Sunday, August 15, 2010

Joining the fray, despite better judgment.

After reading Jerry Coyne's take on the NYC mosque project known as Cordoba House, I feel compelled to contribute my own unsolicited views. Let me be perfectly (and perhaps painfully) clear on this: I do not support the building of this mosque any more than I support the building of any other mosque, church, temple or other monument to that source of perpetual irrationality that is religion. Of course, what's brilliant about living in a country that respects human rights is that they do not need my support to build their mosque any more than, say, a Catholic group needs my support to continue expanding that particular institution.

There is an inherent and celebrated right to express viewpoints, including those that I find deplorable and unconscionable, and I am not about to stop celebrating this right simply because of some contrived notion of "ground zero" as being somehow sacred, as is currently being pushed by the right-wingers in my home country. My personal revulsion at a religious institution that offers no better than a compromise with the hateful and inhumane extremes of the worst and most fundamentalist strains of religious practice do not figure in to the equation at all. I cannot, by the same reasoning, let the hatred expressed as an article of faith by the Mormon church in the recent California Proposition 8 debacle lead me to reject the inherent rights of Mormons to practice their faith.

Rather, as I have said before and will continue to say, such institutions are made irrelevant through eroding the cultural support for irrationality. The law has no place in deciding questions of this kind of cultural imperative-- not even zoning laws. To throw away the recognition of fundamental human rights in a case like this is nothing other than embracing the very irrationality that I argue is so damaging.

Note: Thank you to the person who helped me perfect the writing on this one. Left anonymous for search engine reasons.

No comments: