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January 24th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Opponent of NYC Islamic center becomes advocate for mosques nationwide

An artist's rendering of a proposed mosque in Temecula, California that has met local opposition but is supported by the Anti-Defamation League.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

When the Anti-Defamation League - a leading Jewish group devoted to fighting anti-Semitism and "all forms of bigotry" - came out against the construction of an Islamic center and mosque near New York's ground zero last year, some critics alleged that the organization had lost its way.

"I would have expected the ADL to support the building of this Muslim community center," wrote Alan Dershowitz, an influential legal and Jewish voice. "...At the very least I would have expected it to remain silent and not to lend its powerful and distinguished voice to an opposition that includes many bigots."

Stephen Prothero, a prominent religion professor and CNN Belief Blog contributor, said the ADL's opposition to the Lower Manhattan Islamic center showed that the group and its leader, Abraham L. Foxman, "no longer occupy a moral high ground."

CNN host and Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria returned an award and honorarium he'd received a few years earlier from the ADL, saying he hoped the move would "spur them to... return to their historic, robust defense of freedom of religion in America."

But several months after the controversy over the New York Islamic center has died down, the Anti-Defamation League has quietly emerged as a leading advocate for mosque construction projects that have run into local opposition across the country.

Last week, the group wrote a letter to the mayor and city council of Temecula, California, urging officials there to approve the construction of a 25,000-square-foot mosque project ahead of a vote on the matter this Tuesday.

The letter cites opponents who alleged the proposed mosque would be "a refuge for terrorists," and a nearby pastor who reportedly said that Islam and Christianity are like "oil and water" and that Islam is "intolerant at its core."

"We understand that such comments echo the fears and/or slurs that some Americans express toward Islam, but we urge you not to give in to them," the Anti-Defamation League's letter to officials in the Southern California city said.

"In the words of Abraham Lincoln," the letter continued, "we would appeal to the better angels of our nature and ask you to instead honor the great American tradition of freedom of religion for all and of showing respect for all religions."

The letter was backed by members of the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, a group launched by the Anti-Defamation League last September, at the height of opposition to the Lower Manhattan Islamic center, to fight for mosque construction rights.

The coalition includes some of the naton's top religious leaders.

"When we had the debate on the ground zero mosque, it focused attention on mosques in this country and the fact that mosques were having problems getting permission to build," Foxman said, explaining the genesis of the coalition and of the ADL's mosque advocacy.

"Whereas the issue with the mosque in New York was more philosophical, more about sensitivities, a lot of these mosques had the legal right to build," he said. "And someone (at the ADL) said this was a legal right that needs protecting."

For nearly four months now, the Anti-Defamation League has directed its 30 regional offices to monitor mosque construction battles, while the group's New York headquarters has convened calls and sent e-mail updates on various mosque construction projects to members of the interfaith mosque coalition.

Coalition members are a mix of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Rev. Joel Hunter, an influential evangelical voice, and Eboo Patel, a Muslim youth leader - both of whom have advised the Obama White House - have both joined the group.

The coalition's first project was advocating for a proposed 52,000-square-foot Islamic center and mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, that was facing local opposition last fall.

Equipment at the mosque's construction site had been torched, triggering an arson investigation, and a plywood sign announcing the coming center was spray-painted "Not welcome."

When opponents filed a lawsuit to block the project from moving forward last September, the Anti-Defamation League filed a legal brief on behalf of the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, arguing the suit sought to "deny the mosque's sponsors their religious freedom to worship freely."

The U.S. Justice Department also filed a brief for the mosque, and in November a judge refused to issue an order to halt construction of the Islamic center.

Though much of the opposition to the mosques in Murfreesboro and Temecula alleges that the projects violate local zoning laws because of expected traffic or noise, the ADL says such complaints can be smokescreens for anti-Islamic bigotry.

"If a community is expressing hatred, the burden is on them to show that there are compelling issues" that should prevent the projects, said Deborah Lauter, the ADL's civil rights director, who is active on the group's coalition on mosque construction.

For the mosque construction projections is has supported so far, the ADL's legal arguments revolve around the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a 1990 law requiring government to show a compelling interest if it imposes land use regulations on houses of worship.

