241 Comments

What Do You Think of a Mosque at Ground Zero?

I was driving to work this morning and saw a billboard titled “Remember 9/11” with an image of the collapsed World Trade Center.  In smaller print on the right, it said “”Stand up and be heard.  No mosque at ground zero.”  You can see the sign on a video at this website.

A few weeks ago on KSL, Carole Mikita interviewed a Muslim leader here in Utah.  She asked him what he thought of this idea to build a mosque near Ground Zero.  He said he thought it was a terrible idea.  He said they can build a mosque in many places, and thought it was quite insensitive for these Muslims to incite a controversy there.

As a Mormon, we have had plenty of problems with protests about churches or temples being built.  The Boston Temple was prohibited from building a steeple for quite some time because the steeple was considered too tall.  (It was eventually constructed, but the church was forced to reduce the size of the steeple.)  Many groups have protested the buildings of new temples for a variety of reasons.  My sister lives in Colorado, and 2 Mormon churches sit side by side because the owner of a subdivision refused to allow any churches to be zoned in a particularly large subdivision.  (As I recall, the owner was either a tobacco or alcohol owner that wanted to make sure no Mormon churches were built in the subdivision–so he excluded all churches.  How is this legal?)

I appreciate this Muslim leader’s pragmatism.  I too wonder why Muslims in New York aren’t more sensitive to the issue.  On the other hand, I don’t understand how any Mormon can support a ban on religious construction, given that we have had so many problems with constructing churches or temples.  As a matter of principle, I can’t see how it is constitutional to support a ban on a Muslim mosque anywhere.  What are your thoughts?

Edit on 10/3/2010

I thought it would be interesting to show photos of 2 Muslim women supporting this project.  Daisy Khan and her husband are trying to build at the controversial site.  Azar Nafisi escaped Iran’s regime, and wrote a controversial book.

I know looks can be deceiving, but I think these are the kinds of Muslims we should support.  From their speech, I could tell they want the same principles I want.  I think it is a mistake to characterize all Muslims as violent.    They were articulate Americans, and deserve the same rights you and I have.  I am more in favor of the mosque than I was earlier.  If we turn these moderate Muslims down, we further antagonize the Jihadists.  These are the people we should support.  If we can’t support these people, we hurt ourselves.

241 comments on “What Do You Think of a Mosque at Ground Zero?

  1. Dan

    “It is not me who is afraid.”

    That was precisely my point, unfortunately. There’s an old one liner that goes: “If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, chances are you fail to understand the nature of the problem.”

    Being unafraid of militant Islam makes you neither brave nor enlightened, IMO, particularly when you attribute the motives of those who disagree with you to bigotry or ignorance, I think you’re being naive about the fall-out 10’s of millions of radical fundamentalists can produce acfoss our planet, andm frankly, THAT attitude scares me more than the Islamists.

  2. FT & BR,

    I do believe that Elder Chantdown is calling us hate-filled anti-semites. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel loved.

  3. Having sent contributions in the past year to both the PTSS children of Sderot and breast cancer victims in the UAE, I find it confusing as to exactly which Semites I’m supposed to be hating.

  4. ECD

    I think the problem here is you are confusing a disdain for fundamentalist Islam with a hatred of Muslims. It is not the people, its the theocracy represented by the people. We don’t have a problem with Muslims, we have a problem with fundamentalist Islam. If you are OK with fundamentalist Islam, then you might want to do some research.

  5. Well said, BR. I wonder if we would still get all the hate labels if this were a discussion about the FLDS and we didn’t throw our full support behind them?

  6. Firetag,

    That was precisely my point, unfortunately. There’s an old one liner that goes: “If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, chances are you fail to understand the nature of the problem.”

    So, let me get this straight. Just because people around me are losing their heads, I should “fall in line” and lose mine too? That’s utterly ridiculous. That’s the kind of thinking that got us into Iraq in 2003. No thank you. I’ll keep a level, well educated head on my shoulders. You go crazy if you want.

    Being unafraid of militant Islam makes you neither brave nor enlightened, IMO, particularly when you attribute the motives of those who disagree with you to bigotry or ignorance, I think you’re being naive about the fall-out 10’s of millions of radical fundamentalists can produce acfoss our planet, andm frankly, THAT attitude scares me more than the Islamists.

    Tell me, why should I be afraid of militant Islam? Why should I cower in a corner when they say “boo.”

  7. @Dan
    Since thinking seems to be burdensome to you, I’ll help you out. Fear has a variety of meanings and manifestations. Here is a listing of dictionary definitions for you to consider:

    Fear–
    1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
    2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
    3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
    4. reverential awe, esp. toward god.
    5. that which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear.

    I would say you could characterize the kind of fear we’re talking about is of the concern kind. We’re not cowering in corners, waiting for the next suicide bomber attack, if that’s what you imagine.

  8. @Dan
    Tell me, why should I be afraid of militant Islam?

    Hey, Rip Van Winkle, did you just wake up?

