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August 20th, 2010
12:36 PM ET

My take: Why aren't more Mormons supporting Islamic Center?

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

When America’s leading Republicans started to ratchet up the rhetoric over the Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero, I immediately thought of my former governor Mitt Romney.

In 2007, when he was running for the Republican nomination for president, Romney gave a speech that I described at the time as “an instant classic in American civil religion." In "Faith in America," he spoke glowingly of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. He also said he had himself learned much not only from Catholics, evangelicals and Jews but also from “the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.”

Romney also chastised earlier Americans, however, for failing to live up to the promises of the First Amendment. Where Reagan had referred to this country as a “shining city on the hill” for all the world to see, Romney said it was important to remember that the United States has also been a place of religious bigotry.

The Puritans arrived in the New World seeking religious liberty, he said. “But upon finding it for themselves,” they “denied it to others.” This bigotry exiled Ann Hutchinson from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and drove Brigham Young and other pioneering Mormons onto their westward trek to Utah.

As I wrote in my 2007 piece on this speech, for Romney, the moral of this history lesson was clear:

Americans today should rise above religious bigotry, not least by evaluating presidential candidates on the basis of their credentials instead of their religious tradition. After all, Romney said, “Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.”

These were the words that came to me when Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin and other Republican leaders started to double down on the anti-Islamic rhetoric.

I thought that Romney, as a Mormon, might speak out passionately for the First Amendment. I thought he might remember how the founder of his religion, Joseph Smith Jr., was murdered by an anti-Mormon mob. I thought he might recall how the U.S. government brought down much of its coercive power against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the last decades of the nineteenth century.

Apparently not.  According to a statement released on August 10 by his spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom, “Governor Romney opposes the construction of the mosque at Ground Zero. The wishes of the families of the deceased and the potential for extremists to use the mosque for global recruiting and propaganda compel rejection of this site."

More recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also a Mormon, opened the floodgates for what will likely be a steady stream of Democratic equivocation on this important issue. "The First Amendment protects freedom of religion," Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley said in an August 16 statement. "Sen. Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else.”

One of the realities of robust religious liberty in the United States is that members of minority religions grow complacent over the years.

When Catholics see Muslims denounced as dangers to America, foreigners following the dictates of foreign law, they think “them” rather than “us,” forgetting the burning of their convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1834 by anti-Catholic mobs.

When Mormons see Muslims as a group found guilty of the atrocities of September 11, 2001, they think "them" rather than "us," forgetting how Mormons as a group were found guilty of the atrocities of September 11, 1857, when Mormon vigilantes attacked a wagon train of Arkansas emigrants to the Utah territory, killing some 120 innocent men, women, and children.

Perhaps I am wrong for holding Mormons to some higher standard, but I do. I believe that members of a religious group that has been persecuted almost to extinction should stand up and speak out when Newt Gingrich starts likening Muslims to Nazis and Tea Party advocates start referring to Islam as a cult. At a minimum, religious minorities should not fall into the Puritan trap of demanding religious freedom for themselves while denying it to others.

That is why I found the opposition of Abraham Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League to the Park51 project so dispiriting, and why I find the recent statements of Reid and Romney both sad and shameful.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.


soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Scott

    Maybe their too concerned with getting the Only church actually destroyed on 9/11 (by one of the falling buildings) rebuilt. Since the church has been trying for years since to rebuild and has got nothing but stonewalled by NYC.

    August 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  2. Peter

    I am a Mormon. I do not subscribe to Obama's philosophies, however, I think he is right in not standing in the way of a mosque at ground 0. If he were to make decisions based on religion and not the law, that would be very bad. If I was in his place I would do the same. Having said that, I must wonder what the Muslims are thinking by placing a mosque there when sentiment is so strong against it. I think that they have a propblem if they think that this is supposed to create good relations with them. If this is not their goal, then they must be making a statement against non Muslims. What is there trip? why don't they just do the right thing.

