Constitution is at stake in Newton County mosque debate

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In recent years we’ve been treated to a lot of high-handed rhetoric about the sanctity of the Constitution and of the liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, we’ve also witnessed just how fragile and paper-thin public support for the Constitution can be under duress, particularly in an election season.

The controversy over a proposed mosque in Newton County offers another sobering example. Since grade school, we’ve all been taught the stories how the Pilgrims and Puritans and Quakers and later the Baptists and Methodists fled to America in search of the freedom to worship the God of their choice, in the fashion that they wished. We’ve been taught to venerate the freedom of conscience protected under the First Amendment, which makes it clear that the awesome powers of government — at the federal, state or even local level — cannot be used to promote or discriminate against a particular religious sect.

Freedom of religion is part of the bedrock of our heritage. And if you were to poll those Newton County citizens who showed up at a public meeting this week to protest the building of a mosque and cemetery in their community, I’d bet that almost to a person they would express strong rhetorical support for the Constitution and religious liberty.

But …

But driven by fear, anger, bigotry and inflammatory, irresponsible rhetoric from political leaders who ought to know better, too many have been led to believe that there’s an unwritten, unseen but powerful “but” hidden in the First Amendment. Here in America, we all have the right to pray and worship as we wish, but … not those people. Here in America we’re all equal under the eyes of the law, but … not those people.

They dress funny. They talk funny. They pray funny. And my fears and bias give me the right to trump whatever rights they think they might have, even to the point of denying them a place in which to bury their dead. The public commentary, gleaned from Facebook and press interviews, was pretty stark:

“They need to open butcher shops all around the property where they want to build the mosque!! Sell nothing but pork!! Pig heads everywhere!!!

“As a United States citizen, we don’t need people that don’t want to go by our laws. What are they actually going to be doing there at the mosque?” (Those laws include the First Amendment and laws guaranteeing the right to build houses of worship without religious-based interference.)

“How do we know there won’t be an ISIS training camp? There’s many in this country. I’m totally against everything they represent because I believe in God and the holy Bible.” (That same Bible tells us that “You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native.”)

“I don’t want these people and these teachings in our community. Were we not watching our TV on Sept. 11, 2001? Have we lost our mind? Have we lost our common sense here?” (No, what we’ve lost is courage. What we’ve lost is commitment to values that we celebrate when written on parchment but refuse to honor in our lives.)

In the end, I hope, the mosque will be built. Those opposing it have no legal grounds on which to fight it, no moral grounds upon which to oppose it. This controversy is part of the process, part of the means by which we remind each other that liberty for us requires that we fight for the liberty of them as well.

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1662 comments
MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

It seems to me that Anthony Wiener has an exhibitionist problem more than a sexual problem.  Probably related to low self-esteem and perhaps even to masochism (self-destruction).

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

While we're all distracted a bit about Huma Abedin, just wanted to share this ditty, whose opening verse immediately came to mind upon hearing this news.


Are you alone now

Did you lose the monkey

He gave you backaches

And now you slouch

He didn't mean it

He's just a dumb ape

Reading Playboy

On your couch


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmqswLKKYyU



goat diddler
goat diddler

Looks like General James "mad dog" Mattis has implicitly endorsed Hills...

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Why is it not news worthy JReb, if a doctor that has vouched for the health of a presidential candidate's, website leads to a teddy bear singing happy birthday? Be mad at Joe Scarborough, republican, because he is the one who reported it. 


https://www.annoyingteddy.com/#

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@StraightNoChaser I don't recall stating it was not newsworthy.

What I posted was how ridiculous you LibProgs respond. Some, maybe not you, disparaging Trump.

My guess is the guy's website was constantly crashing so he unleashed revenge.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

The public has expectations of professional athletes that are not based on a specific athlete's preferences.

For example, the public expects them to show the proper respect to the anthem and pledge.

When an athlete does not meet the public's expectation, they pay for it in several ways.

Most apparent is the booh machine.

It will be interesting to see the response to Kaepernic.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

The public doesn't own any athletes. They are allowed to speak

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@TBS the guy is enjoying an opportunity found no where else on Earth.