The advocacy has not been without controversy. On Friday, one of Interfaith Coalition on Mosques' highest-profile members, Southern Baptist Convention public policy chief Richard Land, announced that he was leaving the group.

“While many Southern Baptists share my deep commitment to religious freedom and the right of Muslims to have places of worship, they also feel that a Southern Baptist denominational leader filing suit to allow individual mosques to be built is ‘a bridge too far,’” Land wrote in a letter to the ADL explaining the move.

Foxman, for his part, acknowledges that the ADL's advocacy for mosque construction projects could give the impression that the group is paying penance for its opposition to the New York Islamic center.

"Some people say so, and they're entitled to," he says.

But Foxman says the ADL's opposition to the Islamic center near ground zero still stands.

While recognizing that the New York project's organizers have a legal right to build, the ADL says it opposes the site for the project because it is insensitive to the survivors and victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks and their families and friends.

"Proponents of the Islamic center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam," the ADL said in announcing its position on the proposed New York Islamic center last summer. "But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right."

"In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain - unnecessarily - and that is not right," the statement continued.

Some prominent Muslims who the ADL later asked to join its Interfaith Coalition on Mosques declined the invitation, citing the group's stance on the New York Islamic center.

But Patel, one of three Muslims on Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, says he's been impressed by the time and energy the ADL is putting into investigating mosque construction projects.

"They are fulfilling the promise of organization,"says Patel says, who has taken criticism from some Muslims for joining the effort.

"Just because I disagreed with them on Cordoba House," Patel continued, using one of the names for the proposed Lower Manhattan Islamic center, "doesn't mean I can't work with them in another area."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Judaism • Mosque

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soundoff (422 Responses)
  1. ART

    Its one of the simple rules, do onto others as you would have them do onto you

    January 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  2. Katie

    In this country we tend to hide behind our Christian religion to promote hatred and bigotry by spreading lies and using fear as a weapon. We will reap what we sow unless true Christians return to their teachings and promote tolerance and forgiveness. Let them build.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Fakie

      Christ was not tolerant of the Tax Collectors was he?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • CW

      Except that one of his apostles was a tax collector...

      January 25, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  3. rivirivi

    Better Torah, better Quram, better book of Mormons, better story here as it goes (even better than the one above); It goes like this: Every molecule is a miracle of a creative force. This creative force is limitless, therefore everyone and everything exist within this limitless creative force and everyone and everything truly belongs within because there is no out for the limitlessness of it all. Humans, because of their addiction to drama, suffering and conflict must realize they are all swimming in a limitless soup of energy and all are worthy of this, all humans must work to get rid of their addiction to drama, suffering and conflict and love and respect each other and help each other achieve happiness and live in peace." End of the new Torah, Bible, Quoram, Baaghavad Guita, Book of Mormons, etc. Good luck humans!

    January 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  4. HeavenSent

    I find it amazing how non-believers pick and choose scriptures they find deplorable, post them on this venue, yet do not comprehend Jesus' truth as written ....showing man who refuses to learn and abide in wisdom the error of his evil ways.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I find it deplorable when believers pick and choose passages in the bible to condemn their fellow citizens and attempt to withhold certain civil rights from them.
      Not saying you do this ( I do not know offhand ). However, many conservative religious people do this and it invites equal treatment.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  5. rivirivi

    The day that Islam advocates all freedom for all women I will have no problem with more Mosques, in the meantime, because this belief/Creed/Religion as it is now (and has been over thousands of years under the world's noses) women are still not allowed to vote, women are not doctors, they do not study to become lawyers, owners of companies, presidents of countries. Millions of women are mutilated when they reach puberty, many little girls have lost their faces and eyes on their way to school just because they are trying to learn how to read and write, the minimal education, yet they are still punished. Women are still a suffering human kind and all of it under the shelter of Islam. Until this main problem is not eradicated and all human women are really free, this religion is not a good thing for humanity – and that is a true fact.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Lou

      Do you feel the same way about the Catholic Church not allowing female Priests?