    August 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  3. Karen

    High profile members of a religion represent their faith as a whole, whether it's meant to be that way or not. Specifically politicians or political figures. People are very aware of a politicians religous ties. There are similiarities in the challenges faced between the muslims today and historically the mormons. Our country was founded on, and should uphold religious freedom always. Even if it contradicts your own religious views. I think people need to remember too, that it was terrorists and not muslims that attacked on September 11. Individual fanatics do not represent their faith as a whole.

    August 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • Karen

      Article of Faith 11: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. (see the where? – mormon doctrine)

      August 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • Lexi

      Could you clarify? I feel like you contradicted yourself in the same paragraph.
      "High profile members of a religion represent their faith as a whole...Individual fanatics do not represent their faith as a whole." Assuming you're implying that the terrorists are "individual fanatics" and therefore not "high profile members," you have to remember that those terrorists were, in fact, under order of high profile political figures in the Middle East, who subsequently (by your own claim) represent their faith as a whole.

      August 20, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  4. FlamingoGal

    How loud a cry would be heard if a one mile diameter "religious-free" zone would be proposed to surround "Ground Zero" so as not to offend anyone's sensitivities. No mosques, churches, synagogues, or community centers of any denomination. No display of hijabs, cruxifixes, yarmulkes, turbans, prayer beads or forehead markings, or santos. This, of course, would also have to be a currency-free zone as well ("In God We Trust" appears on both coins and bills). Kinda think it wouldn't fly.

    August 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  5. john frum

    maybe we should ban all religious buildings in the u.s. since i can't think of any terrorist attack on u.s. that wasn't done by a religious person most of which weren't done by muslims. the catholic church rapes children all the time and we still allow them to build churches near playgrounds.

    August 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  6. Tim

    Mr. Prothero,
    Your article is an interesting viewppoint. As a member of the "Mormon" church, I would recommend you take a peek at the partnership between the LDS Church and the Islamic Relief agency, Catholic Relief Services and many other religious organizations. I believe that you will find that Gov. Romney is merely voicing his personal disagreement with the site chosen, not determined by any religious motivations. Oh, and "Thank You," for holding us to a higher standard. I, for one, truly appreciate that.

    August 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • Karen

      It's a compliment to be held to a higher standard. It's up to the individuals to live up to it.

      August 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • Tim

      I absolutely agree. Irrespective of beliefs.

      August 20, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
    • jedmerill

      Yes, and take a look at it's involvement with the Moonie Church.

      August 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
    • jr

      Bear in mind, too, the heat that Mitt Romney took during the primaries simply for BEING A MORMON! It is fascinating that our country has such a dislike of religion (get rid of pray in schools! Take out "one nation under God"! No way is a Mormon going to be President!), yet we expect our political leaders to take a stand on religious issues...

      It came across loud and clear in the primaries that many in this country were fearful that, should Mitt Romney be elected President, he would run the country by the "puppet strings" of his Church. Utterly ridiculous in my mind, but whatever...yet now people carp because he isn't weighing in on religious issues? What in the world did you expect?

      August 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  7. Taylor

    I'm a Mormon and I think it is cowardly for Mitt and Harry to act this way. Stop being politicians and take your faith more seriously. I work with many Muslim and they are great people. Of course there are some bad. But overall, they are good faithful people who try to do what is right.

    August 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • Jenna

      I agree with you. My ex is Muslim and I have other Muslim friends. I am tired of everyone making ALL Muslims out to be the boogeyman!

      August 20, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  8. WHATTHE???

    Hey do you even check out the "NEWS" at your own firm before typing this crap?

    From CNN http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/20/california.islamic.center.controversy/?hpt=T2
    ""Christian, Jewish, Mormon and Muslim leaders will address the rapidly expanding epidemic of Islamophobia across the nation - from Temecula to Tennessee to New York to Connecticut - which they view as a threat to religious freedom and rights of mosques, churches, and synagogues to exist," the group said in a statement."

    Quit posting this crap out and get a jobs some place else.

    August 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • jedmerill

      Mormon church how funny, plays both sides of the issue. We for it, but were against it.
      The Mormon church thinking and how they handle things, has never change from the time of MMM. A plot to harm, a front as a friend, then the strike.