He needs a good shaking.  A wake-up call.

There is no glory in disrespecting the Nation.

Apparently, you need that lesson also.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@TBS I do it almost everyday here.

Some heads are harder than others.

I thank God I have not gone through almost 70 years believing the country I was born in was ill founded.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@honested @JohnnyReb @TBS when I was going through school, every film shown started with Dixie.

So stop complaining of the show of patriotism and be glad.

TBS
TBS

Lol!!!!

Do you get upset with the JWs regarding the national anthem and pledge stance?

Do they need a shake rattle and roll as well?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@honested @JohnnyReb @TBS  It's definitely an American thing.  About the only time you will hear a national anthem at a sporting event in the UK, France, Germany, etc. is if the national teams are playing.

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb @honested @TBS 

I wasn't fond of the 'dixie' crap either.

I bet you don't like what I think of the group praying nonsense either.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@TBS  "There is no glory in disrespecting the Nation". 

Ah -  patriotism - what did Samuel Johnson say about it?

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@JohnnyReb 

The public has expectations of professional athletes that are not based on a specific athlete's preferences.

For example, the public expects them to show the proper respect to the anthem and pledge

-

You speak of 'the public' as a monolithic thing. 

It's not. 

What Kaepernick is doing, as much as anything else, is a bid to shape it. Or galvanize it.

TBS
TBS

No he does not

The mere fact that you are stomping around pouting about it shows he has the dialogue going ... Just as he anticipated

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@JohnnyReb @PaulinNH @honested @TBS  Ah - I love how "American Patriots" think that anyone who has a different thought than them is an "America hater" who needs to "love it or leave it". 

Sorry, but I am supporting a whole bunch of Americans both directly and indirectly.

TBS
TBS

Bet your backside you won't do it

Good on Kap

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb @TBS 

There is no legitimate reason for attaching the National Anthem to every sports performance ever.

I'm glad that isn't a requirement for attending a concert or theater performance.

TBS
TBS

Dude isn't stupid

He knew many would be upset however he still took his stance or his sit if you will.

And you have your right to not like it but I applaud the man

skydog12
skydog12

@JohnnyReb @TBS


The Police also should not disrespect the Nation by killing citizens unnecessarily. Until there is progress on that front, all is fair.

TBS
TBS

One need not adhere your narrative to have love for the US

You are not the standard.. Never have been nor will ever be

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@gotalife the guy is toast.

Banning the flag at a South Carolina football game because some of the opposition team are Hispanic.

Ridiculous, show him the door.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I see breaking news that Huma, Hillary's aide, is leaving her husband after another sexting episode.  Anthony Weiner has a sexual addiction that he cannot control, evidently, and this is a sad situation for all involved in the family - Huma, Anthony, and their son.


Then, we have Donald Trump who is making political hay over this sad event for his own benefit.  That fact is equally sad.


http://www.myajc.com/ap/ap/top-news/weiner-abedin-to-separate-after-sexting-revelation/nsNWz/

gotalife
gotalife

After listening to Kap talk to media yesterday, this guy will make a great politician.

gotalife
gotalife

Guess what they are talking about on ESPN today?

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@gotalife well, they swore off politics I thought, but it is likely the idiot SF quarterback.

skydog12
skydog12

@gotalife @skydog12


It`s kind of like the flag burning issue.

You have the right on private property, but......


Same with the Pledge of Allegiance, your supposed to, but......


I don`t care either way.


Does yelling USA USA USA make you a better patriot than the man standing next to you not yelling?  


No

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

They couldn't be talking about Kaplan. According to Figmo,Americans have tuned out protests

TBS
TBS

That's why it's all over the news and blogosphere

Almost as if it never happened

skydog12
skydog12

@DownInAlbany @skydog12 @gotalife


Sitting down busted Albany`s chops in the `60s.


The bus boycott was the final straw that broke the cities back.


Who`s gonna iron, take out the garbage, and most importantly cook the fried chicken if the maid doesn`t show up?