Hello, and welcome to a new week here at Mr. Blahg….
Today’s topic of discussion and annoyance is the ultimate story that is not a story in any way shape or form… and yes, I’m referring to the so called “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy. I am somewhat loathe to begin this blog with anything even remotely associated with religion. Not that I’m opposed to the subject… in fact… I adore having discussions of belief and faith (or lack thereof), but I guess if I’m going to put some people off I may as well start big…. and religion may be the biggest! Although, this story is ostensibly about religion, I’m sure we can all agree this has much more to do with ignorance, intolerance and right wing demagoguery.
So what exactly is this controversy about anyway? An Imam and his wife wish to open a Muslim community center in Manhattan at 51 Park Place…. approximately 2 blocks from a corner of the World Trade Center complex. Some feel that placing a center for Muslims to pray, swim, take cooking classes and play basketball so close to the place where almost 3000 Americans (and yes, even some Muslim Americans) died is not only in poor taste, it is simply wrong and evil. There seems to be an odd belief that this will be a place for radicals to gather and celebrate that horrible day. There has been the argument that the building in which they are occupying (the former Burlington Coat Factory who sold the building after landing gear from one of the planes crashed through the roof) is “hallowed ground”. I imagine the Burger King and strip club that is about a block away is hallowed ground as well…. the holiest pasties in the land!!
So why exactly am I bothered by this “controversy”? Last week, US combat troops left Iraq 2 weeks earlier than planned, effectively ending our combat mission there…. yes there are still ~50,000 troops maintaining a base in Baghdad (approximate number of troops still in Germany, so nothing shocking there)… but the war is basically over. Did you hear much about that last week? Did you see any footage on the news? Perhaps if you were watching NBC or MSNBC you saw some accounts of US troops leaving Iraq and entering Kuwait…. but why was this not on every channel as the “Shock and Awe” campaign were? Instead, we got to hear ridiculous faux outrage over a fucking community center 2 blocks away from the World Trade Center complex.
That’s one reason… but the bigger issue I have with this are the very people who are most incensed about this “slap in the face of American freedom” (pass me the freedom fries please…), these people who enjoy wrapping themselves in the constitution and the bible are apparently so blinded by misguided rage and fear that they can’t see the hypocrisy through the mob mentality. You’ve got to imagine the Queen of England sitting on her throne surrounded by her jewels and sceptres asking, “So, how’s that freedom of religion thing working out for you?”. Yes, we are a nation founded by people so uptight in their beliefs that even the English wanted to get rid of them. We were founded by a group of Puritan weirdos who were tired of being mocked and persecuted in their homeland that they braved crossing a huge ocean on crappy ships with crappy food all in the hope of being able to worship their god in peace… they arrive, kill some brown people, found a new nation, get tired of paying unfair taxes to a dandy king in tights so we can be ruled by “our” dandy president in tights, kill some more brown people, persecute every new group that comes into the country (Irish, Italian, Chinese, etc.), get into a fight over whether humans are humans, fight some other fights where we say “we can never let (insert horrid human on human action here) happen again!”, forget lesson and repeat… and repeat… and repeat…. And in all of this nonsense, one thing has always stood the test of being battered and beaten down, and that is the First Amendment. The idea of freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion…Now, I realize many people do not see that freedom of religion the same way I do. I see it as both freedom to worship as you see fit, and the freedom from worship. I am the latter. I have no faith, no belief… I am an atheist. That does not mean that I am opposed to religion. In fact, I very much believe in the importance of religion for all people throughout history… and I imagine 98-99% of all religious people are decent folks practicing their faith peacefully. What I do object to are extremists. Christian, Jewish and Muslim extremists (I’m sure I’d take issue with Hindu and Buddhists extremists as well, but they tend to not get in our face with it now do they)… all one in the same in my view. Evangelicals in this country… may as well be the American Taliban. Zionists? Really… the chosen people eh? What does that make the rest of us? Shit? And of course, Jihadists… all I can say to that is, “Fuck you!” So here we have so called Christians stating that Jihadists (in their minds, all Muslims obviously) hate our freedoms… so let’s not give them any!! You have the Jewish Museum of Tolerance being intolerant towards this community center… yeah… that makes sense. A Republican mayor making the most reasonable argument for why the center should be there…. and a Democratic president with too wobbly of a spine to simply say “not only do they have the right to build it there, they should”. (Don’t get me wrong… I love our pres., but I do wish he’d get a pair now and again)
This entire affair has been reminding me of the Sunday after 9/11… that interfaith prayer service at Yankee stadium. I recall being in Hawai’i at the time (I lived in Honolulu for 2 years) and feeling very separated from the rest of the country, and watching that service and weeping my eyes out thinking… finally… finally the US is standing up and practicing what we preach as opposed to the usually hypocrisy that spouts from us. It was glorious… seemed to right… like there was a real opportunity for us to grow beyond our petty differences. Then the Lutheran minister who got up to say some words was later excommunicated from his church. Why? Because by standing up with other sects and denominations he validated those others. What the fuck!!?? Yes, get a clue, there are other belief systems out there!! They ARE valid!! How is that tolerant? How is that even Christian!?? Jesus was Jewish!! Did he validate Judaism by being born a Jew? And I haven’t even mentioned the Mormons yet… but yanno… I’ll save that for another time.Anyway… hopefully this non story with just go away like the “death panels”, “Obama is a Muslim”, “Obama is Kenyan”, “9/11 was an inside job”, “moon landing was fake” tin foil hatted nuttery bullshit that seems to occupy our airwaves and newspapers at a disproportionate rate to reason. We really need to knock this crap off, stop giving credence to Faux News, stop sending our kids to school just to tell them to ignore reason and science, stop preaching love while your face is contorted with anger and vitriol and allow all of us to worship or not in fucking peace! We don’t all have to look like you!! I refuse to gain 200 lbs, eat a Krispy Kream burger with fried cheese on the side, get four divorces while saying “the gays will ruin marriage”, criminalize brown people and be a god damned hypocrite… all in the name of God!!???
I’m so tired of hearing about this story. I suppose I should be grateful… it could be about BP.Thanks for reading, have a great Tuesday and see you soon…
Your ranting host,
Cornelius J. Blahg