station/learning center near Ground Zero. It makes the event relevant. Innocent Muslims have died in lots of Muslim terrorist attacks all over the world – that it is ironic does not make it less true, or the terrorists who did it less Muslim. And if you were a child, or have children, you should be worried.

      • Alan Bedenko at 4:28 pm #

        @Brian: They were not adherents of Islam as much as they were members of a terrorist organization led by a terrorist that uses Islam for political, economic, and military gains. To blame Islam for al Qaeda’s bastardization of that religion and its tenets is not unlike blaming all of Catholicism for the acts that took place during the Inquisition.

        But that’s all beside the point.

        The point is that your emotional reaction to 9/11 notwithstanding, Islam didn’t declare war on the US or commit that terrorist act. Al Qaeda did. If it was al Qaeda that wanted to build a mosque or similar structure near Ground Zero, then the outrage would be justified. It isn’t, so it isn’t.

        So, did “everything change” after 9/11? As far as the First Amendment to the US Constitution is concerned – specifically the two clauses I cited, the answer is a resounding no. 9/11 did not make it ok for the government to ban one religion from operating a YMCA-type facility in a part of Manhattan, and permit others to do the same.

        You know, lots of Muslim people died in 9/11. You insult their memory by equating their faith with terrorist extremists who act in its name.

        I have children, and I am worried. About a lot of things. But I’m not so “worried” that I would gut the Constitution to feel a bit less “worried” about the goings on at Cordoba House’s swimming pool, basketball court, or mosque.

      • Brian Castner at 7:57 pm #

        Your first sectence is political correctness gone astray. I take the terrorists at their word, and they did it in the name of Islam. The KKK found plenty of proof in the Bible too, and thus were Christian terrorists. I don’t lump the two together, and call them crazy terrorists and be done. We maintain our willful ignorance and purposefully ignore their own stated beliefs at our own detriment. I don’t blame Islam for Al Qaeda. But don’t claim that Al Qaeda is not Islamic.

      • Eric Saldanha at 1:13 pm #

        Brian – you may not be 9/11 guy, but you were here, thus my response. Newsflash here – conservatives and people who think like them were not the only “victims” of the terrorist attack. Not all of us are Bill O’Reilly revenge fetishists, bent on using an attack planned and executed by radical terrorists to impugn a community of 1.2 million Muslims. Just as every Christian is not personally responsible for the nutcase abortion assassins, or Eric Rudolph or Timothy McVeigh.

        Whether you have children or not is completely irrelevant to this. What is it about a house of worship that frightens you so? I thought your lot was supposed to be the “dead or alive” John Wayne contingent?

      • STEEL at 2:38 pm #

        I am surprised at you position on this. Can’t wait for the expanded explanation tonight. BC – “Why the constitution should not apply to Muslims or other people we don’t like including American born children of Mexican illegals – and git-chur-hands-off-our-guhns.”

      • Colin Eager at 6:49 pm #

        This is a pretty surprising comment from you.

        Who is “they?”

      • Brian Castner at 7:52 pm #

        Ah, foiled by a pronoun! The “they” would be Muslim terrorists, not all Muslims. More in a sec.

      • Brian Castner at 7:59 pm #

        @ Eric: Oh, and the “you should be worried with children” thing was about your reference to nearby Catholic Churches. Not the rest of the thread – I see why that was confusing.

  5. peteherr at 9:31 am #

    And let’s be clear. Sarah Palin didn’t make up a new word…..until after she said something incorrectly and it was better and cuter to say she coined a new term than admit she was wrong.

    • Hank at 5:16 pm #

      Pete—At 9:29 AM I was still asleep. I’ve not commented on this thread before now, and it’s 5:01 PM. If you say you’re a liberal, then you probably are. Why do I give a shit? I don’t even know you.

      Of course, Not all muslims are terrorists—-But most terrorists ARE MUSLIMS. Eric S’s gay sensitivities seem to be heightened by the Catholic Church— Hmmm. Catholics hate the sin but love the sinner. Go tell a muslim cleric you’re gay. They probably already have the hole dug they would bury you up to your neck in, then run a bush-hog over your head. I’m not suggesting you should hate muslims because they believe all homosexuals should die, but I wouldn’t think you’d be filled with love for them either.

      BP—all the bullshit/Palin Hatred/ etc aside–considering the 9/11 terrorists were all Muslims, isn’t there a better location for the Mosque than right in front of ground zero? Take a look at your beloved Europa, where the Muslims are making things difficult for the EU Governments. It’s probably not wise to kiss their asses, literally or figuratively. And don’t forget in court—-They can lie to you on the stand, because you’re a fucking infidel. They don’t care if you have a religion, don’t believe in organized religion. or whether or not you believe in God at all. If you’re not a muslim, you’re an infidel piece of shit, a dog that deserves to die instead of being good and accepting the teachings of Mohammed. It’s NYC after all, they all live packed together like animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.

