Thoughts from Dr. Joe: A chance to be noble

Let's get this straight from the onset.

Under the 1st Amendment, as it pertains to "Freedom of Religion," it is the constitutional right of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to build his mosque and Islamic center two blocks from ground zero.

It's the letter of the law, and frankly, an open-and-shut case. But is it?

By reading between the lines, we often find the story within the story. It's called the hidden agenda, the gray area. The law then becomes more elastic, requiring additional scrutiny. Thus, in order to decipher the invisible ink, critical thought requires viewing circumstance within the spirit of the law.

I don't need to dissect the issues to formulate an opinion regarding this argument. There is absolutely no ambiguity in my analysis. The Islamists' intent to build this mosque adjacent to ground zero is an abomination of good will, sensitivity and judgment. It is offensive and obtrusive to the most basic of sensibilities.

Do we not remember what happened there on Sept. 11, 2001? Should we believe that under the pretext of tolerance we could ostensibly eradicate the scars of 9/11? What about the sensibilities of the exponential numbers of family, friends, and friends of friends who lost someone? How about the 360 firefighters who lost their lives? Does a mosque solemnize their slaughter?

A place is made sacred because it was visited by the miraculous or the transcendent such as Fatima or by the presence there of great nobility and sacrifice such as Normandy or by the blood of martyrs and the suffering of the innocent such as ground zero.

Ground zero is hallowed ground. It belongs to those who suffered and died there. We are obliged to preserve the dignity and memory of the place, never allowing it to be forgotten, trivialized or misappropriated.

We are prisoners of the 1st Amendment. Thus, it's their right to build the mosque even though it is morally offensive for them to do so. Even President Obama sanctioned the rights of Islam under the guise of freedom of worship. How noble. Too bad he didn't have the courage to do some peaceful proselytizing and remind Islam of their lack of religious tolerance.

Freedom of worship is not specific to just Americans. It is a basic human right, and where it lacks protection there is serious injustice. How many churches or synagogues are allowed in Mecca?

I am tired of being lectured to by Mayor Bloomberg and his progressive supporters regarding my lack of religious tolerance and support for the Constitution. At 22 I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, then picked up a rifle and walked the walk. What did they do? This is not an issue of intolerance or bigotry. If that's the argument, then there is no debate. This is not a matter of constitutional rights; it's a matter of decency — and doing the right thing.

The project has been touted as an interfaith venture. Do you not see this duplicity? There is nothing in the design that resembles an interfaith component. Subsequently, Akbar Ahmed, a leading Islamic educator, said, "To have an Islamic center is like rubbing salt in open wounds. The space should include a synagogue and a church so it will truly be interfaith. Many Islamic intellectuals do not support this project, and their moderation is encouraging."

I ask myself, what is the right thing to do? Where lies the chance to be noble? Both sides of the issue should ponder this question. The Constitution must be honored, and the noble nature of America must ascend and allow this project to go forward.

However, nobility is universal among all righteous individuals; it is neither culturally relevant nor situational. Thus Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf must likewise ascend the hierarchy of nobility and build his mosque somewhere else.

When this happens we will know peace.

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