      January 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • rivirivi

      Of course, this is true in every so called creed/religion/belief- but Islam not only does not allow women as Imans they are also abused, beaten, stoned, burned, acid thrown in their little faces, killed, mutilated and kept down, not allowed to vote, not allowed to have a life, not allowed to become a teacher, a lawyer, a judge, not even a plumber! There is no comparison – but even though- any and I repeat ANY creed/religion/belief who keeps human women down, ignorant, and frozen is no good for humanity for the simple reason that what is bad for the human women is bad for the whole of humanity. All the verbiage about freedoms and you forget the simplest of freedoms: BEING – and millions of human women do not have this!

      January 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • lynda

      rivirivi..
      I think you have a serious problem... ignorance.. May be you should try get out of your 2cubic feet box and travel around the world.. go east for a change and you will find doctors lawyers engineers CEOs all women and all proud Muslim.... For God's sake where did you guys grow up! Why not go and talk to a Muslim women if you are so lazy or cant afford a ticket.

      January 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  6. Carl

    You are nuts. Don't try to use the United Synagogue to support your goofy assertions. Etz Hayim says nothing of the sort about Abraham, Moses or David. It has been around for a decade and maintains the mainstream Jewish perspective.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  7. Sam

    "The dumb Jews allowed the filthy Muslims to build over their Temple of Solomon in Israel. Now the dumb Jews are allowing the filthy Muslims to build over in America. Jews are wimps. Muslims are bullies."

    But, I'm guessing that you totally support Israel, even though you hate "dumb jews". The "dumb Jews" secretly rule the world, right? Of course, the dumb Christians "want" al this to happen, because they can't wait for the "end times'.

    Christian idiots calling other religious idiots. Typical. Baptists think Catholics are dumb. Catholics think everyone else is dumb. Is it ok with God and Jesus if I drive a car and watch Television? Depends on which dumb christians you ask. Can I take my child to the doctor if he has appendicitis? Depends on which "dumb" Christian you ask. Is dancing a sin? Depends on which "dumb' Christian you ask.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      Sam, followers of any religion who exert their power with nonprofit money and political power are dumb.
      MarkinFL, the references that need to be seen are the money trails.

      January 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I'm asking for the references that show the money trails of "9 out of 10 mosques".
      Where do you get that statistic?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      Sam, I made the point. It is up to YOU to disprove ME.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, I made the point. It is up to you to disprove me.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I made a point too, please prove your god is not a green unicorn.

      The only way to disprove you is to do the research that you did not do. The burden of proof ALWAYS falls on the person making the claim. When your claim is ridiculous there is no need to waste time disproving it.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, pay attention to wisdom. Mosque inception money trails need to be analyzed before they are built. And here you are talking about unicorns. You are making the point that I can write anything and you can write anything, but it is the wisdom in my writing that causes you to think and explore, not the opposite.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Thought so.
      No data to support your supposition.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, you can start with this article: http://www.jfednepa.org/mark%20silverberg/wahhabi.html
      Give me your email address so I can send you more (I cannot put all of my research on this opinion board).

      January 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  8. MoneyTrail

    There must be a new law enacted immediately. The law would address the money trail. Follow where the money for the mosques is coming from. 9 times out of 10, the money comes from killer Islamists. You don't see money trails from killers to Christian churches or Jewish temples now do you???

    January 24, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      The source of your data please? Can I see the references?

      January 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      Disprove me MarkinFL!!!

      January 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Wow, such a powerful argument.

      Your god is a unicorn! and green!

      Disprove me!

      January 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      MarkinFL,

      Did you just admit there is a God? Other than the color scheme and Unicorn likeness, Congrats!

      January 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Bill

      FOX News tried linking the Park51 at Cordoba House funding to a Saudi terrorist ... until they realized that the guy they were talking about was the 2nd biggest shareholder in FOX behind Rupert Murdoch.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, Im still waiting for you to disprove me. Where are your statistics disproving me?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Hey, if one snarky comment equals faith, then print my name in the book of life!

      Apparently, sarcastic comments indicate belief in supernatural beings!

      Let the fairy parade begin.... 😉

      January 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I'm still waiting for you to disprove me?
      What? You don't feel a need to disprove BS?
      Join the club.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      The first line was a statement, not a question.

