Religion-free zone in New York?

Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an, published in 1764. (courtesy of the Library of Congress). Image via 15-Minute History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an, published in 1764. (courtesy of the Library of Congress). Image via 15-Minute History at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) joined in the calls to end plans for any worship center for Islam near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.  But they added a twist.

CFI called for the entire area to be free from religious institutions, since, they say, it was religiously-inspired violence that caused the trouble.  Greg Laden has pithy comments at his blog, as does DuWayne Brayton from the opposite tack (Laden agrees with CFI, sorta, while Brayton thinks they’ve jumped somebody’s shark).

How about it, Joe, how about it Morgan?  Doesn’t this plan meet yours and Sarah Palin’s objections to Cordoba House?

And Glenn Beck in ignorance leads us farther and further from the intentions of the “founders”:

Also at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:


346 Responses to Religion-free zone in New York?

  1. lowerleavell says:


    The Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield…man, not to mention our founding fathers in general would have had a field day with the likes of Pat Robertson, etc. I refuse to defend the “religious right.” I may be an ordained minister, but that doesn’t mean that I will defend any evangelical belief that is more concerned with passing laws than seeing hearts and lives changed by the power of the Gospel. Voting your conscience and fighting for what you believe is right is one thing – fighting for religious dominance is another.

    Let me say it clear. This should NOT be a “Christian nation.” How well did that work for Rome? Better is a nation full of genuine Christians who love God and love each other. There really is a difference. Equality for those who disagree is a hallmark trait of the Baptists. Look up the name of the Baptist preacher, John Leland (a personal friend of Jefferson and Madison), and his little known influence on the freedom of religion we hold dear.

    Here are his famous quotes with which I wholeheartedly agree:

    “The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever…Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.”

    “Truth disdains the aid of law for its defense — it will stand upon its own merits.”

    “Every man must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free.”

    Finally, he gives the same point I tried to make: “If Christian nations, were nations of Christians, these things would not be so: The very tendency of religious establishments by human law, is to make some hypocrites, and the rest fools; they are calculated to destroy those very virtues that religion is designed to build up ; to encourage fraud and violence over the earth. It is error alone, that stands in need of government to support it ; truth can and will do better without: so ignorance calls in anger in a debate, good sense scorns it. Religion, in its purest ages,made its way in the world, not only without the aid of the law, but against all the laws of haughty monarchs, and all the maxims of the schools…”

    It was these kinds of Puritans, the Quakers, and various Baptists were the groups I was referring in the original post. These two groups are historically those who fled persecution and fought for religious freedom and were not spiritually kin to the persecutors of Europe.

    Can I rest from argument now? :-)


  2. I’d be genuinely interested in a [citation] substantiating that Henry VIII was ever officially anything but Catholic. Anywhere from 1491-1547. Something to back this up?


  3. lowerleavell says:

    Dude James, you’re responding to posts from like two years ago? Your historical digging for stuff to disagree with me and expecting me to answer it almost makes me feel like I’m running for office or something. With all due respect, you need to find another hobby, sir.

    Since all religious institutions fail the mark of perfection and every denomination has failed in one way or another, I really don’t want to get into a Protestant vs. Catholic discussion. There is only One who is Perfect, and He died for His bride, the Church. That church is not a denomination, Catholic or Protestant, but a collection of people across denominational lines who have been born of the Spirit by trusting in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No offense, but I couldn’t care less what your denominational tag was. What matters is if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I care about your soul sir, not just your church.


  4. Lets see what some evangelical Protestants have said:

    Individual Christians are the only ones really – and, and Jewish people, those who trust the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – are the only ones that are qualified to have reign, because hopefully they’ll be governed by God and submitted to him. Pat Robertson, January 11, 1985, “700 Club”

    Every one of is called to be one of God’s priests. When you walk into your [school] building, you can claim it for Christ. Forrest Turpen, Christian Educators Association International, Hartford Currant, summer 1988

    [The United States is] a once-Christian nation that has been force-fed the poisons of paganism. Pat Buchanan, Right from the Beginning, 1988

    Our goal must be simple: We must have a Christian Nation built on God’s law, on the Ten Commandments. No apologies. Randall Terry, speech during anti-abortion rally in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, July 1993

    There are 15,700 school districts in America. When we get an active Christian parents’ committee in all districts, we can take complete control of all local school boards. This would allow us to determine all local policy; select good textbooks; good curriculum programs; superintendents and principals. Our time has come! Robert Simonds, Citizens for Excellence in Education, undated fund-raising letter

    …If a local community provides for school prayer, and the children of that community voluntarily choose to participate in it, this collective decision allows God to intercede in the public dimension of that community. Restoring school prayer will allow God’s angels to leap into action to arrest hellish energy patterns before they can sprout and spill over into the public square. Steven Showers, Director of The School Prayer Resource Center, Newbury Park, California, in a letter to The Simi Valley Star & Enterprise, January 1, 1995
    The Constitution of the United States is a marvelous document for self government by Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that’s what’s been happening. Pat Robertson, December 30, 1981 “700 Club”

    Oopsie, Joe, you just got backed into a corner. Have fun trying to get out of it.


