I am atheist and proud of it. I am of the firm opinion that everyone should be free to practice their religion (or lack thereof) as they see fit. This is part of who we are as Americans. It is a sacred principle enshrined in our constitution. For this reason I find the debate over the so-called "ground zero" Islamic center to be a farce and mark of shame for our country.
Islam does not equal terrorism. Would anybody think it a rational argument if Christians were prohibited from building churches next to the Oklahoma City Federal Building just because Timothy McVeigh was Christian? Obviously this would be a nonsensical position. Why is the Islamic center any different? True, the 9/11 terrorists were all Muslim, but it does not follow that all Muslim's are terrorists. In fact, many of the 9/11 victims were themselves Muslim. Why should all Muslims be asked to answer for the crimes of a small and sick minority that shares the same faith?
From my personal perspective, religions (all of them) are misguided. I recognize and respect everyone's right to worship and believe what they choose, and I make no claim to know better than anyone else the ultimate truth or the nature of reality. I am frustrated, perplexed and amazed by people's unwavering and uncompromising certainty about things they have no possible way of knowing. I feel that there is plenty of evidence to show that religion has been a force for evil in the world (case in point the 9/11 attacks themselves), which does not reduce by one bit the virtue and good done by many honest and devout religious folks of all religions.
Let's face it, the protest against the "ground zero" Islamic center is nothing short of religious fundamentalism and bigotry, dressed in the guise of political correctness and a plea for "consideration". For God's sake, let honest people worship as they will. Your religion is no better than theirs and is no more grounded in reality or morality than those of others.
That's my take, anyway.
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