  9. wow, you guys really are afraid. At least Tara is.

  10. Either you all have misunderstood me. Or I have misunderstood you. In my post I am talking about fellow LDS who hate muslims. Hopefully this fact escaped you only due to your never having heard statements of hate made by other LDS. I have not heard any of you say things like “The only good muslim is a dead muslim” or “Islam is evil”. But sadly I have heard these exact comments and other similar statements from fellow ward members and in at least one case a very close and dear brother in the faith.
    I have spoken hard things against the hateful. That WAS my intention. My intention was not to offend any of YOU. I hope that you will not misunderstand me. If you have no hate in your heart towards muslims, jews, blacks, etc. then there is no reason to take offense at my comments.
    I also sincerely hope I have not misunderstood anyone here. And heard constructive criticisms born of a desire for understanding when what was truly behind it all was a hateful and un-christ-like venom. I honestly don’t have any reason to believe that is exactly what is going on here. So I will have to conclude that you have misunderstood me. I hope you can re-read my thoughts with clear understanding and would love to hear my brothers and sister’s comments on the striking doctrinal similarities between certain american branches of Islam and what is often referred to as Mormonism. Does it add to your testimony as it does mine? What are your thoughts and feelings?

    One Love!

  11. “…chances are you fail to understand the nature of the problem.”

    That’s what I think is your situation, Dan. I don’t feel any need to apologize for that. I am trying to warn you for your own good; the fact that there are more than a billion wonderful Muslims in the world does not lessen the danger from the millions of militant Islamists you also share the world with.

    You can’t develop appropriate treatment in a Christ-like context if you are in denial about the reality of the cancer afflicting Islam. You can’t deflect by saying Christians and Mormons are sinners, too. Christians and Mormons aren’t currently in a crusader phase of history; militant Islamists are.

    Granted, if you live in Utah or Nevada (excepting maybe Las Vegas) you probably aren’t in an immediate target city. Some of us don’t have that luxury, and none of us are going to escape the economic fallout of what’s happening in Europe, the mid-east or south Asia.

  12. Firetag,

    Enlighten me. Exactly how do I fail to “understand the nature of the problem.” First of all, what exactly is the “problem?”

    Granted, if you live in Utah or Nevada (excepting maybe Las Vegas) you probably aren’t in an immediate target city. Some of us don’t have that luxury, and none of us are going to escape the economic fallout of what’s happening in Europe, the mid-east or south Asia.

    FWIW, I live in Manhattan.

  13. @ElderChantdown
    I’m not sure what else we were supposed to take from your blog post considering the nature of the discussion that’s going on. Your post was not specific about what you considered to be hateful or anti-Semitic or Islamophobic. Several of us here have already been repeatedly labeled as bigots, despite our attempts to demonstrate that we aren’t, so it just seemed like piling on. I apologize for misunderstanding you and am grateful that you are more understanding of the position some of us have taken, even if you may not agree with it, although I’m not sure where you stand on this issue as you have not made your position known, other than that you are against bigotry.

    For future reference though, I would suggest that you take a moment to express your intention when posting a link, rather than do what looked like a drive-by attack. That way people have a better understanding of the point you are trying to make and there’s less chance of someone feeling insulted unintentionally.

  14. some more FWIW. I take my daughter to the Toys R Us store at Times Square frequently, the same place where that idiot Pakistani dude wanted to blow up his Nissan. I take my daughter to what we call the “red playground” in Tribeca and on several occasions walk past ground zero and even once or twice past Park51. My doctor is in lower Manhattan, and I used to work at BMCC, again, walking past all the best “strike zones” quite frequently. Being in a “target city” what exactly am I supposed to understand about “the problem” Firetag? I’m guessing if I see something suspicious I shouldn’t just keep walking and not tell someone…that would be “not understanding the problem,” right? Are any Muslims in Manhattan suspicious? If I felt that way, my life would be pretty damn fearful and not enjoyable. I’m not going to fear my fellow men on this planet. Be as kind as a dove but as smart as a serpent, Jesus taught us. My wife works in Queens in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood. I walk with my daughter in that area not in the least bit concerned about my fellow Muslims there. That neighborhood, FWIW, is far safer than just a few blocks to the south in a predominantly poor and black area where the local Burger King has bullet proof windows for their drive thru service. I fail to see what “the problem” is or how I am misunderstanding “the problem,” Firetag. Maybe you could enlighten me.

  15. sorry, let me add one more thing to your comment, Firetag. You wrote:

    none of us are going to escape the economic fallout of what’s happening in Europe, the mid-east or south Asia.

    I don’t know how aware you are of the accuracy of this, seeing that our warmongering in the Middle East and South Asia is still YET to be paid for by any actual money. ALL our warmongering is put on a credit card, and will be a bill sent to our children to find a way to pay. Talk about utterly irresponsible and economically dangerous. We’re doing Bin Laden’s work. He said he wanted to bleed us until we were bankrupt, and we’re doing his work, fighting wars with credit cards. How utterly idiotic.

  16. @Dan
    Actually, it’s “harmless” as doves and “wise” as serpents. Harmless, if you look at the reference, says “guileless.” The definition of guileless is sincere, honest, straightforward, frank. Wise and smart are not the same. Wise can be defined as having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right. I’m curious if you have thought about that and what it actually means to be wise as a serpent and how that could apply to this subject. It wasn’t just be wise, but be wise as a serpent, which is curious to me, because serpents are cast so negatively, particularly in the scriptures.

  17. Tara,

    Dunno where you get guileless. Merriam Webster has nothing about guileless synonymous with harmless. If you’re gonna be condescending and talk down to me, it would be wise of you to know what you’re talking about. I think it’s funny that you rather define guileless as your defining meaning of “harmless” even though they are two different terms. Harmless is defined as free from harm, liability or loss; lacking capacity or intent to injure. On the other hand, guileless is related to innocence and naivete. They are generally related terms, but they’re not synonymous.

    As for correcting my terminology, thanks. I did not have the motivation to search for the actual quote. I appreciate you correcting me. I wouldn’t want to be misunderstood among stark opponents.

  18. @Dan
    I’m talking about the scripture references, you know, in the footnotes. Guileless is an alternate Greek translation.

    I’m not trying to be condescending though. Sorry you’ve read it that way. I’m trying to be more precise because inaccurate word usage can change the meaning entirely.

    It is also important, I think, to consider what it means to be wise as a serpent. A snake is always alert and aware of dangers in its midst, and it doesn’t stand defenseless. The Lord is telling all of us loud and clear, that we have to be wise, smart, sober, vigilant and always on guard. I doubt that was the point you were trying to make though, but it fits quite well with what I and others have been trying to say. So thank you for bringing that scripture to mind. It reaffirms my convictions.

  19. “My wife works in Queens in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood. I walk with my daughter in that area not in the least bit concerned about my fellow Muslims there.”

    You therefore demonstrate the reality of a lack of prejudice against Muslims in NY. So the majority opposition to the mosque at ground zero must be due to something else, mustn’t it? How exactly do these right wing extremists manage to convince everyone to look at this issue differently than you see it? It seems you’re the one who’s being condescending to most of the people in New York by refusing to take their concerns seriously.

    And if you think paying for Iraq and Afghan wars with tax increases would have made everything honky-dory in the mid-east or south Asia, you really need to rethink your position. India and Pakistan were fighting wars against each other since the Brits left India. The Talaban were aided by the Pak intelligence services against Russia and to keep Afghanistan as strategic depth against India before Carter bothered to cancel participation in the 1980 Olympics. (Take that, Russia!) Arabs and Jews have been fighting over Palestine since the Turks were driven out in WW1.

    Yet, somehow, in your world view, it is only Americans, must of them dumb and ignorant, who are the protagonists in all of this history.

    So this is the problem, Dan. There are millions of people who wish to kill you in order to enslave others, and there is absolutely no virtue in letting them do that. Decisions about whether war or peace will occur is not within America’s power to decide anymore.

  20. Tara,

    The Lord is telling all of us loud and clear, that we have to be wise, smart, sober, vigilant and always on guard. I doubt that was the point you were trying to make though,

    Actually that’s the point I was making as well. I disagree with the manner in which I am to be wise, smart, sober, vigilant, and always on guard. I don’t have to be bigoted, fearful, or ignorant to be wise as a serpent.

  21. Firetag,

    So the majority opposition to the mosque at ground zero must be due to something else, mustn’t it?

    Yes. Fear. Ignorance. Bigotry.

    It seems you’re the one who’s being condescending to most of the people in New York by refusing to take their concerns seriously.

    I have yet to see a valid concern that is not based on fear, ignorance, or bigotry.

    And if you think paying for Iraq and Afghan wars with tax increases would have made everything honky-dory in the mid-east or south Asia, you really need to rethink your position.

    Please read my comment carefully because I did not infer anything of this sort in my comment. My comment was solely related to America’s economic position with relation to our warmongering. I made no comment on the wisdom of our warmongering.

    So this is the problem, Dan. There are millions of people who wish to kill you in order to enslave others, and there is absolutely no virtue in letting them do that.

    Fair enough. What is the likelihood of any one of those “millions of people who wish to kill” me succeeding if I continue living my life in a normal manner as if they were not there? I think the statistics show that I am more likely to die of a lightning strike than to die at the hands of one of these terrorists. Should I fear lightning strikes more? I’m certainly more at risk of dying in a car accident than at the hands of some terrorist. I’ll most likely die of heart failure at the age of 75 or something than at the hands of some terrorist. I’m not understanding exactly how this particular problem affects my normal life, even living in a “target city.” After all, these terrorists have no hold upon the laws of this country, nor upon the political powers of this country (except Cheney…I have no doubt he’s in cahoots with Bin Laden…). So whether or not there are millions of people out to kill me, I still see no reason why I should fear them.

