Letter - Religious freedom is a rightA third of a millennium ago, the ancestors of many of us left their native homes and crossed an ocean to an unexplored land in order to enjoy what we consider the most elementary of freedoms – the right to worship as you please.
To the editor:
A third of a millennium ago, the ancestors of many of us left their native homes and crossed an ocean to an unexplored land in order to enjoy what we consider the most elementary of freedoms – the right to worship as you please.
Today, we’re faced with a dilemma. We can replicate the bigotry of the European homelands or we can perpetuate the principles upon which our nation was founded – the inalienable right to worship within one’s tenets. It’s not a cut and dried call.
There is much to be considered. Many hold the Islamic faith to be pernicious and antithetical to the core beliefs held by the vast majority of Americans. That may be so. Certainly the Sunni Wahhabi sect of Islam has little love for our values or our well-being. If they were the stake holders in the proposed Islamic site, then the argument for “national security” could well hold water.
This, however, is not the case. It is the Sufi sect – the Quakers of Islam – who make this proposal. They are as much the enemy of the Wahhabi and the Taliban as we are, for they advocate nonviolence, cooperation and coexistence. To those who say, “two mosques in lower Manhattan are enough,” would you feel the same if there were but one LDS temple and one Catholic cathedral there? Would that satisfy all Christian needs?
I see the construction of the cultural center as a right that our nation bestows because of the greatness and benevolence of who we are. To deny that right denies the rights of every one of us. If religious freedom is freedom only for those of a Christian God but no other deity, then have we not violated the promise our forefathers made and are we not the poorer for it as a nation?
Dennis Q Murphy