  5. Joe writes:
    In reference to Judaeo/Christian ethics, I wasn’t referring to Catholicism of which is the type of Christendom you are referencing.

    since I didn’t see this at the time..let me save myself from falling over laughing, Joe.

    Oh no, little one, it wasn’t just Catholicism that preached that. So did..well…most of Protestantism too. Or do you really think, for example, King Henry the 8th was Catholic his entire life? Tell me…when he became something other then Catholic did he give up his right to rule? Did he say that he no longer was King as ordained by God? Ah also chastised the Anglican church. Well last time I checked the Anglican church had very little presence in France, Norway, Sweden or Denmark. Just to name a few. There really wasn’t a country in Europe that didn’t hold to this “Divine Right to Rule” mandate.

    Neither Protestantism nor Catholicism preached anything but “Divine Right to Rule by Kings.” Christianity didn’t decide to join the democracy game until after the founding of the United States…not before.

    To quote:
    were trying to get away from the Catholic and Anglican domination.

    They were trying to get away from the other denominations too. Oh and by the way, I and my fellow Catholics are the single largest religious group in this country. Have been for about 100 years now. and unlike the evangelical protestants..we’re a growing group.

    But considering how often that evangelical Protestants pull this nonsense of “The laws of the United States must follow God’s law” and considering how often you jokers try sticking mandatory prayer into the government and the public would seem to me, Joe, that you and your fellow evangelical protestants have taken over the bad habits of the Catholic church of old.

    After all, it was my fellow Catholics who got organized school prayer removed from the public schools. It was my fellow Catholics who stopped the government from favoring evangelical Protestantism. It was my fellow Catholics who stopped your precious evangelical Protestantism from treating us Catholics and others as second class citizens not deserving of equal treatment or equal rights.

    So no, you don’t get to hide behind the mask of “we protestants are oh so innocent.” Your precious evangelical Protestants, Joe, now are as bad as the Rome of old you rail against.

    And instead of opposing them you either turn a blind eye or you cheer them on.


  6. lowerleavell says:

    Ed said, “Surprised to see you attack faith-based initiatives, Joe.

    Is it a genuine conversion on your part to separation of church and state? Or is this a sign of incipient bigotry?”

    I’m on the fence for faith based initiatives because I believe that the church shouldn’t be looking to the government to do what Jesus commands…but that’s not what this grant is about. It is a 9/11 development grant for lower manhattan. They’ve had 265 companies ask for $175 million and only $17 mil is available. If they get this grant, I would want to know why they are worthy of over 1/4 of the entire grant allocations. One of the companies that applied and was denied was the WTC Families for a Proper Burial. Why is this Park 51 developer more worthy?

    It wasn’t really an attempt to get into another pointless discussion – more of a “this story keeps coming up” sort of a post than anything.

    Nic said, “Because Christianity had spent the preceding near 2000 years promoting the idea of “Divine right to rule by Kings.””

    In reference to Judaeo/Christian ethics, I wasn’t referring to Catholicism of which is the type of Christendom you are referencing. I’m talking about Christianity as described by the Bible, not man-made traditionalism which is said to be equal with Scripture (which included Divine Right). You can’t expect the “church” to outlaw the reading of the Bible and then expect people to understand how to live it. There’s a reason they’re commonly called “The Dark Ages.” Look back to early Christianity before the Bible was outlawed by Rome and you’ll find some of the best citizens in the Roman empire. Many of our countries founders were trying to get away from the Catholic and Anglican domination. Ironic that it is the day before Thanksgiving – those weren’t Catholics coming to Plymouth. I can’t see Roman Catholicism setting up anything but a puppet government of the Pope like it did time and again in Europe. You can still see the pull of Catholicism in South and Latin America and I’m thankful to live in the US.

    A lot of the principles from our country find their root in Puritan and Congregationalist’s study of Scripture when the Bible was made available for the common man. Those are the ethics that I’m talking about.