  22. “I walk with my daughter in that area not in the least bit concerned about my fellow Muslims there.”

    So your Muslim then. That explains a lot.

    “What is the likelihood of any one of those “millions of people who wish to kill” me succeeding if I continue living my life in a normal manner as if they were not there?”

    Quite high if the following quote is accurate:

    “…walking past all the best “strike zones” quite frequently. Being in a “target city”…”

    That said, YOU ARE THE ONE that keeps bringing up the FEAR label, but that is your MO.
    You label things that you don’t understand to deflect your lack of understanding.

  23. Bishop Rick,

    You should read this article and stop being terrorized by your fears.

  24. Firetag,

    To continue your line of thought…let’s say 1 million people want to kill me. A wise strategy is to “know thine enemy”. Thus let’s parse those 1 million people. Who are they? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would each and every single one of those 1 million people be rated on their desire versus their capability versus them actually executing their plan. Control for variables. In which countries do these 1 million people live? What is the political makeup of the countries in which they live? What are, if any, impediments that may block or delay the desire, capability, or actual execution of their plans within each country? What could possibly mollify their desire, capability or actual execution? Giving them iPods? Maybe getting Israel and Palestine to make peace? They say this is a big issue for them. If we are to believe their threats against our lives, maybe we should also believe when they say that peace between Israel and Palestine will mollify their desire to kill Americans…Take also into account what CIA leadership says about just how many people are our true enemies (not that I trust anything that comes out of the mouths of anybody from the CIA, but you should account for it). They indicate that our true enemies number in the hundreds, not millions, as you describe. I’m more likely to believe you than anybody at the CIA, but you should control for that variable. Consider also the reasons someone like the idiot Faizal Shahzad decided to ruin his life. There’s quite a consistent reason for “those millions” wanting to do us harm: our actions over in the Middle East and South Asia. Maybe if we stop fighting over there, we’ll have less of a threat at home. However, as long as we rely on Middle East oil, we’ll never leave Muslims alone. It’s the opportunity cost of living a luxurious life here. Muslims suffer while we get fat off their oil, so they want to kill us. An opportunity cost.

  25. “Fair enough. What is the likelihood of any one of those “millions of people who wish to kill” me succeeding if I continue living my life in a normal manner as if they were not there?”

    I’d say about the same order as the odds that a defeated, bitter, envious Germany with a small fraction of thugs and fanatical dedication could kill 10’s of millions in WW2, or that some Marxist idealists could be overwhelmed by similar leftist zeolots, creating a movement that cost billions of person-years of human life (why is the lifespan in Russia so much less than in Western Europe?) and killed 10’s of millions more outright.

  26. oh jeez, Firetag. Really? Comparing stateless terrorists to Nazi Germany? Do you even know how ridiculous that comparison is? As terrible as Hitler was, he was actually in charge of a country, and a very vibrant and productive country at that. At the height of Hitler’s power, Germany was the most powerful nation on the planet. Do you know how even more ridiculous a comparison this is today? The closest nation, in terms of raw power, to the United States is China, and they don’t even come close to matching our military output. We spend more than the rest of the world COMBINED! Hitler could only fantasize about this much power!

    Well, we’ve done it. We’ve reached Goodwin’s Law. I bow out at this point. There is no point continuing further. Good luck living a life of fear.

  27. “Maybe if we stop fighting over there, we’ll have less of a threat at home. However, as long as we rely on Middle East oil, we’ll never leave Muslims alone. It’s the opportunity cost of living a luxurious life here. Muslims suffer while we get fat off their oil, so they want to kill us. An opportunity cost.”

    Yep. The Nazis would have stopped killing Jews if only the Jews had stopped being rich. I don’t think so. More importantly, neither Hamas, nor the Iranian government, nor Hizbullah, nor the Israelis believe that peace is going to happen this side of a major war or two, and they don’t pretend to believe otherwise. (The PLO occasionally pretends, but it doesn’t matter even if they’re telling the truth — they have no more power over even Hamas than Taiwan has over China or South Korea has over North Korea.)

  28. Dan:

    Funny, I think that you’re the one being ridiculous. How do you think Hitler got control of a country? Do you think he woke up one Christmas and found it under a tree? We went into Afghan because the terrorists had control of a state sufficient to launch 9/11. They contest for control of several states now, at least one of which has nukes. And that is only the “stateless” terrorists — not the ones who wish us ill like Iran.

    I hate to say it, Dan. Go rent Schindler’s List. Notice how, at every step of the extermination, well-intentioned people COULD not psychologically acknowledge what was happening to them. It was better to deny than to act in time to save themselves. You are going to be as disappointed in your prescriptions for national security idealism as Obama has been.

    You want it all to go away so you can get on with your domestic transformation projects. It’s not going away.

  29. FT – He is being ridiculous. So ridiculous in fact that I’m embarrassed for him. He has displayed a total lack of knowledge. He unsuccessfully attempts to deflect attention by using insulting labels. Seriously, I’m embarrassed for him.

