NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently weighed in on the matter:
Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another.There is a lot of wisdom behind these words. I still haven’t decided one way or the other how I feel about this (there is a part of me that thinks it is a bit crass to build an Islamic mosque right by Ground Zero and it’s not because I hold anti-Muslim biases, but I am a believer in the “there is a time and a place for everything” idea and this just seems to go against the logic of that philosophy) but after reading this, I am leaning more towards Mayor Bloomberg’s point of view.
The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves – and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans – if we said ‘no’ to a mosque in Lower Manhattan.
Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values – and play into our enemies’ hands – if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists – and we should not stand for that.
For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime – as important a test – and it is critically important that we get it right.
Thanks to Unreasonable Faith for the find.