By Gary Kopycinski
Ground Zero is sacred ground.
You better believe it is.
So where is the voice of the G.O.P. shouting a unanimous and bombasitic, "NO!!!!!!" regarding the Ground Zero Strip Club?
The G.O.P. wants us to believe that it is wrong for a religious group to openen a community center close to Ground Zero. The religious group should locate elsewhere, not so close to Sacred Ground.
As yet, I haven’t heard anyone wonder why our political class is silent as the sex industry operates on sacred ground. It would be a bizarre complaint: It’s Manhattan, where you can find anything mere blocks from a given location. The closest strip club to Ground Zero happens to be two blocks away, a fact that has nothing to do with our reverence for the place where so many Americans were killed by terrorists. As you’ve probably noticed, it doesn’t even make sense to call it The Ground Zero Strip Club.
But it makes no less sense than naming an Islamic community center "The Ground Zero Mosque"–as much of the media have done–because it’s going to be located a couple blocks away. Even worse, opponents of the project are opportunistically invoking the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, even going so far as to appropriate their imagery. "Join the fight to kill The Ground Zero Mosque," intones a video advertisement released by a group called National Republican Trust PAC. "A mosque at Ground Zero must not stand. The political class says nothing. The politicians are doing nothing to stop it. But we Americans will be heard. "
As an American in good standing, I’d like to be heard–and to make sure that James Madison, a colleague of mine in citizenship, is heard too. The fourth president of the U.S. once wrote, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It’s a line that National Republican Trust neglects to remember. Perhaps "the political class" isn’t doing anything to stop the construction of an Islamic community center because the Constitution forbids it. Even worse, the advertisement I’ve mentioned engages in just the sort of religious bigotry that the First Amendment is meant to guard against. "On Sept. 11 they declared war against us," the narrator says. "And to celebrate that murder of 3,000 Americans they want to build a monstrous 13-story mosque at ground zero."
"They" declared war against us? Who is this ambiguous "they?"
A radical group of al Qaeda radicals led by Osama bin Laden attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
Who are "they" who wish to open the community center?
"They" are an Islamic group that has long run a mosque in the area for New York City Muslims. On 9/11, "they" found their community under attack, too. It is slander to assert that they’ve declared war against us, or that their motive in building a community center is celebrating the murder of Americans.
"They" who wish to open this community center are peace-loving Americans. That’s it.
This is a non-issue, and the G.O.P. should be ashamed.