  30. I’d love to continue Firetag, but I’ve learned from sad experience that once you get talking about Nazis, there is no point in continuing. I’ll tell you the simple reason why. Hitler and Nazism was a singular exception in the history of man. There will never be another like him or them in the history of the world. To compare Bin Laden to Hitler is childish and ignorant. To compare Iran to Nazi Germany is stupid. Once you have to reach to Nazism to make your point, the conversation is done. But you can continue to insult me if you so desire.

  31. @Dan
    What is the likelihood of any one of those “millions of people who wish to kill” me succeeding if I continue living my life in a normal manner as if they were not there?

    I don’t think any of us have suggested that you NOT live your life in a normal manner. I don’t live any differently now than I did before 9/11, except that I have since moved to a different state.

    But denying that there is a threat doesn’t do yourself or anyone else any favors.

  32. @Dan
    I don’t think FT is suggesting that there are any exact parallels to Hitler and Nazi Germany. You miss the point once again, which is that there are, and always have been, evil, murderous thugs in this world capable of inflicting a lot of damage in human lives. Even the greatest military force in the world cannot protect against all of it. We are, and we were the strongest military power in the world prior to 9/11, yet 9/11 still happened.

  33. You miss the point once again, which is that there are, and always have been, evil, murderous thugs in this world capable of inflicting a lot of damage in human lives. Even the greatest military force in the world cannot protect against all of it. We are, and we were the strongest military power in the world prior to 9/11, yet 9/11 still happened.

    So? We get back to it. What does any of this have to do with the location of the cultural center at Park51? You’ve got nothing but fear, ignorance, and bigotry.

    But denying that there is a threat doesn’t do yourself or anyone else any favors.

    Where have I denied any threat? You’re thinking I should respond like you, thus if I don’t respond like you, I’m some denier or something. Firetag doesn’t like Obama’s strategy (FT: “You are going to be as disappointed in your prescriptions for national security idealism as Obama has been.”) which indicates he’s painfully unaware of what Obama has actually done (increased use of drone strikes, increased use of military force in Afghanistan). stating that Obama is a national security idealist is ridiculous and, once again, ignorant. Obama’s NS policies are quite realpolitik, many policies continued from the Bush administration. Not sure exactly what Firetag thinks is idealistic in Obama’s approach. Maybe Firetag got distracted by the Norwegians and their silly Nobel Peace Prize. But hey, nothing wrong with breaking a few Muslim eggs, as long as that makes us “feel” safe…

  34. Tara,

    Here is a nice profile of the woman who is directing your talking points. Know her well, and know her tactics well. She employs guilt by association just like you, Firetag, and Bishop Rick do. Since that is an acceptable tactic, just know, she is in cahoots with neo-Nazis (since it’s okay to talk about Nazis). So when you guys attack Islam, you’re like the Nazis…just something to consider, if we are to apply guilt by association.

    Or, we could live life without fear, ignorance, or bigotry.

  35. It’s been a really busy week. I’ve been monitoring the conversation, but haven’t had time to comment. We’ve had a lot of family in this weekend for my son’s baptism, work has been especially busy, and I bought a new truck Friday night. I digress…

    Well, I think Bishop Rick is right–my latest political posts have garnered much more interest than my early attempts to talk politics. I expected this issue to bring comments, but I am surprised that it continues. It’s too bad I didn’t know all you guys when I first started blogging–perhaps my early posts on Mitt Romney wouldn’t have bombed….

    Tara, I share your uneasiness of similarities with William Law. I’m undecided as to whether theocracy could be considered a “fundamentalist” Mormon doctrine. Certainly “fundamentalism” meant something different to William Law than it does to us. I think his opinions about a Mormon theocracy are not very different from Tara and my concern. I fully agree with Tara’s discomfort of theocracy, and I don’t view her concerns as materially different than William Law’s concerns.

    Tara, I don’t think you had a chance to read my post about The Nauvoo Expositor, but Michael Quinn makes the case that Joseph was more concerned about his political activities being exposed than polygamy. Quinn says if the Expositor was only about polygamy, Joseph might have left it alone.

    That was news to me, so at the Mormon History Conference, I asked Newell Bringhurst if he agreed with Quinn’s assertion. Bringhurst didn’t fully support Quinn, but understood Quinn’s reasoning. According to Bringhurst, polygamy was an explosive issue by itself. Joseph’s politics and theocracy were equally explosive. Most people assume that it was polygamy that Joseph was concerned about, but Bringhurst seems to think that both issues were explosive. Certainly the combination was enough for Joseph to believe shutting down the press was a good idea. Of course, we all know that it was not a good idea.

    Regarding this issue of theocracy, I think it holds the same position as polygamy in our church. There are many who beleive that polygamy will be reinstituted as a Celestial Law, and that Christ will head up a theocracy. So from that point of view, it’s hard for me to lump it into a “crazy fundamentalist” doctrine like the FLDS. As you know already, I don’t view polygamy as a Celestial Law, though I am willing to say that it could be an optional law in the Celestial Kingdom. Ray Degraw has discussed a very nuanced view of Celestial Marriage, but I don’t want this to become a post about polygamy.