      So, what about the Mormon Church members involved in enhanced tortures, the Mormon Church members involved in the AG removals, the Mormon Church members involved in pressing APA and the political world to accept enhanced tortures.
      What about the Church covering up the involvement of Kye Sampson? Yes, the Mormon Church did, BYU is church owned a run.
      What a bunch of game players!

      August 21, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  9. (B)iraq Hussein Osama

    This mosque controversy is GREAT PUBLICITY for Islam! Any publicity is good publicity for Islam, nutcase terr orists blowing up things or nu de muslims jumping up and down a rail track. The more Islam is exposed the more it spreads, its a great religion, a very successful religion. Its like a cancer, you can't fight it, it keeps spreading and spreading. I can't help but laugh at the christian right wingers, they are shooting themselves in the foot big time over one piddly little mosque!

    August 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • Reality

      Another piddly, little mosque:

      August 9, 2010 Germany shuts 9/11 plotters' mosque in Hamburg

      Police raided the mosque on Monday and hunted for evidence of jihadist activities German police have shut down the Hamburg mosque where the 9/11 hijackers met before their suicide attacks on the US in 2001.

      Police said they believed the Taiba mosque was again being used as a meeting point for extremists.
      The cultural association that runs the mosque has also been banned.

      A German intelligence report last year said radical Muslims had travelled to military training camps in Uzbekistan after associating at the mosque.

      August 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  10. L-dG

    I join with Sarah "the Lipstick Bulldog" Palin in the refudiation of this heart-stabbing throughout the heartland.

    To mangle some Mark Twain: after reading about this frankly stupid story for WEEKS, I dislike the mosque proponents, I am indifferent to their opposition, and wish that they (and a large number of journalists) would all get drowned together.

    Seriously, people, if there's another news item printed or broadcast on this issue, the terrorists have won.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  11. Wink

    The position of 2 politicians, even of different parties, who happen to be LDS, does not indicate the official position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church tends to avoid taking political positions. As an American citizen, I support the building of the mosque. I do so, in large part, because of my religious beliefs, which teaches that: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (Articles of Faith #11) I trust that many Mormons would agree with me, and many others would not. Some would probably suggest that, while building the mosque so near ground zero is and should be legal, it is unwise.

    I also support the rights of all people to express their own beliefs and opinions as long as those opinions do not seriously endanger the rights and safety of others. The difficult areas are where multiple rights must we wisely balanced against each other.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • IKanThink

      Since when? LDS was the primary financier of Prop 8 in California;I guess that is one of the "difficult areas" when tphe Church decides to politics and seek to deprive citizens of civil rights. Pretty political; LDS is a serious money machine, and I think any church which overtly seeks such political influence should pay property taxes to the government.

      August 21, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
    • Tiffany

      My sentiments exactly. The Muslim community have every right to build a mosque where they want. That doesn't mean that I don't think it's a little unwise to build it so close to Ground Zero. However, I've already stood up to family members who have expressed hateful views about all of Islam in response to this issue. I won't sit back quietly while other persecute an entire religion, but it doesn't mean that I have to think that the Muslim community are making the wisest decision, either. And that's how I see Mitt Romney's & Harry Reid's stances when I hear their take on the issue. They may not agree with it, but they are not persecuting Islam for saying so.

      August 26, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  12. riverrunner

    Its time we stop discriminating and oppose all mosques, temples, synagogues and churches no matter where they plan to build them.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  13. Christopher Logan

    Muslims are on a worldwide Sharia push, and non-Muslims have every right to fight back. I wonder which part of Sharia the author likes best...