      It is of course ridiculous to make up statistics and then ask someone else to disprove them. Your data were completely made up and everyone here knows it.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, your smarmy remarks hold no truth. It is fear of the unknown that drives you. 90% of mosques are funded by Islamic terrorists. I've done the research. The known is presented to the unknown(that means you) 🙂

      January 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      If you've done the research, you must have sources for the data. Care to elaborate?
      Thought not.
      What will be your next evasive answer? We await.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, again, I made the statement. If you do not agree with my point, then you should be able to provide statistics showing this is not true. If you are going on record here to argue my point then back it up with your statistics.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, you can start with this article: http://www.jfednepa.org/mark%20silverberg/wahhabi.html
      Give me your email address so I can send you more (I cannot put all of my research on this comment board).

      January 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • John

      Yes we do see money going from lobbiest and even govt of United States to Israel to kill innocent women and children living in the palestanian land.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      John, you are not showing a specific money trail from killers to Christian churches or Jewish temples. You are just saying money is going from lobbyists to Israel.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  9. PHIL

    Rececca is just a troll. No person with a lick of common sense would write that ignorant nonsense and actually mean it.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  10. Big Bob

    Don't let the camel's nose under the tent!

    January 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  11. GreedyMosques

    Religion is idealistic, but also a cash cow. Religion uses churches/mosques/temples to procure donations from sheepish personalities. Most religions teach modesty. Most mosques being built are not modest in nature; they are colossal in size. One may say, "The size of the mosque is to accomodate more people". This is not true. The truth is that the mosque infiltration is to show the might and power of the religion, country, or creed over other religions. Be modest, study your religion in your own home. If the mosques were small developments they would not receive large nonprofit monies nor would they receive large local political support. Mosques represent excessiveness, greed, and superiority, everything opposite to a humble religion.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      greedymosques,
      Its amazing just how much christians and muslims have in common.

      January 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Reality

      More on religion being a "cash cow":

      There are always economics built into one's beliefs. For example, is Susan Jacoby an atheist because there is money to be made from books, speeches and columns on the subject? Unless she and others in the business of making good income from books, etc. on religion, secularism, or atheism take a vow of poverty, we will never know.

      Some examples of salaries of "religious leaders": from guidestar.org

      Rev. Franklin Graham $800,000+/yr.
      Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield $331,708/yr
      Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, $200,000/yr
      Erica Brown $134,221/yr
      Eboo Patel $120,000/yr.
      Dr. Herb Silverman $100,000/yr. ?
      Imam Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, $400,000/yr
      Susan Jacoby ????

      January 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Reality,

      Your Susan Jacoby get s NO pass here! What makes you you she is above perverting her belief system of no believe for a dollar? Why the attempt at a pass for her? Why the disclaimer? I will submit to you yes, there is greed in SOME believers? At the same time I ill submit to you there is greed in SOME non-believers as well and Jacoby get no pass either! !

      January 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Reality

      Steve, Steve, Steve,

      if you read the comments a little closer, Susan J does not get a free pass . Her income is unknown but probably substantial. ??? marks were added since the exact figure is not known.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Reality,

      OK then we have some agreement. Just that when you write about Christians it is automatical all about the money (in some cases you are more than correct an dfar from it in others). Yet concerning Jacoby, its "we will never know". That is what I meant about a pass. You gave her some wiggle room! You expressed some doubt , some uncertainity!

      January 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  12. Reality

    Is Eboo Patel working for a better world or working to pad his income?

    See some added information below:

    Eboo Patel pays himself well ($120,000/yr) from his Interfaith Youth Core "non-profit" group's receipts (donations etc.) which, based on the group's IRS Form 990, appears to be more of a stock holding company ($2,335,960 portfolio in 2008- guidestar.org) for Mr. Patel than it is a non-profit. Non-profits do not pay taxes on dividends, interest or capital gains.

    And did Eboo Patel's Interfaith Youth Core work for Obama's election campaign as we see Eboo is not only on the recent Chicago Council of Global Affairs' task force but also on Obama's Faith advisory council?

    And Did a Faith Initiative grant from the State Department help defray the cost of CCOGA's report and Mr. Patel's task force pay?

