2010-08-20 02:38 pm (UTC)
Re: I hope I can have a difference of opinion
I believe The Church of All Worlds, operating as a Pagan, mostly Wiccan, church at the time, had ties to EarthFirst, an eco-terrorist organization, in the early nineties. How do I know this? I was, briefly, a church member... the scandal about EarthFirst broke a few years after I left; I left for a number of complex reasons - I can't say it was because of what I heard about EarthFirst, because at the time I didn't believe 'my' church could be involved in something like that.
Separating religion from terrorism is important; it's good to look at the details, and be sure that in supporting a good cause, one is not supporting the violent or inappropriate extremes that cause can be taken to. It's just as important that one doesn't deny or put down or interfere with a good cause which is *not* supporting violent or inappropriate extremes.
And you are right in pointing out that you can't determine those sorts of things based solely on the religion in question. Simply saying a church / group / community is Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Wiccan, Asatru, Moslem, Green, Hindu, or Buddhist, is neither a guarantee that they aren't terrorists, nor a guarantee that they are.
So, the details matter: it can't automatically be wrong to oppose a Moslem, or Church of All Worlds, or Jewish, community center, because it's possible that the specific group in question *is* behaving badly, even if the religion in question doesn't usually; and it can't automatically be right to oppose a Moslem, or Church of All Worlds, or Jewish, community center, because it's also possible, and even more likely, that they are perfectly normal and reasonable people.
The headlines aren't giving details; so anyone relying just on the headlines (like me) doesn't have enough information to form an opinion*. However that isn't what I see you doing. You've researched some of the details and formed an opinion based on those details. Given some of the responses below, you may be wrong about some of the facts you've gotten, or their interpretation; but as far as I can tell you're not opposing this Moslem community center just because it's Moslem and near ground zero, which would be wrong; instead, rightly or wrongly, you oppose it because you believe the specific group involved is connected to people advocating actions which you think are inappropriately extremes and / or violent.
As it happens, I don't agree with you; but I think you have the right to hold your opinion, and that you are neither a 'bad guy' nor someone to be afraid of for having this opinion, or for the way you formed it.
* There is a legitimate debate that can be abstracted from the headlines: given that we as a nation believe in freedom of expression and religious freedom, there will inevitably be groups who are diametrically opposed to each other in some way; emotions can become heated, and accidents happen if diametrically opposed groups are in close proximity. How much of a problem is this, and, if it is a problem, what steps can appropriately be taken to prevent violence, intentional or otherwise.