    John Hamer said that in the 1800’s, some US citizens believed a monarchy under a righteous king was a good idea. Certainly the Book of Mormon seems to support such a notion, especially King Benjamin. Hamer says that in 1830, democracy was still a new idea, and not known if it would last for 200 years like it has. Many people, such as Joseph Smith felt that a righteous kingly theocracy was the ideal form of government. Yet, after 200 years of democracy, our opinions now are that democracy is the ideal form of government. If Joseph were alive today, he would probably extol the virtues of “Christ the President”, rather than “Christ the King.” I think most modern people would be more comfortable with Christ as President, rather than Christ as King. We refer to President Monson, after all, not King Monson.

  36. As for this notion of Sharia Law, let me explain further. As mentioned in the ABC tv show, there are moderate Muslims that believe that Sharia Law can operate within a democracy. I think it is a great amount of fear Mongering when we Westerners try to tie Sharia Law to Saudi or Iranian government. I don’t think that’s what moderate Muslims want. Moderate Muslims have left Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iran precisely because they don’t like the Sharia Law there. However, if there was a righteous version of Sharia Law, similar to a Christian Democracy with Christ as President, I think this is what Moderate Muslims would like to see. Conceptually, I have no problem with that, just as I have no problem with a Hindu government headed up with someone like Ghandi as US President.

    Sharia Law, Mormon Theocracy, or even a “good government with Christian principles” (as Evangelicals like to call it) are really the same thing. The difference is the semantics. When we tie Sharia Law to mistreating women, or Obama to Socialism/Communism, we are turning to political rhetoric and fear to make our points and not discussing the true issues. I think it is a disservice to turn to these fear tactics. I don’t think Obama wants to turn us into a Communist nation; the builders of this Cultural Center don’t want women mistreated either, and they don’t support terrorists. Linking these is fear mongering and polarizing. It’s not productive and I don’t think Christ wants us fearing our neighbors the Muslims. I think if Christ were alive today, he might refer to “the good Muslim” instead of “the Good Samaritan.”

  37. @Dan
    So? We get back to it. What does any of this have to do with the location of the cultural center at Park51? You’ve got nothing but fear, ignorance, and bigotry.

    We can go back to the topic of Park51 if you’d like, but we were currently on the subject of Sharia Law, so naturally, my comment was directed at Sharia Law.

    Where have I denied any threat?

    Unless I’ve completely misunderstood the points you were trying to make, the following comments suggested to me that you didn’t see any threat:

    -Tell me, why should I be afraid of militant Islam?
    -First of all, what exactly is the “problem?”
    -What is the likelihood of any one of those “millions of people who wish to kill” me succeeding…So whether or not there are millions of people out to kill me, I still see no reason why I should fear them.

    Many of your comments speak to the idea that you don’t see any reason to alter your life because of terrorism, which I completely understand, but your comments are also suggestive, to me at least, that you don’t think there is a threat from terrorists. I apologize if I’ve misunderstood, but I hope you can understand why I might come to that conclusion. Even if you think there is a threat, you haven’t expressed that you believe there actually is one. In fact, all of your comments, at the very least, seem to downplay any real or perceived threat.

  38. @Dan
    I’m not interested in signing up for the New York Slimes Times, thank you. But trust me when I say that I get the point you are trying to make. I know conspiracy-mongering when I see it. I’ve dealt with that plenty on behalf of some conspiracy-minded family members. As conservative as I am, I feel like a moderate compared to them. What I’ve seen of Pamela Gellar’s website once you brought her to my attention, leads me to believe that, while there may be some truth there, there is probably a lot that may not be quite accurate. But just because of that, it doesn’t mean that the only reason I take issue with Park51 is because of media outrage ignited and fueled solely by Pamela Gellar. I’m not buying it. But it doesn’t matter anyway. The issues to those who oppose it are issues that you don’t relate to or have a problem with and so you aren’t going to understand why people have a problem with it (other than your constant refrain of fear, ignorance, and bigotry…yeah, yeah, we get that), and you (and others) will look to someone to blame for stirring up controversy. What you don’t understand is that there are people who share some of the same concerns as Pamela Gellar, and we don’t need someone to tell us what we need to be concerned about.

  39. @Dan
    Dan–So? We get back to it. What does any of this have to do with the location of the cultural center at Park51? You’ve got nothing but fear, ignorance, and bigotry.

    Tara–We can go back to the topic of Park51 if you’d like, but we were currently on the subject of Sharia Law, so naturally, my comment was directed at Sharia Law.

    I should say that we were actually on the subject of terrorism. Sharia Law changed to terrorism for some reason.

  40. Tara,

    Many of your comments speak to the idea that you don’t see any reason to alter your life because of terrorism, which I completely understand, but your comments are also suggestive, to me at least, that you don’t think there is a threat from terrorists.