    January 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  13. Reality

    Is Eboo Patel is working for a better world or working to pad his income?

    See some added information below:

    Eboo Patel pays himself well ($120,000/yr) from his Interfaith Youth Core "non-profit" group's receipts (donations etc.) which, based on the group's IRS Form 990, appears to be more of a stock holding company ($2,335,960 portfolio in 2008- guidestar.org) for Mr. Patel than it is a non-profit. Non-profits do not pay taxes on dividends, interest or capital gains.

    And did Eboo Patel's Interfaith Youth Core work for Obama's election campaign as we see Eboo is not only on the recent Chicago Council of Global Affairs' task force but also on Obama's Faith advisory council?

    And Did a Faith Initiative grant from the State Department help defray the cost of CCOGA's report and Mr. Patel's task force pay?

    January 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • JustSoYaKnow

      How people make their income doesn't automaticaly implicate them as bad people. I question the source that came up with this for you, but I think there's a higher debate over whether successful people should be automatically branded in a negative, manipulative light.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Reality

      Start with http://www.guidestar.org.

      January 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  14. HeavenSent

    Reality, still babbling as usual.

    Glad to read that your fingers are still nimble as they allow you to search all the non-believers sites on the Web to make a point. A mute point, but a point, just the same. One would think your mind would be used for productive thought instead of all this mush?

    To each their own.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians like HeavenSent:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      "Heaven is a Spirit state" as per JPII and Aquinas i.e. there can be no bodies. i.e. there was and never will be any physical resurrection/ascension of human bodies."

      And is it not ironical that JPII along with Aquinas are the ones who put meaning to the words "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless."

      January 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Reality, Why are you quoting JPII and Aquinas? I thought your personal mission was to disprove all religious folk! Smells a little hypocritcal to me!

      January 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • civiloutside

      The phrase is "moot point," not "mute point." Just for future reference.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Steve

      I am sure you mean 'moot point', although it may be good if you were 'mute' on some topics.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  15. Reality

    All followers of religion to include the Christian Richard Land and Muslim Eboo Patel are actually "Mythians" considering the mythical foundations of the major religions i.e. there was no Abraham, no Moses, no Noah, no Easter, no virgin birth and no Gabriel and therefore no angelic revelations to Mary or Mohammed.

    January 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • tpsnow

      Except for Buddhists. Buddhism is not a theistic religion. You really don't have to believe anything to practice it.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Dan

      tpsnow...There is a theisitic element in the practice of Buddhism in many spheres. As to revelation, read up on the Flower Sermon and Buddha's alleged transmission of unspeakable thought to Maha Kapsia (it was a con, IMHO).

      January 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Rebecca

    Sept 11, 2001 our nation was attacked by Crazy Islamists, now here we are embracing them and allowing them to build mosques all over this country. It makes no sense... they are our enemies and they want to take over the world. My heart aches for those who do not believe in God. His word says he has put the knowledge of him in our hearts. He knows the numbers of hairs on our heads. But if you were not taught, no wonder you have become humanists, athiests.. You still have time to call on him but not alot of time left.

    January 24, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Rebecca,
      "...allowing them to build mosques ..."
      Do you disagree with the first amendment to the US consti.tution?

      January 24, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • claybigsby

      Rebecca....you are a filthy biggot. Not all Muslims are extremists. Just like not all Christians are extremists (Timothy McVeigh). Your religious views are narrowing your mind and keeping you from rational thought.

      "But if you were not taught, no wonder you have become humanists, athiests.."

      actually, I have studied the bible, which was written by 30+ fallible men over 1500+ years. The fact that they are "inspired by god" is meaningless considering they (the authors) said they were "inspired by god". Since when can we believe anything man says? After studying the bible, I came to the conclusion that many of the "teachings" are nothing more than mindless dribble based on fear used to control the masses. There are many passages that never made it into the bible because men thought they were too outrageous.

      This is not to say that there is or isnt a god. I dont know and neither do you, and to say that you know, for a fact, that your god is the correct god and relgion, is very self centered and egotistical, not to mention completely wrong.