      • Christopher Smith at 5:31 pm #

        BP—all the bullshit/Palin Hatred/ etc aside–considering the 9/11 terrorists were all Muslims, isn’t there a better location for the Mosque than right in front of ground zero?

        No, there isn’t, Mr. freedom loving, free market libertarian guy. If they have the capital to build and meet all existing zoning rules and regulations, they can build where they want, right? This IS the United States of America, right? Ya know, where people are free to do as they wish. Or maybe all that stuff only applies to white christian types.

        I’d maintain that the construction of a mosque directly across the street is the ultimate expression of our freedom, tolerance and ideals.

      • peteherr at 7:28 pm #

        I’m sorry Hank…sometimes I confuse you and Ward. My bad….and I say I am a moderate, but I lean left.

      • Bbill at 8:00 pm #

        “Of course, Not all muslims are terrorists—-But most terrorists ARE MUSLIMS. ”

        WRONG. Most of ’em are authoritarian followers of all stripes. A good example in today’s news is the guy who got into a gunfight with the Oakland cops because Fox News propagandists had gotten him all ginned up.

        You know who’s a genuine terrorist? Glenn Beck. By any reasonable definition.

      • Rob at 8:01 am #

        “I’m sorry Hank…sometimes I confuse you and Ward.”

        Perfectly understandable.

  6. Mike in WNY at 11:07 am #

    The liberals/progressives are correct on this issue, I just wish they would pay the Constitution its due on all issues.

  7. peteherr at 12:23 pm #

    There’s another large issue at play here, and it goes to the core of the capitalist society. Someone owns that piece of property and it is their’s to do with what they choose, so long as it does not violate existing zoning laws. They can rent to, sell to, or build whatever they want on that property that they own. So, what’s it going to be? Are the conservatives champions of people’s individual freedoms, or only the ones that they like?

  8. STEEL at 2:35 pm #

    We don’t have to ban the construction of Christian churches because the KKK only terrorizes the coloreds not real Amurakins.

  9. Hank at 6:41 pm #

    Geek—watch who you’re cussin—-I AM NOT A LIBERTARIAN. With a Big L or a little one.
    The Freeners are my friends, with whom I disagree regularly. Liberals love that association game, don’t they? JO has been my friend for 39 years. That doesn’t mean we march to the same drumbeat.

    BTW, when we show Muslims how “tolerant” we are, they fall down laughing. They just want us DEAD. You’re panty-assed show of tolerance means not a fucking whit. When ya gonna figure THAT ONE out?

    • seamonkeyavenger at 7:18 pm #

      If any group is “panty-assed” it’s all of you terrified bigots who are willing to shred the Constitution and to jettison everything that makes this country truly great, because you FEAR fellow-Americans who just so happen to practice a different religion than you do! Talk about a bunch of weak sisters — you trembling, fearful right wing bigots are the WORST. This is America, pal. Why are you acting like such a quivering, pant-wetting, yellow-bellied coward about this matter? Christopher Smith is absolutely right; building an Islamic center near 9/11 actually DEMONSTRATES our nation’s strength and unity in diversity. If you don’t like the tenants of tolerance and diversity that our nation and our Constitution stand for, Hank… if you’re too weak and fearful to handle it… that’s your problem. Our great nation will only grow more diverse with the passage of time, so you’d better learn to deal with it.

  10. Mr. Harris at 12:47 pm #

    Either you have freedom of religion, or regulation of religion.

    Personally, I’d vote for regulating religion because religion is the leading cause of conflict, war, disease and famine in the world. I’m all for eradicating Islam and the rest.

    Problem for you fundie Christian’s ain’t going to like the implications of regulating religion because as soon as we’re done with Islam we’re coming after you to eradicate your religion. Sane, rational people are sick and tired of religious bullshit holding civilization from progress and development. We’re gonna you religious folk. We’re gonna get you and it ain’t going to be pleasant but it’s got to be done.

    Islamofacists are just the darker toned skinned version of white bread right wing extremists and the bullshit stops here.

    There your allies o devout xtian fundies. So you tell me, want to ban places of worship? We’re right behind you. 😉


  1. The Difference Between Can and Should | WNYmedia.net -

    […] Alan wrote today on the controversy surrounding the building of a mosque/prayer site/learning center/conference hall near Ground Zero in downtown Manhattan, beating me to the punch. Consider our views dissimilar. […]

  2. Feelings. | WNYmedia.net -

    […] responds disapprovingly to my post about the anti-Muslim bigotry that seems to be more important to Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino than the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. He says that the […]

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