    I am a big believer in probability vs possibility. What’s the possibility of a terrorist attack? Pretty good possibility. They say they want to attack, and we’re a very open society. What’s the probability of a terrorist attack? Here’s where I beg to differ with you and those who agree with you. The probability that I will be a victim of a terrorist attack, even as a resident of New York City, is lower than that of the probability of getting struck by lightning. In both cases, I have little control over the matter. I could vote for someone who will follow policies somewhat similar to what I would recommend, but beyond that, and beyond keeping an alert eye, there’s nothing much to worry about. Do you get why I don’t get all riled up about sharia law or the million or so fools who wish me harm? I might change my view if someone close to me died at the hands of a terrorist, but again, if that’s the case, it would be because I let my emotion rule the day, that I let fear and anger direct my judgment. I would come to regret making such a decision.

  41. Mormon Heretic

    Sharia Law, Mormon Theocracy, or even a “good government with Christian principles” (as Evangelicals like to call it) are really the same thing. The difference is the semantics.”

    I’ll give you Sharia Law and Mormon Theocracy, but good government based on Christian principles is hardly the same thing. We have this type of “good government” all over the country, but people are not being tried, convicted and sentenced out of the Bible.

    Mormon Heretic–
    When we tie Sharia Law to mistreating women, or Obama to Socialism/Communism, we are turning to political rhetoric and fear to make our points and not discussing the true issues. I think it is a disservice to turn to these fear tactics.”

    MH – You are really off base here. Sharia Law does mistreat women. Why is it fear-mongering and political rhetoric to mention examples of this? These practices take place in countries where Islam is the dominant religion. There are more countries than what you mention where this stuff happens too.

    This is fear mongering, its educating. Its up to you to do what you will with the information. No one is trying to make you afraid or mislead you as you imply.

    Dan keeps calling everyone who disagrees with him, a scared, ignorant bigot. I do business in NY often. I have been to Manhattan twice in the last month. If my taxi driver wears a turban, do I jump out of the cab trembling with fear that I almost fell victim to a car bombing? No that notion is as ridiculous as Dan’s childish labels. This has nothing to do with fear. People on this blog are very well informed, so ignorant doesn’t work either, and I really doubt anyone here is a bigot. These childish labels don’t belong in this discussion.

    What we have here are people on two sides of a philosophical discussion. Each of having different levels of passion for reasons stated or not stated.

    Look, if someone here thinks people are over-reacting to the ground zero mosque, fine. Just don’t call those that have a degree of reservation, fear-mongering, ignorant bigots. This does nothing to prove your point.

  42. @Dan
    I don’t disagree with you about the issue of probability, nor do I disagree with you about what can be done on a personal basis (i.e. voting and staying alert) to deal with terrorism. I can also understand why you might not get “riled up,” as you say, about Sharia law and terrorism. I’m not sure that I would describe my own actions and feelings on the issue as being riled up, even though my opinions differ from yours. I am not in a state of anger over this.

    But as far as emotion goes, there is nothing wrong with being guided by emotion, so long as that isn’t the only thing guiding you. Emotion can be a powerful motivator, particularly when it is combined with reason. Here is a quote from a study by the Social Science Research Network: Proponents of formal risk analysis tend to view affective responses [emotional] to risk as irrational. Current wisdom disputes this view. The rational and the experiential systems operate in parallel and each seems to depend on the other for guidance. Studies have demonstrated that analytic reasoning cannot be effective unless it is guided by emotion and affect. Rational decision making requires proper integration of both modes of thought. Both systems have their advantages, biases, and limitations….On the one hand, how do we apply reason to temper the strong emotions engendered by some risk events? On the other hand, how do we infuse needed “doses of feeling” into circumstances where lack of experience may otherwise leave us too “coldly rational”?

    It’s a balancing act. Don’t let emotion completely take over, but you have to keep some of that emotion so that you remember, because if you forget or lose the emotion attached to, say a 9/11, you will forget why action and vigilance are important, and you become complacent. Emotion is what causes us to care long after something has happened. When our emotions are irrational, it is good to lose them, but when our emotions are well-founded and rational, we should try to keep some part of them with us.

    I don’t think that FT, or BR, or I are being irrational. We are allowing reason to guide our emotions. We haven’t said that no mosque should be built anywhere on US soil. We haven’t called for the internment of any peaceful, law abiding Muslims in the US. We just simply are not willing to give complete trust to any Muslim or group of Muslims who want to do something that seems very insensitive (building a mosque in the name of outreach?), paying cash without any disclosure of the source(s) of the funding, and who’ve said some questionable things about this country and issues relating to terrorism and the imposition of sharia law. Another concern is the message that this sends to terrorists throughout the world, regardless of if the builders are radicals or moderates, because it will not matter to terrorists. Will the mosque be viewed as a victory mosque? Will this send and emboldening message to the terrorists? From what we understand, it will. We, as Americans, don’t view things in the same way that terrorists do. We are not conquerors. We are not out to impose our will on the world, so we do not understand the symbolism of those who are of that spirit. We also know that radical Muslims have posed as moderates, and so to not express some skepticism in the face of all these issues is akin to burying one’s head in the sand.