      What it comes down to is this: were you indoctrinated as a kid or not?... if you were (which you probably were) then you have no freedom to choose for yourself. If you were not, then you have the freedom to choose. Why do you think kids are indoctrinated at such an early age? If those kids were able to choose for themselves without their parents influence, the church would die. Maybe this country needs a law that protects children under the age of 18 from being indoctrinated...AKA brainwashed.

      January 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      Did you ever notice that the right-wing people are always the ones with the self-aggrandizing egotistical user names, like "Heaven Sent" or "Truth Seeker" or "Common Sense"?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • tpsnow

      Unfortunately you delude yourself into thinking that you "have knowledge of God in your heart". If you did you would allow peace loving Muslims to build their Mosques. You would also love those you consider to be your enemies.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • TRUTH

      Here is the truth Rebecca, the idea that the U.S. is a Christian nation is a myth! To be Christian is to be Christ-like, and at no time in our nation's history has this country as a whole acted "Christ-like".

      January 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • sassypants

      Rebecca, I agree. Anyone who is not a child of God is a child of Satan and they are open to doing evil. I would equate it to opening the door to your home and asking Satan to come on in and eat. Jesus is the way the truth and the life – no one comes to the Father but through Him. Anyone who thinks you are a bigot is a bigot to their own belief that their is no God. There you go – and my name is sassypants not heavensent or chosen as it should be.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • vimy17

      Rebecca

      Muslims are not your enemy. It's that kind of rationalization, in the name of god, that has led to the torture, murder, and persecution of people of faiths over the centuries. As a person of god, I thought you would be the first to understand the teachings of love and tolerance.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Lou

      "He knows the numbers of hairs on our heads." No she doesn't!

      January 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Ray

      Oh god. Another nut job who thinks that all Muslims are planning to take over the world. Hell, im a christian and I'm disgusted by your racist fork tongue. Hell, I bet you've never even read the bible. If you did you would know that Jesus had said to love thy enemy. You're dis obeying Jesus and making me revolted.

      January 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Booboo

      Well said Rebecca

      January 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Smashicus

      @claybigsby, listen d!psh!t, McVeigh was an atheist, much like your punkaz. Muslim nutjobs killed 3000 people and continue to murder around the world. If you want to get down on your knees then feel free sucker, but us "bigots" don't have to put up with your crap.

      January 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • YouGottaBe...

      Rebecca the answer to your twisted logic is right in your own writing. "Crazy Islamists" yes crazy ones. The existence of the KKK does not mean that all white people are supremacists. The existence of one crazy pastor in Florida who wants to burn Korans does not mean that all Christians want to burn the Koran. So just because some crazy terrorists committed unspeakable atrocities on American soil, does not mean that we should fear all Muslims – but that's what the terrorists want you to do. They want you to hate ALL of Islam and fear them; marginalize them. And you are playing right into their hand with your "holier-than-thou" "HeavenSent" bs. I also believe that just because you are a Christian and a fearful bigot, not all Christians are, and I'm glad for it.

      February 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  17. HeavenSent

    My question to the non-believers is as follows: without reading, comprehending and abiding in Truth (wisdom), how does a non-believer put on breaks or have any break as to not trespass against another????

    1. Sometimes, depending on the situation and the individual(s) involved.
    2. Most times, also, depending on the situation and the individual(s) involved.
    3. Crap shoot, depending on how my big ego is at that time and place of the day.
    4. Never, I run roughshod on every one and any one, because it's all about me.

    January 24, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Nonimus

      @HeavenSent,
      My question to the believers is as follows: without reading, comprehending and abiding in [reality], how does a believer put on breaks or have any break as to not trespass against another????

      1. Sometimes, depending on the situation and the individual(s) involved.
      2. Most times, also, depending on the situation and the individual(s) involved.
      3. Crap shoot, depending on how my big [self-righteousness] is at that time and place of the day.
      4. Never, I run roughshod on every one and any one, because it's all about my [religion].

      January 24, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Reality

      Most of us learn from our parents'/family/teachers' examples and the education they impart to include that of human history and from our mistakes to formulate one rule: Do No Harm!!!

      Specific basic rules of being a good human can be found in the OT and NT but such rules were borrowed/plagiarized from the likes of Hammurabi and the Egyptians' Book of the Dead.

