It's a controversial topic. The Islamic Center near Ground Zero…
It's an emotional topic and one I wasn't sure I should bring up in these last few moments with you.
But you have talked about it with me on Facebook and Twitter so here goes -
Did you know as an American citizen you have two Freedoms granted by the First Amendment of the Constitution when it comes to Religion?
The first part is known as the Establishment Clause.
The Establishment Clause essentially says the government can't pass laws that will establish an official religion.
This is commonly interpreted as the separation of church and state.
The second is the Free Exercise Clause...and it prevents the government from interfering with or controlling a person's practice of his or her religion.
Religious freedom is an absolute right in this country and includes the right to practice any religion OR no religion at all for all Americans.
The founders of this country crossed the ocean in the early 1600s seeking freedom of religion from an oppressive church and government.
I don't know how this situation in downtown New York City will play out but I know these are potentially dangerous times for our freedoms.
Suppose our government leaders or New York state leaders do step in, in some capacity, whether official or non-official and assist in moving the mosque somewhere else…then what?
What kind of precedent does that set?
Timothy McVeigh was raised Catholic and remained a Christian-do we then entertain petitions of moving Catholic churches away from the Oklahoma bombing site?
I'm sure you are thinking it sounds ludicrous but ask yourself this…is it ludicrous because Catholicism is familiar to you?
Or is your argument that what he did was different?
Or is your argument that Timothy McVeigh didn't kill in the name of Allah?
For every religion under the heavens there will always be extremists…the key is to understand that the extremists do not make up the masses.
Linda Lee on Facebook wrote me today…"Islam and terrorism are NOT synonymous. By fighting the mosque for those reasons, you are supporting Bin Laden's idea that the west is at war with Islam. Please don't be the cause of what you are so desperately trying to fight."
If you are an American citizen and choose to remain in this country -then whether you are for or against the Islamic Center *should* be irrelevant.
I say should be-in an ideal world. Because as an American citizen, we all should be for the Constitution that so many have fought, lived and died for-including the 2,976 souls who died on September 11th at Ground Zero.. at the Pentagon.. and in a field in western Pennsylvania.