    For more on the issue....

    http://loganswarning.com/

    August 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  14. Hemidakota

    At least get your fact rights concerning the atrocities of September 11, 1857. Did you spend any mount of time in researching out the Meadow Massacre or like most poor excuse journalist, just went to the Goggle god to determine what would fit this insult. They may have a job for you at the “New York Times”; newspaper company with no creditability.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  15. steve jaubert

    I hope CNN is so welcoming of muslims and so liberal in pleasing all sides (its good for ratings) should the muslim terror tactics become infiltrated into New York and the rest of the U.S. In my opinion what makes the muslim issue in this country so fragile and ready to explode (pun intended) is the connection with the terrorist faction by their religion of islam. There's no or very few christian terrorists nor jewish nor mormon nor whatever other religion involved in terrorism at least to such a degree. Its mostly muslim terrorists that profess their radical doctrine of extermination of all other religions and not a 'live and let live' policy we in the United States try to enforce by law. That is a huge reason for caution in accepting the muslim claims of peace in this country before we get so far along in welcoming a situation that can't recover except possibly by martial law or some other harsh methods. There's too many silent muslims in my opinion who ought not to be and owe it to other americans to speak out because of implied connections to sympathizing with radicals at least by public belief. If the silent muslims were more vocal and convincing to other americans then maybe they would be more acceptable. In this country we profess religious freedom but it is walking a tightrope to welcome other religions that may threaten our beliefs and those that have connections with such threat by associaitons no matter how tenuous. If the peaceful are so peaceful then let the rest of us share your peaceful intentions because we have genuine and fair concerns! Christianity and jewish and other faiths here in the u.s. may all say they are the 'one way' but they don't have factions going around trying to extreminate the whole of other faiths! steve jaubert

    August 20, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • Luke

      steve jaubert – Accept when they are part of the IRA. Or bomb abortion clincis. Or murder doctors at church. Or justify the inquisitions. Or embarck on the Crusades. Or use religion to invade a soverign nation. Or inject laws into US society. Or use religion to persecute minorities.

      August 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
    • Jed Merrill

      Frankly, I have seen more Mormon terrorist than Muslim. Mormons are awful abusers, and they tell lots of lies.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:41 am |
    • OhioGal

      Christian Serbs also massacred numerous muslims in Bosnia. Violence comes from all types of people and can be directed at anyone.

      August 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • NeverForget

      Some people have selective memory I guess... Maybe try looking up the following: the St, Bartholomew's Day Massacre, Ku Klux Klan, Srebrenica Massacre and oh, I don't know, the Crusades?

      August 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • Mike H.

      Also, look at the wars during & after the Reformation. Look at what happened to the Huguenots.

      August 25, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • jr

      These comments have brought to mind the actions of the Amish school shooting a few years ago, and how the community's response got the attention of the entire country and beyond.

      As a Mormon myself, I've seen the damage that can be done by Mormon individuals or groups of Mormons who insist that their personal feelings are more important than the doctrine of the church in which they are members. Clearly the Muslim faith has been attacked by rebellious Muslim individuals as well, as has the Catholic Church, and many other faiths.

      However, to "punish" the vast majority of members who day in, day out are peacefully and determinedly living their faith because of the actions of the radical few is truly handing the terrorists/rebels/fundamentalists their "win". We're basically saying that the lunatic fringe are the "real" Muslims/Mormons/fill-in-the-blank – and they become the acknowledged leaders of that religion in the eyes of the world.

      Frankly, I know many Muslims – and they have ALL been respectful, peaceful, kind people – as well as being funny, outgoing, social, NORMAL PEOPLE! I don't look at them as prophets, nor do I look at them as terrorists. They are my coworkers, associates, and friends.

      It would be great if the world could give the lunatic fringe its due – scorn and our backs, and work with the faithful majority of all faiths, rather than become so consumed with fear over the actions of a few that we begin to believe that everyone is "out to get us".

      August 25, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • TK

      Ya. Mormons blow themselves up evey day! It's EXACTLY the same!

      August 25, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  16. Gerrit

    The LDS church may never try to build a temple at Mountain Meadows. It's a potential insult to the families who had loved ones who died there. That doesn't stop the church from building temples elsewhere, however.

    The same could be said of the Twin Towers. Surely there are other places where the mosque could be built without the political/emotional fallout.

    Incidentally, both tragedies happened on Sept. 11.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • Jed Merrill

      Matt at Mountain Meadows, Mormon's tore down the Cross marking the victims mass grave. And Mormon"s only allow a bunch of rocks to be a memorial to the MMM victims, while building a gleaming statue of John D. Lee in Ceder City. AND Mormons own the land around at Mountain Meadows and will not let the land go federal. What doesn't belong in the WWC area is a Mormon Temple. Mormon Church leadership need to start fessing up.