      January 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      HeavenSent obviously fails to understand the social benefits of social conduct rules. If he understood those benefits, then he would understand that you don't need God to have social rules.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • standingwave

      Not exactly sure what your definition of "breaks" is but as a non-believer my rules are simple enough. What's best for society as a whole? My answer is things like honesty,cooperation,mutual assistance (because we're only as strong as our weakest).I want a society where as many as possible are as happy and fulfilled as possible. I don't need the Bible or any other belief to tell me that.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Dave

      Without reading Truth (wisdom)? what does that even mean? Since when does truth equal wisdom? I suppose you feel that you have said wisdom. A shame it didn't provide you with the answer to your question. A question, by the way, that a believer must ask themself as well. Further, can you tell me whether your actions (in the context of your original question) are 'free will' or simply fear of your god??

      January 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • northside77

      Humanities general adherence to social conduct rules are a result of evolution.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Don

      As a logical person I see all religions as ridiculous. Believing in any religion is not a requirement in order to have purpose, ethics, or morals...I'm just sick and tired of so many adults actually believing in such. All the religions are in the same bag and none of them have anything to pull themselves oGods who hide and don't show themselves and refuse to cure amputees through prayer. Get a clue people.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • tpsnow

      By applying a daily practice of listening and responding to my deepest and truest nature.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • conoclast

      Simply by knowing in my heart what's right. It is presumptious of you to infer that only the religious can be moral; fact is, my morality would seem to come from a much deeper place than that of those who need religious prompting. We all have the capacity for love, and that's the bottom line.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Orchal

      *sigh*
      As rational humans, I would like to think we all have the ability to put ourselves in other peoples' shoes.

      Do I like to be yelled at, shot at, stolen from, lied to, mislead, or otherwise treated unequally?
      No.
      Therefore, I will not do this to others.

      This does not require reading/adhering to the bible. Nor does reading said text does not prevent 'adherents' from treating others poorly.
      Think before you do. Consider the consequences. It is not difficult. 🙂

      January 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Smashicus

      Most of our current laws are based on religious tenents. If it weren't for religion, immorality would be out of control. Atheists crack me up when they speak of morality as though they figured it all out on their own with absolutely no influence from religion.

      January 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  18. Mike

    Guess who also has a "legal right to build"? The ground zero mosque folk! As a secular Jew, I've lost enormous resect for the ADL over this. For once, Dershowitz and I actually completely agree!

    January 24, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • dxp2718

      You have a legal right to put up signs in your yard saying how much your neighbors suck. However, it's in poor taste.

      There's also the matter of it being actually dangerous. There's only so many times the Jewish "lambs" can invite the Muslim/Christian/Nazi/etc. "lions" over for dinner and get slaughtered as a result.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Susie

      If Muslims really supported peace they would never build a Mosque near ground zero, they know the familys oppose the Mosque to be build where their loves one were murdered by 19 Muslims, I lost respect for people who don't have respect for the familys of the 3000 Americans murdered on 9/11 Muslims want to build the mosque there as victory over none Muslims.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • vimy17

      It's not a mosque – it's a community centre. The prayer room only makes up a small part of the overall project. They were already praying there well before this project became such a public issue. I believe there actually is a mosque close by that was there prior to 9/11. Do they need to shut that down as well?

      9/11 was a tragedy. I hope I never have to go through what those families did. But the fact is, the men who caused 9/11 are dead and the man who planned it is in custody at Gitmo. Don't punish all Muslims for the criminal acts of a few radicals.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  19. YBP

    The very last thing this planet needs is another new House of Worship of any kind. In fact, we need to be shutting them all down, not building new ones. There are no gods. Never were. Put all these hucksters out of business once and for all. The survival of the human race depends on it.

    January 24, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Bob

      I was with you until you said "the survival of man depends on it". I highly doubt that.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Mike

      If what you are saying is true about God; then good for you; however, I believe differently, and just want you to know that I'm praying for you.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Steve

      Religion is the undoing of humankind, Bob and there will be no end to war until it is abolished. Pray for yourself if you're brainwashed into doing so Mike but don't insult me with your nonsense ritual.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Dan

      Typical. Your right to be free from religion necessitates shutting mine down. How hypocrtically intolerant of you.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • JohnR

      I say let them build. But let them also pay taxes.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Rob_in_MN

      Steve wrote: "Religion is the undoing of humankind, Bob and there will be no end to war until it is abolished."