  7. Nick K says:

    Oh and just because I figure Morgan is going to open his fat mouth, I’ll give him a little lesson.

    You see, Morgan, when George W Bush initated that “faith based initatives” program of his it meant that religious programs could come to the United States government and recieve federal money for their social programs. But you see…since the federal government is barred from discriminating against any religious group thanks to both the 1st and 14th admendments to the US constitution that means the government can’t sit there and go “We’ll give money to this group…but not to that one.” Though I’m quite sure Bush and his cronies were ignoring that law.

    So that means thanks to George W Bush that muslim group you hate so much in New York for daring to build a mosque on a site where there is already a mosque can get federal money. It’s what is called in the legal realm “precedent.”

    Now Ed and I and other liberals opposed the “faith based initatives” idea because we believed it was unconstitutional and a violation of the separation of church and state.

    But no… conservatives thought you knew better.

    Its just one more example of how conservatives never bother listening to those who know more and understand better then them.


  8. Nick K says:

    Lower writes:

    Real quick – regarding self governance: one of the reasons people are fighting to hard to preserve a Judeo/Christian ethic is because of the type of positive self governance that these values produce. You’re right James, not all forms of self governance are equal, depending on your world view.

    Really? It’s the Judeo/Christian ethic that promotes self governance? Tell me…when was that? Because it seems to me that Christianity only starting believing in that after the founding of the United States. Because Christianity had spent the preceding near 2000 years promoting the idea of “Divine right to rule by Kings.” Along with the idea of that the masses should accept their lot in life because that was their fate as decreed by God. Which, by the by, is the apparent belief system your side of the political fence is so busy promoting.

    It isn’t that Judeo/Christian ethic influenced the self governance of the United States. It’s that the positive self governance of the United States influenced the Judeo/Christian ethic.

    And as for your decrying that 5 million dollars. I’m sure you’re willing to accept that no Christian church…or house of worship of any other religion for that matter, should get government funding right? You agree with, when it comes to church and state, its all of them or none of them right?

    And I find it hilarious that you’re whining about “its the story that won’t die” when its your side of the political fence that insisted it was a story in the first place. In fact you were part and particle of making it a story.


  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Surprised to see you attack faith-based initiatives, Joe.

    Is it a genuine conversion on your part to separation of church and state? Or is this a sign of incipient bigotry?


  10. lowerleavell says:

    Man, it’s the story that won’t die! Now the builders of the mosque are asking for 5 million in government funding. Sigh…

    Real quick – regarding self governance: one of the reasons people are fighting to hard to preserve a Judeo/Christian ethic is because of the type of positive self governance that these values produce. You’re right James, not all forms of self governance are equal, depending on your world view.

    If you take a utilitarian worldview, I’m surprised that you’re not opposed to the mosque as the outcome of these circumstances have been less than ideal/pleasurable for both the propents and for those who disagree with the mosque (which is the desired outcome in your worldview). If you are a selfish hedonistic utilitarian, you are more of a narcissist than anything else. That viewpoint is exactly why our country is in the financial and moral difficulties that we are in – everyone looking out for number one, though most couldn’t describe what philosophical worldview they take as you did so eloquently. That type of self governance is more a brand of self lisence than it is self restraint. As in every area – turning to the Jesus of the Bible really IS the answer to our world’s problems. That’s one reason I call myself a Christian Hedonist. I find my utmost pleasure in God…the only one who is truly satisfying.

    Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! Thanking who? Oh yeah…this holiday comes from a Christian world view.


  11. Nick K says:

    Ed are we taking bets on whether Morgan thinks its a good idea that life insurance companies be allowed to cancel policies and refuse to pay out benefits after someone dies?


  12. Nick K says:

    And I’m sure Morgan thinks that George Bush never ever did anything that ever violated the US constitution or International law.

    Morgan is a clear cut example of what happens when a person is spoonfed bullshit all his/her life.


  13. Ed Darrell says:

    I see Morgan has fallen victim to the Tea Party “Look-there’s-something-shiny” brand of politics.

    Morgan can’t tell us what Obama has done to get around the Constitution, as Morgan alleges, but he’s sure all those people who recognize when someone doesn’t have talent are in error . . .

    I’ll wager Morgan thinks himself a “skeptic” about climate change (“somebody has to stand up to the experts”), favors some form of creationism for public school science classes, and is just certain that the First Amendment doesn’t mean what it says, but instead was intended to establish Christianity as the nation’s state faith.

    Anti-vaxxer, too? Pro-DDT?

