The debate about the plans to build an Islamic cultural center on the site of an old Burlington Coat Factory building that happens to be two blocks away from the former site of the World Trade Center is still ongoing, which makes it prime fodder for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Last night, after criticizing President Obama’s apparent inability to take a firm, clear stance on things and playing their usual clips of Fox News correspondents constantly contradicting themselves, Senior Religion Correspondent John Oliver came on to deliver the best zingers. After a clip where Newt Gingrich compared the Muslims to Nazis, Oliver says “What Newt Gingrich is trying to say is that Islam, like every religion, has to be responsible for its biggest a–holes.”
The next question from Stewart was about why religious groups should have to bend to people’s worst suspicions about them, and Oliver’s response was biting. “There is a difference between what you can do and what you should do. For instance, you can build a Catholic church next to a playground. Should you?”
To veer off into opinionation for a moment, doesn’t it stand to reason that the ultimate triumph against the hatred that fueled the 9/11 attacks in the first place is not to succumb to that same hatred as a response? As Stewart said last week, the cultural center’s opponents “appear to be equating the goals and aspirations of the entire Muslim faith, a religion of 1.4 billion people around the world, with the goals and aspirations of Al-Qaeda, an extremist terrorist group of homicidal cave-dwelling dickfaces.”
The First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Isn’t that all we need to put this to bed? Besides that, it seems as though people who haven’t actually been to New York City might not quite understand just how compact and close together everything has to be to fit on that island. Everything is two blocks away from everything else there.
Don’t we as a nation have more important things to discuss right now?