If Norman Jameson, the editor of the North Carolina Baptist Biblical Recorder, wanted to write a condescendingly arrogant opinion piece defending the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, in the infamous words of George W. Bush — Mission Accomplished! Fresh on the heals of President Obama’s entirely predictable endorsement of the Ground Zero mosque, Jameson, in what has to be one of the most smarmy editorials written from a Baptist Christian perspective to weigh in on the Ground Zero mosque, has certainly outdone himself.
Before any of my freedom loving, Baptist historian friends throw rocks, let me make it perfectly clear that I believe Jameson has every right to spout foolish non-sense, even under the guise of religious liberty and Baptist freedoms. However, he should not expect his words to go unchallenged. For the editor of any paper, much less a Baptist paper, to write such utter, insensitive drivel is mind-boggling!
If I have your attention, good! Before I dissect Jameson’s “arguments” about why he thinks Americans in general, and Baptists in particular, should have warm, fuzzy feelings and be oh so thankful that a Muslim Cultural Center and Mosque is being built near the greatest mass murder in U.S. history, let me ask a question. If Westboro “Baptist Church”, the hate-filled group known for its vile signs and despicable protests at military funerals, bought property in lower Manhattan and proposed to build a cultural center and church at the same location as the mosque, how many elites, including Jameson, Mayor Bloomberg, and President Obama, would be defending Westboro’s “rights” based on religious freedom grounds? That’s what I thought.
After 18 months in office, one has come to expect this kind of lawyerese from Obama. Sadly, one also has come to expect this type of blather from Baptists like Jameson. In trying to defend the indefensible, Jameson resorting to Baptist history and First Amendment Religious Freedom grounds is both patronizing and belittling at the same time. It smacks of hubris on a par with the likes of President Obama.
In a stunning grasp of the obvious that Jameson so eloquently points out, no one disputes that there are other mosques throughout New York City, including in Manhattan. However, to equate mosques built pre-September 11, 2001 with the Ground Zero mosque, expected to be dedicated September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the attack on this country by Muslim extremists, conveys an elitist pre-9/11 mentality that would be funny if it were not so sad.
I’m glad that Jameson outed himself as an opponent of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. If he is not, you could have fooled me. In one of the most ridiculous lines in his piece, Jameson writes:
That atrocity threw our country into a funk from which a stink cloud still rises. Because we could not bear the insult, we invaded Iraq and justified a pending invasion of Afghanistan.
No Mr. Jameson. Our country is not in a funk. We are in a war! What happened on 9/11 was not an insult. If I told you that you look funny, I would be insulting you. To have almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens killed in the worst attack in our nation’s history is not an insult. To say so is itself insulting beyond compare, but I highly doubt that he comprehends that fact. And for the record, we attacked Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan before we went into Iraq. And no sir. We didn’t have to justify our response. The Twin Towers, the Pentagon, the field in Shanksville, PA and all the dead — murdered in the name of militant Islam — was justification enough! I guess for Mr. Jameson, it should have been just “grin and bear it time” for the uneducated masses.
I’m so glad that Mr. Jameson has it all figured out. You see, to him, opposition to the Ground Zero mosque is just some “self-absorbed Americans nourishing our pain from 9/11” while taking “another dip in the pool of self-pity,” as we proudly display our “irritating penchant for memorializing tragedy.” Mr. Jameson, your arrogance offends me!
Please, spare us your sorrow for the families of 9/11/2001. You might wish to live as if you were in pre-9/11 America. But most Americans, and I would daresay most Baptists, do not, sir. Support for building the mosque near Ground Zero is not, as you so high-mindedly claim, being “true to our principles” as Christians and as Americans. Nor is opposition to the mosque merely the “sympathetic acquiescence to those families whose identity was arrested by the events of that day. . . .”
Have you forgotten? The events of 9/11 will, in a certain sense, always be related to what happens near Ground Zero. That’s why most Americans believe that the building of a mosque near Ground Zero is remarkable in every way. Your arrogance, in dismissing opposition to the mosque with such utter disdain, should offend us all!