It seems that questions of taste are permeating the news these days, and the two biggest ones revolve around freedom of speech and freedom of religion issues. The proposed Ground Zero mosque has become something of a hydra, growing in anger and anxiety among both the left and the right, while the famed Dr. Laura Schlessinger is looking towards retirement after employing the N-word over and over during a recent segment of her radio show. There seems no end to the extremities these days.
Even a few Arabic world news sources are questioning the wisdom of building the mosque so near to the site of part of the 9/11 tragedy. The Daily Start of Lebanon and Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly have expressed concern over whether this is the time or that is the place for the mosque. The Daily Star says that the real goal now should be the education of the rest of the world about true Islam, while the Egyptian paper goes so far as to say that if the mosque is denied on reasonable grounds it expects that humanity will accept the decision.
These are commendably noble stances. Opponents in the United States are facing rather sharp criticism about tolerance and acceptance (as well as preachy diatribes about rights) while they are receiving little consideration of their proper attitudes by many. It is readily ignored by the left that tolerance and consideration are two way streets; as a rule, even when the Constitution is on your side that cannot mean you have no responsibility of acting charitably and inclusively towards your opponents. To argue that rights may run roughshod over legitimate issues of grief can make rights seem rather mean and hollow. It is fair to ask whether rights without souls are worth having.
In the end, if the parties involved persist, the mosque will be built. But will it do what its supporters say? Will it build community, or mistrust? If Islam cannot answer that question honestly and act accordingly, regardless of its Constitutional rights, then we may learn all that we need to know about that religion.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is leaving radio to find her First Amendment rights. She used the N-word several times on a recent broadcast and the public outcry has been tremendous. But we ask: where are the defenders of her Constitutional rights? She’s only using a mere word, one employed commonly in certain segments of the community.
What relates this story to the mosque is that, essentially, the same two issues are at stake here: free speech rights and questions of decorum and tact. Only here, the left deeply resents Schlessinger’s free expression. Ergo, she is a vile and despicable human being. Once more we see that hypocrisy of the liberal intelligensia: rights must be defended. Until they offend us.
She should not have said what she said any more than the black community should insult itself and its members with the regular use of the word. But oh, what a learning experience when the same mentality which calls conservatives intolerant when they voice opposition to a mosque which is at least arguably insensitive are so willing to ignore the First Amendment when they are themselves insulted. Actions do indeed speak louder than words. And it seems that offensive words can indeed be evil…but only when spoken by the right. Such is no more than effrontery, sheer cheek, and belittles whatever else they may claim about the sanctity of human rights.