    The character in Annie Hall may have liked being reduced to a cultural stereotype, but it’s ugly in voters when the stereotype is pseudo-patriotis ignoramus.


  14. […] examples of what I’m talking about vis a vis the mosque issue, you can read up over here. You’ll see the other side has very little else to say besides “we think you’re a […]


  15. The proof of that is that neither you, Morgan, or anyone else has ever uttered one word in protest against the mosque that is already sitting on that land. Nor did you, Morgan or anyone else utter one word of protest a year ago when they proposed this new building.

    Bzzt. You lose, Nick. Again.

    This has been addressed.



    Learn to read.


  16. Nick K says:

    Because, Lower, the fear mongering, the paranoid claims and the bigotry that your side is showing is far more offensive then one little mosque set aside in a large building.


  17. Nick K says:

    Lower, why should they expect that there would be a problem with their proposal and practice “self governance” for it? It’s not like the mosque that is actually sitting there now has been a problem with you and yours.

    You and yours chose to be offended and you chose to be offended for dishonest reasons. The proof of that is that neither you, Morgan, or anyone else has ever uttered one word in protest against the mosque that is already sitting on that land. Nor did you, Morgan or anyone else utter one word of protest a year ago when they proposed this new building.

    They are not responsible for your offense just as they are not responsible for what happened on 9-11. They owe you nothing and you can prattle on about “self governance” all you want but its time you, Morgan and the rest of you practice some self governance. After all…there’s quite a lot of Islamophobia going around the country and you, Morgan, and the rest are responsible for formenting that.

    Do not expect self governance out of others when you do not practice it yourself.


  18. James Hanley says:


    You contradict yourself. You say you accept that self-governance doesn’t lead to a particular outcome, but then you say that if people would govern themselves, then we wouldn’t need cops, there’d be no drunk drivers, etc. So you are assuming particular outcomes from self-governance.

    And your argument all along has been, “if the mosque builders would engage in self-government, they wouldn’t build it.”

    I get that you accept the outcome (which, no, doesn’t mean you have to like it), and of course I support your right to continue arguing against it. But you are contradicting yourself on the concept of self-governance, and you still seem to be implicitly assuming the mosque-builders haven’t engaged in it, or they’d do something different.

    Two other quick points. First, you misrepresent me on the pastor Jones issue. I’ve said clearly that people choose to take offense. If he burns Korans and people get offended, that’s their choice and I don’t respect it. But I also don’t respect book burners, period.

    Second, I’m a utilitarian, not a moralist. I despise moralism. It inevitably leads to people claiming other people ought to be controlled so they don’t “harm” us (when what is really meant by harm is “offend”). Live and let live, and abide by Jefferson’s words: “It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg, so who gives a damn?” (Warning: slightly paraphrased!)


  19. lowerleavell says:

    James, I said I would respond to your comments on self government and I have not been able to until this morning. I hope you will forgive my slow reply, but I haven’t been able to blog at all for quite a while. So, here is what I believe you were refering to when you said I hadn’t responded to your thoughts on self government. If it isn’t the right part, please let me know to what you were refering:

    “But your error is in assuming that self-governance must have a particular outcome. Who are you to say they haven’t been engaging in self-governance, and keeping their project there is the decision they’ve come to? If you are sincere about the issue being inviting them to self governance, rather than demanding a particular outcome (and using the claim of invitation to self governance as mere cover), then you have to accept that the outcome of that self-governance may not be to your liking.

    This also happens every day in America–units of the self-governing municipalities, states, and federal government making decisions that any number of people don’t like. That doesn’t mean it isn’t self-governance. Because of differing interests, the outcomes of self-governance cannot help but go against some people’s preferences.”

    I for one, have not demanded or said that there “must” be a particular outcome. Millions of people do things on a daily basis that I disagree with, yet they have the freedom to do so. People are cheating on their spouses, aborting their babies, wasting all their time in front fo the TV and video games, etc. Trust me, I understand the ramifications of believing in self government, as did the founders of our country. Hence, the quote I gave from John Adams that this country will only work in a moralistic society. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with every choice someone makes or have to “shut up” about it – as I refuse to do so with the examples I gave. The answers politicians always give is “more police – more military – etc.” and I can’t blame them because they can’t change people’s hearts. I know I’m speaking idealistically, but if people would govern their own actions, police would not be much less needed. If people would only govern their own actions, no war on drugs would be necessary and the drug trade would dry up. If people would only govern themselves, then there wouldn’t have to be such low test scores in schools where kids struggle just to read their diploma. If people would govern themselves, no one else would have to die from a drunk driver. At some point in time, we have to look at our countries failures and each take personal responsibility for their own actions instead of looking to someone outside of ourself (i.e. the government) to fix them for us. “Personal” and “responsibility” are two words that you don’t see hand in hand much anymore but I’m a firm believer in that principle.

