Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Giving Away Our Rights

When I was just a low seniority Annealing Operator at the aluminum foil factory, everything there was done based on seniority--job bidding, vacation bidding, overtime assignment--everything. Since I didn't have any(seniority), I had relatively few options.

There were those that wanted to change how overtime was assigned. They were guys that had no seniority and wanted to work the overtime that the more senior workers kept taking away from them. (Overtime was assigned to the junior qualified person but somebody with more seniority could take it.) Even though I was a new guy and had no seniority, I was unwilling to trade away my future seniority rights for something that I wanted now.

I think of those times when I continue to read and hear the ongoing discussion of an Islamic community center/Mosque being built near Ground Zero. I wonder how the future would play out if the opposition to this building won and the Muslims were not allowed to build their facility there.

What would happen when a Baptist Church wanted to rent a store front and start a church two blocks from a casino? Could the casino owners cite the "Ground Zero Case" and block them from putting a church too close because it would offend their patrons? Or maybe in a city's downtown area where there are a number of bars, pubs and micro-breweries? Could the businesses block the building or limit the hours so as not to interfere or offend their clientèle?

Imagine the uproar then! Fox News would have camera crews on hand. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh would fill the airwaves with their self righteous drivel. Jay Sekulow and the ACLJ would descend on that community with lawyers and truckloads of money. Politicians would line up on the side that would fill their campaign coffers with the most money. And the religious right would scream that this is the United States and their Constitutional Rights are being violated!

That's right, the same Constitutional Rights that are being challenged right now for a different organization. You can say that the "Ground Zero Case" is different; that the very land is sacred--but it's not.

I have a very hard time believing that good, well meaning, God fearing Americans are taking a stand to oppose religious freedom. I wonder what the Christian believers that meet in secret in the Middle East would say. I wonder what the believers that risk imprisonment in China would say. Would they be for or against a government deciding where followers of any faith can meet?

By fighting to limit another's religious freedom, we fight to limit our own freedom. When we take away their rights, we also lose our rights. Here, in the United States, we aren't compelled to believe what somebody else believes--but neither are they compelled to believe what we believe. I just don't see why this is so hard to grasp.

If all Muslims are guilty of the 9-11 attack, then try them and put them in prison. But they're not. So why are we putting them on trial and punishing them by limiting their religious freedom? Personally, I cherish my religious freedom...and I'm willing to let somebody else keep theirs so that I can keep mine.



Anonymous said...

John. Yes, "sacred ground." Here is a link to a great photo montage of other holy institutions that are within the same perimeter as the proposed community center. (sorry, don't remember the whole tag thing)



Mike said...

This is too logical John. You're going to confuse a lot of people.

John said...

Thanks for the link, Steve. Seems to me that the opposition isn't coming from the neighborhood. Maybe all of the opposition ought to be worried about their own neighborhoods and leave these people alone.

Laura said...

If you believe the Constitution protects Glenn Beck's right to stand in the same spot as MLK Jr. and have his little "rally" to bring back "honor" on the Anniversary of MLK Jr.s I Have A Dream Speech, then by all rights you should believe that same Constitution protects Islam Americans right to build a mosque/community center on private property b/c they share the same rights and freedoms in the very same Constitution as Glenn Beck.

The right to free speech and to worship as you please are protected rights for EVERY citizen in this country...not just the ones you agree with or share sentiments with....EVERYONE! The minute we begin to limit one person's rights...ours are suddenly in jeopardy.

Bilbo said...


As you know from what I've written in my own blog, I strongly support the right of the property owners to build their "community center" there in the interest of property rights and freedom of religion. Whether or not it's a good idea and shows sensitivity to the emotions caused by 9/11 (you will recall that I was in the Pentagon that day and have some fairly negative feelings toward the religious motivations of the attackers) is another matter entirely. While we cherish our freedom of (and - lest we forget - "from") religion in this country, it's also good to remember that freedom of religion is not a tenet of the Islamic faith...any other form of worship is frowned upon, if not outright illegal, in most Muslim majority countries. It's worthwhile to point out that those who would build the "ground zero mosque" are invoking rights and freedoms they would deny to others were they in the majority.

Sicilian said...

Now I know why I like you John . . . . you think like I do. . . . we are only about freedom of religion when it is a religion that we agree with. . . . it is ok for us to be in a war defending a lot of Muslims, but have an issue with a mosque. . . God forbid the thought.
Sometimes I wonder what we are thinking.

Laura said...

Once we start down the road to persecution and alienating the AMERICAN Islamic community...we become just like the intolerant Muslim countries.

Keep America Free!

I don't have to agree with someone's religious tenets to know that freedom of religion and freedom from religious persecution is a GOD-GIVEN AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.

I saw on the news last night that one of the people who is funding this so called "Terror Dome" is co-owner of MediaCorp...Fox News. Interesting to see how they use their freedom of speech to spread the hate against one of their own.

And my final passing thought is a line in a gospel song...

.."and they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love."

John said...

Laura, I posted this link last week on Facebook: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-23-2010/the-parent-company-trap

Check it out.