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Xiphias Gladius

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By the way, I DO divide the world into "good guys" and "bad guys". [Aug. 19th, 2010|05:52 pm]
Xiphias Gladius
Just so you know: if you're against the building of an Islamic community center in Downtown Manhattan, you're one of the bad guys.

If you are saying, "well, sure, they have the LEGAL right to do it, but by putting it there, they're just being provocative," then you may not be particularly evil yourself, but you're intimidated by the evil people into being one of their henchmen. People doing completely normal things like building community centers aren't being provocative. The people who you are afraid they will provoke? Those are the bad guys. And if you are saying that they should modify their behaviors to do what the bad guys want, then you are saying that you support the bad guys.

And that means that you're one of the bad guys.

And THAT means that I find you a danger to me, personally. I'm Jewish. Right now, Jews are mostly considered more or less white. But that could change. And the second it does, people will start saying things like, "Well, sure, they COULD build a synagogue there, but wouldn't that just be asking for trouble?"

Everything that people are saying about the downtown Manhattan community center, I just automatically hear people saying that about something that I might want to do someday. If you're against them, then you're against me, and you're also against justice, freedom, and every ideal that this country stands for.

Just so we're clear on that.

[User Picture]From: dancing_kiralee
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.

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