      Abolishing religion will not end war. It is only an excuse that hateful and war minded people use. They will continue to find new excuses regardless.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      It is clear that Freedom is no longer of value to many people as so many believe it is acceptable to tear down churches because they personally do not want/need one. That you do not understand why people believe in god is no reason to deny them the right to do so. Churches offer a place to go to be with people of like values and beliefs. They provide a community of people who will be there for you in rough times. There are, yes, churches that are hate filled and hypocritical. Personally, I would abolish all fundamentalist groups AND I do not believe I have the right to dictate to them or ask the government to do it. I was raised in a right wing, bigoted Baptist church and, consequently, have no use for God, Jesus or the radical lunatics of any religion. They made an atheist of me and a person who believes in diversity even where it is in opposition to my own beliefs. My beliefs do not give me the right in a democracy to say who can worship what and where. I can argue from history and philosophy against religion and it is none of my business if others just simply believe as long as there are no victims.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Tyreal

      i wouldnt say religion is completely wrong. some people need it to fill a viod inside. to give them a reason for existing...along the same lines as facebook and my space. what it comes down to is thats fine as long as ur not ignorant as to believe one religion is superior. all religions are based on the same thing only percieved differently. but keep in mind religions are primitive peoples perception of reality and why things are the way they are. ther are no facts supporting that the events in the torah, bible, koran, etc ever realy took place. i think its important to realize this and understand that religion is a basis of a good lifestyle but not to be taken literaly. Anchient Aliens anyone? good show lol

      January 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  20. az in KS

    Not long ago, one of the ADL officials in CA was jailed for trying to bomb a congressman's office. That official just happens to be the one with Christian-Lebanese background. The this NY mosque bigotry by the ADL. What matters to me is that they jumped on the band wagon of the illiterates, without a moment's worth of thinking into what was at stake. Now they are "helping" Muslims build mosques all around America??? No thanks, there are plenty of good hearts in America that are tolerant and are helpful in keeping our nation free of bias and bigotry. ADL should just take care of the Jews.

    January 24, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Jeff B.

      Az in Ks – Please get your facts straight.
      It was not the ADL, but, rather, the JDL (Jewish Defense League). HUGE difference. The JDL started in the late 60's when merchants in the Fairfax District were harassed by antisemites. The JDL walked beats on Fairfax to protect them. THEN they became militant, and lost most of thier support and became a fringe group.
      As to your last statement, IF the ADL did as you suggest, you'd just criticize them for taking care of their own and not practicing what they preach by coming to the aid of ALL religions. (tool !)

      January 24, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Sweetenedtea

      Wait a minute...I thought it was the PFJ, the People's Front of Judea. Are you sure about your facts?

      January 24, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Keith

      Please get your facts straight, Sweetenedtea. It was the Judean People's Front.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Nothing bu a bunch of splitters!

      January 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Patriot

      Bias and bigotry, indeed. Is it possible that your defense of the islamic religion derives from your own bias viewpoint? Is it not possible that you are a bigot against the rights of those that suffered significant and tragic loss in the events on September 11th, 2001? Can you please find an un-bias third party to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, your innocence in my claims against you.

      Think before you type, moron. That goes ten-fold for some of you other liberals that so readily stand with people who project such a negative persona on anyone who refuses to embrace their religion as their own.

      January 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • sassypants

      Moderator – Do you moderate every comment every user makes or just mine even though there is nothing unfactual or disrespectful about them?

      January 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ sassypants

      In order to be posted, your comment must offer at least a modic-um of original thought. Most posts fail the moderation test.

      Kidding.... CNN uses an archaic word-abuse filter. "Consti-tution" will flag because of t-i-t. "Modic-um" for.. understand? Or look for Reality's occasional listing for guidance.

      January 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • sassypants

      Let us Prey – I did have some good posts yesterday and they deleted them. Too tired to post again!

      January 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
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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.