      August 20, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • greg

      Yeah, so I'm one of the mormons that helped build the new grave marker. I can tell you the pile of rocks looks a lot better if you actually look at the pictures of it. We added paths to it where there was nothing before. We created a lasting monument that will always be looked after so that it can serve as a tool for us to remember those who died, and remind us of poor choices of those involved in this atrocity.

      August 20, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • Lexi

      Agreed. It isn't about religious persecution.

      August 20, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • David

      Jed,

      I've been to the Mountain Meadows site, and can say that the environment created by the memorial there is very appropriate. The site that the LDS church has created really brings home the depth of the tragedy.

      August 20, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
    • Jed Merrill

      Greg, you paint a nice picture – however, it is a better source to read about the issue at Frank Kirkman's Mountain Meadows Massacre. Like I said you paint a nice picture Greg, but not quite true.

      http://1857massacre.com/

      August 20, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
    • greg

      Jed, not really sure how my personal experience isn't true. I'm described the grave marker that I helped build. Also, I looked at the site you pointed out, and it is incredibly biased and contains almost no sources to back up its claims. I was following a bunch of the links to look at his sources and they either had nothing to do with what he was saying, didn't work, or proved the exact opposite.

      Now, haven been involved in the construction of the grave marker, I actually did quite a bit of research on the mountain meadow massacre. From both LDS scholars and other scholary works. I can tell you that mormons were most definitely involved in his atrocity. It is a shameful act and one of the darker ones in LDS history, but the link to Brigham Young is just conspiracy nonsense. Also, it happened over a century ago, everybody involved in it have passed away long ago. Who are you trying to condemn by bringing it up? Everybody involved is dead?

      August 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • Mel

      Gerit, we Mormons did build a monument at Mountain Meadows. Specifically, we tore down what was there, and have erected several momuments to our glory at the very location or local church leaders led the party that killed 80 unarmed women and children and 40 unarmed men. Our prophet at the time said about the victims that the Lord said vengence was his, and he had taken some.

      You might want to read your own church history. Start with the book funded by the church on the very topic at hand.

      MMM is a black mark on our Mormon heritage.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
    • Carrick O'Rourke

      Mel, your ignorance regarding the Mountain Meadows Massacre monuments would be laughable if it were not so offensive. Your statment reflects not only a profound ignorance regarding the efforts of the LDS Church, descendants of the perpetrators and descendants of the victims to work together to build a fitting rememberence of the innocent lives taken there, but your comments also reflect a bitter bias that only hurts and does not build up. What a shame.

      August 24, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  17. Freedom and Good Sense

    This is a perfect example of where freedom and good sense must be used together. I am a Mormon and strongly beleive that the Muslims should not be prohibited from building their mosque whereever it is legal to do so. On the other hand, the Muslims behind this project should be sensitive to the situation and have the good sense not to "force" the exercise of that right in this controversial location.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • Luke

      Hi – I work in the World Trade Center, building 3, One Liberty Plaza. There's a strip club 1 block away. I thought this was Hallowed Ground? Methinks it's something else that is irking the right.

      August 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • I_M_Fletch

      Uh Larry... Senator Reid, a Mormon, and a Democrat – which would be the left... There are also many other Democrats against the location of the mosque...

      August 20, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
    • I_M_Fletch

      Uh Luke... Senator Reid, a Mormon, and a Democrat – which would be the left... There are also many other Democrats against the location of the mosque...

      August 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Luke

      Yeah, but it is a Christian strip club.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  18. alan

    This isn't about religious freedom or tolerance. It's not even close. Often, Mormons will change, modify or even move a planned chapel or temple if it meets real and legitimate opposition. The mosque is about memorializing a deed, it's not about the freedom to worship.

    August 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • Mel

      Mormons will scream to high heaven if one of our temples are not allowed. We claim all sorts of bias. The two most hated religions in America are Mormons and Islam.

      We Mormons beleived we were abused historically. Like most people who are abused, we turn to abuse when we find someong on the totem pole who is lower than we are.

