Sunday, July 18, 2010

The First Amendment also applies to Muslims

Hundreds of people marched in neighboring Murfreesboro last week to protest the building of a mosque in Rutherford County. The protesters delivered a petition bearing 20,000 signatures to the county mayor. (link) I was not among the marchers and my name was not on the petition. I support the First Amendment.

There are those who will argue that a mosque is really a terrorist training compound and the Muslim faith is not really a religion and that Muslim should not be afforded the same freedom of religion as other groups. They think Rutherford County should listen to the will of the people and stop the building of the mosque.

Thank God we do not live in a nation where the will of the people trumps our constitutional protections. It is not the majority who need to have their rights protected. The same people who think that a duly elected governing body should not have the right to take away their second amendment rights, think officials in Rutherford County should follow the will of the majority (assuming it is the will of the majority) and take away the first amendment rights of others. It seems some conservatives love that second amendment but are not too keen on the first and not so sure about some of the others. Their love of the constitution is very selective.

I am not naive and I am not uninformed. I realize that there have been mosque associated with terrorist activity and I realize that there are terrible things done in the name of the Muslim faith. I know that they stone adulterers in Saudi Arabia. I know that women are not well treated by the Muslim religion. No, I do not want to live under Sharia law. I have read the barbaric excerpts from the Qur'an. You do not need to educate me. I have attended more than one meeting of ACT for America. Just last week I attended the ACT-sponsored presentation by Americans for Peace and Tolerance. There is no need to send me experts from the Qur'an or links to websites or YouTube video. I have already seen it.

I support legal scrutiny of suspected enemies. If an undesirable visitor is in this county it is our right to expel him. If Americans are plotting terrorist activity I want them to be apprehended and prosecuted. If a Muslim congregation has ties to individuals or groups that advocate extremism then they should be exposed. People should be educated to the threat of radical Islam. It does follow that acknowledging the threat of radical Islam should leads to violating our believe in freedom of religion.

If we abandon our concept of property rights, innocent until proven guilty, and freedom of religion then the enemies of freedom have won a battle. My distaste for fundamentalist Islam and my concern for security does not trump my support for the constitution and basic American values.

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  1. Rod, I agree with you that the First Amendment allows the mosque. What do you think, though, of whether the government has a right to investigate whether such an organization is actively supporting destruction of our nation? As you know, many mosques and Islamic organizations have been tied to terrorism. Should mosques be allowed to serve as cover for such efforts? My own view is that the FBI should be able to investigate and prosecute such connections/support.

  2. Gene, I agree. Consistent with constitutional protections, I hope our FBI is vigilant in investigating those who would do us harm.