    While we don’t have to get riled up about sharia law, we need to realize that there is an effort to impose it on the world. While there may not be an outright effort to impose it on us, since such a tactic would no doubt fail, we can be sure that there will be an effort to impose it little by little, in seemingly innocuous ways, all in the name of religious tolerance and freedom. There’s a good chance we won’t even realize what is being done until it’s too late. That is one of Satan’s most powerful approaches. If he can’t get us to do what he wants all at once, he gets us to do what he wants little by little, like with the flaxen cord, until we wake up to realize what has happened and those fine little cords have joined together to create an unbreakable rope.

  43. “Sharia Law does mistreat women.” Bishop Rick, this is true in some Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, but it is not true in places like Turkey, or even Iran. In fact, I think most Americans would be truly astonished at the freedom women have in Iran. My friend Anne said Americans have a very warped view of Iran. Iranians consider themselves much more European than Arab, and adopt much more western styles of dress. Many Iranian women are college educated, drive, etc. It’s Saudi women that can’t drive, etc. Turkish or Iranian women would not support the mistreatment of women you suggest. If we are to assume FireTag’s 7% is correct for fundamentalist Islam, then 93% don’t support the mistreatment of women.

  44. Dan:

    You do more than vote; your blog and your writing on other opinion blogs clearly labels you as “activist” in the policies you advocate. So people who believe the adoption of the policies you advocate are harmful to human safety everywhere will argue right back at you. It is specious to pose as a great humanitarian one minute, than switch to arguing there is no threat because someone not close to you isn’t likely to be a casualty the next minute.

  45. MH:

    “In fact, I think most Americans would be truly astonished at the freedom women have in Iran. My friend Anne said Americans have a very warped view of Iran. Iranians consider themselves much more European than Arab, and adopt much more western styles of dress.”

    How long has Anne been here? She sounds like one of the wonderful people of Iran who would have been part of the Green Movement last year until the masks came off and the IRG showed its fangs. She would not have been out of place in the Prague Spring or, for that matter, in post WW1 Ukraine, or in Mao’s China.

    Try searching for news reports over the past three months for “Iran women adultery stoning” And remember that Ah-mad can tell a New York audience with a straight face that there are no homosexuals in Iran (because they do a bit more to homosexuals there than debate whether they should be allowed to marry).

    I don’t know how many links will trip your spam filter, but I’ll go pull one up from this weekend’s news.

  46. Kibk 1 from the Guardian web-site (The Guardian is the standard of the mainstream British left if anyone reading is unfamiliar with it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/10/terrorism-islam-abdulmutallab-nick-cohen

  47. I agree it is not black as white, but I am a bit confused by your comment. You seem to have real problems with Sharia Law. If it is simply what we see in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, then I share your concern. But if it is more like Iranian or Turkish or New Afghan law (we’ll see if their constitution holds after the US leaves), then I am not so concerned. What are we to make of your Sharia comments?

  48. Here is another from the German mainstream from a month ago. You can find more from sources like AP, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor regarding connections of this cell to the sending of Germans who can easily travel throughout Europe to Pakistan for training — the Europlot to launch Momdai style mass casualty attacks simultaneously in multiple European cities.

    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5881638,00.html

    And if you don’t consider Jewish sources unreliable, you might also read what Ah-mad is doing to demonstrate Iranian take-over of Lebanon this week in Caroline Glick’s article in the Jerusalem Post.

  49. Anne was born and raised in Tehran. She moved to France after completing her residency in Tehran, and then to the US. She met her husband in France, I believe. They are both physicians. She had to repeat residency here because the US didn’t recognize her Iranian residency’s accreditation standards. I don’t know how long she’s been in the US, but I would guess a few years.

    Some will find this next comment highly ironic. She mentioned that SLC is very similar to Tehran for a couple of reasons. The climate is very similar, both have problems with smog in the winter due to the proximity of the mountains, and both are into “family values.” Anne didn’t wear a veil at all, and said that Iranian women let their hair hang out of the veil quite a bit, contrary to strict interpretations of the Koran. She said that Americans would find Iran to be quite European, and Iranians aren’t very fond of Arabs. (They kicked them out about 1000 years ago, though they kept Islam as the religion of the country.)

    Iranians actually have strong ties to Germany, and changed their name to Iran from Persia around WW2. You will note that Iran and Aryan sound similar. So, the comments from Ahmadinajad do bear some resemblences to German Nazi propaganda. That is no accident.

    I talked with Anne about the Green Revolution in Iran. She was very worried about her family. She said people in Iran can’t stand Ahmadinajad. It’s too bad they rigged the election, because the citizens aren’t in favor of the government there. They really want western style freedom and democracy, though they are happy with their religion. Honestly, Iran’s faux democracy is probably more democratic than Egypt.

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