      Simply, Mormons ( like many people ) are biased. Romney and Reid are ( to not surprise ) lowering themselves for votes.

      Republican leaders are showing total lack of leadership in not being the bigger person, and not correcting their followers who are using race and hate.

      August 21, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • Loretta

      Alan-–This was said the best it could possibly be stated! Dead on. Thanks.

      August 23, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
    • jr

      Mel – really??? "Scream to high heaven if one of our temples are not allowed"???? Do you have any idea how many plans for Mormon temples have been scuttled? Case in point – for years the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had tried to build a temple in CT, to no avail, and ended up converting part of an existing meetinghouse in Manhattan into the Manhattan Temple. People are free to accuse the Mormons of many things, but screamers is a new one to me. As a member for the past 15 years, the only Mormons I've ever witnessed screaming for anything were those few who were angered that the Church didn't alter its stance on gay marriage now that it's become acceptable in the U.S. and beyond.

      And no, lumping yourself in as a Mormon yourself with "we Mormons" doesn't add any credibility to your claims; if anything, you should be in a far better position to know that the casting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as screamers is laughable, at best.

      August 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • Alicia Garcia

      "The mosque is about memorializing a deed..."

      How on earth could you know that? And if it is NOT about memorializing a deed, then would it be OK with you?

      August 30, 2010 at 6:21 am |
  19. bill

    This would be an interesting observation if in fact this was an issue regarding religious liberty. It is not. Romney and Reid would be happy to support the mosque somewhere else, What's wrong with deferring to the wishes of the victim's families? Just because you have a right to build a mosque doesn't mean it's right to build it at this place.

    August 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • dclawyer

      Not all victims' families are against building the mosque. And some victims were Muslims.

      August 20, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
    • chris

      yep. Not a problem at all, until you want to build something of your own on private property. At least they don't have a homeowners' association with which to contend.

      August 21, 2010 at 2:56 am |
    • Dixie Henrie

      My sentiments exactly. Thank you.

      August 21, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • TK

      The author of this article doesn't get it. There are actually MUSLIMS who are against this mosque. What does he have to say about that???

      August 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • jrinker182

      I think you pretty much nailed it. For instance, I could go kill a man and some how get away with it. Then I could lawfully move to the same block as his family... but it doesnt make it ok or "right".... And any one with a sense of morality would side with that family over me. Regardless of religion or race...

      August 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • Joe Mormon

      Because being a victim doesn't validate abuse. I hold victims of atrocities to the same standards of tolerance, open mindedness, and forgiveness that I hold everyone else. Anything less is abuse.

      If we actually believed in these principles as Americans, we would have GIVEN local Muslim leaders a Mosque AT ground zero years ago. But we'd rather continue the cycle of hate.

      Why can't the American people be the bigger person here?

      Also, I'm mormon.

      August 27, 2010 at 11:47 am |
    • Alicia Garcia

      TK wrote
      "The author of this article doesn't get it. There are actually MUSLIMS who are against this mosque. What does he have to say about that???"

      TK, that only proves the obvious – that Muslims are people JUST LIKE YOU AND ME who each have their own opinions based on their own life experiences. That's exactly why building a mosque there is should not be offensive – those that are building it are NOT THE SAME PEOPLE that blew up the towers. I see it as a gesture of peace to try to educate people about a major belief system in the world that teaches its adherents brotherhood and peace (as do all other major religions). As believers, we often fall short of our religious ideals, but that's on us. Are you listening, Mr. Romney?

      And yes, I'm a Mormon. 🙂

      August 30, 2010 at 6:18 am |
  20. Luke

    Stephen – don't think too hard. Sometimes it's exactly the reason you think it is. It is popular to be hatin on some muzlins and it's election year. Don't sugar coat it, sir.

    August 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • Common Misconception

      Very true, unfortunately. Pandering on fear is the best way to get elected, and unfortunately right now that fear is the Islamophobia sweeping the nation.

      August 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • Carrick O'Rourke

      Okay, okay, I promise not to hate cotton fabric anymore...

      August 24, 2010 at 7:56 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.