    As it relates to the mosque – I do accept the outcome. Both Morgan and I have said multiple times that we said we would. But you and Nic especially, assume that means that we should be “ok” with it. Not at all. I respect their rights to be there and will obviously move on with my life, but that doesn’t mean I have to be giddy about a mosque being built in the destructive path of twin towers.

    If you continue to argue against me, you’ll have to defend your reasons – after all, I’m not “harming” anyone, am I? If you truly practice what you are preaching in relation to self-governance, you will celebrate every legal expression of it – including the things you don’t agree with – like Morgan and my posts. Let me explain this way: You believe I am a bigot – you and Nic also believe that over 60% of the US are bigots, including the archbishop of NYC. Don’t we have that right to self governance? And if you don’t like it, shouldn’t you just drop it anyway just because it’s not the outcome you desire? Nic is expecting me to “shut up” for only one reason – he disagrees with me. So, while I understand what you’re saying about self governance, you’re not practicing what you’re preaching by giving me the same rights. I have no problem with you disagreeing with me, as long as you have no problem with my disagreeing with Imam Rauf. Make sense?

    On top of that, since my posts already exist, that should even give more reason for you to not to vocalize your opposing view, right? After all, Nic said that mosque has been at that location for years (it hasn’t, and he still hasn’t produced documentation saying it has), and since they’re already there, we should no longer have problems with it. That’s the logic, and yet I am doubtful that since these words are written down before his, they will deter him from writing a snarky response.

    You and Nic also make the case that the mosque is not “harming” anyone. This logic doesn’t either make the building of the mosque either right or wrong. This is more directed towards Nic, but what “harm” was Pastor Jones doing (he himself) by burning the Quran? He was majorly offending other people (which, as you say, offense is a choice) who themselves would have done something “harmful” but the only case of real harm that you could make to him personally was that he would be polluting – which is the only logical reason why he couldn’t get a burning permit.

    You would blame Jones for radical terrorists being offended by the burning of the Quran, and yet blame the GOP for the provacations of Imam Rauf building a mosque 400 ft. and one block away from a building that was destroyed in 9/11 (building 7). I see some inconsistencies on your guys’ part. Why is Jones to blame for his provocations and Rauf not to blame? Even if he did not understand that it would be offensive to others, he certainly does now and yet continues anyway. So you can’t say he is naive in that regard. He continues to wilfully pursue the mosque though he knows it offends millions of people. How then is he not being provacative?

    I also want to ask, why is “harm” the only measure of what is good self-governance or not? Do you know how many actions you can justify because of pragmatically asking, “what’s the harm?” That seems to be the ruling argument these days for self-governance: if it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s ok. But two problems: 1) it is only a negative, and not a positive – it may not harm, but is it helpful? I could pine away the hours playing video games and make the case that I’m not harming anyway – yet it is not good self governance. Many people make really poor decisions based on the logic of “what’s the harm?” instead of “how does this help?”. 2) While something may not directly harm others, you may be harming yourself and thereby indirectly harming others around you. People justify looking at porn online because no one else knows and it’s not hurting anyone – but indeed they are scarring themselves morally and emotionally by changing sexuality into a cheap self gratifying narcissism rather than an act of selfless love…which in turn, is harmful to their spouse or loved ones. So, when someone says, “what’s the ‘harm’, to me, it usually means that they haven’t thought through their actions very far and are merely using pragmatics to justify their behavior. It’s popular to do that these days -but it doesn’t make it right.

    Hope that answers what I said I would respond to James. Sorry again that it took me so long to get back to you.


  20. Nick K says:

    Morgan writes:
    So Nick approves of 79% of Republicans. Interesting.

    If 79% of Republicans would stop being right wing jackanapes and go back to being center-right then yes I would approve of them.

    If the 79% of Republicans would stand up to the 21% being jackasses with regards to that mosque then yes I would approve of them.

    And I’d even approve of you and Lower if you two would bother to realize that the mosque there isn’t going to affect you or anyone else at all. And the proof of that? Because the mosque that is already there hasn’t affected you or anyone else at all.

    But then your side does have a habit of mouthing the words “family values” or other little jingos like that…and turning a blind eye to those of you who act the opposite. