A 15 story mosque and Islamic community center has been approved within blocks of the site of 9/11. Naturally many New Yorkers and others are outraged because this is the site of a national tragedy and those who attacked civilians there did so in the name of Islam. Planting a mosque at the site seems incredibly insensitive and offensive to the memory of those who died on 9/11. The leader of the mosque project has said 9/11 was America’s fault and at least somewhat justified, refuses to call Hammas (not to be confused with hommus) a terrorist group, and the project is being funded from Islamic groups in Islamic countries. There’s a lot of reasons people are concerned.
That’s the story, here’s the argument I keep hearing:
We’ll let mosques be built anywhere when every Muslim country lets churches and synagogues be built freely.
Whatever the right thing is, it is not to lower our standards, as a country that champions religious liberty, to those of countries to not allow religious liberty.
By justifying your actions by those of another, you’ve walked away from your own principles. If the above argument is all you have, you’re saying you want to belong to an anti-freedom country, though you condemn them.
This failure in arguing happens frequently, thanks in part to the short length of political terms (though it isn’t limited to politics).
That Democrats manipulated Republican primary elections is not, in itself, reason for the Republicans who champion ethics and character to manipulate elections. That liberals expand government is not justification for “conservatives,” who champion smaller government to expand government.
If you violate the principles you claim as your own, you lack character. Your choices are not justified by comparing them to those who don’t claim to hold the same principles you do.
There are legitimate reasons for wanting this Mosque moved to another location. But the more conversations and airwaves are filled with poor arguments like this, the less likely real dialog is possible.
Edit: Added new image and fixed some typos. (8/18/2010 – Second Jon)