Freedom Means Learning How to Deal

16 Aug

While I was eating lunch today, the local news was playing in the break room and they came to a story about the mosque controversy in New York City. One of my co-workers said, “I don’t think they should be allowed to.” I asked her why. She had no answer, only that they shouldn’t. I can hope that her lack of a reason was her being ashamed of why she’s opposed to it, but I don’t know for sure. But I do know that she felt strongly that this mosque was a bad idea, and this is America, and she’s allowed to think that.

But since this is America, what she thinks about it isn’t relevant. This group that wants to build the mosque (which as I understand it, is less of a place of worship and more of a community center), is fully within their rights to build what they want there as long as it is within the city’s zoning laws, and the local officials have overwhelmingly approved the center.

In America we get to have opinions, and we get to voice them. It’s one of our most cherished freedoms. But it doesn’t mean that we get to force other people to live by our beliefs/standards/ideologies.

There is a group of 9/11 victims’ families that is opposed to it, because they don’t want to walk past a reminder of what they lost. But there were Muslims who died in the attack as well, so…

Should we ban cars so that the families of car crash victims don’t have to see them?

Living in a free society means that you are going to be confronted with people who have a different worldview than you.

This should be celebrated, rather than becoming another excuse to trot out the same closed-minded arguments that have been replayed over and over in a country where each and every one of us is from some other place with some other culture.

Much is made about the promise of America and the freedoms and ideals that we represent across the globe. I just wish that we didn’t have such a hard time living up to them.

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Posted by on August 16, 2010 in Uncategorized


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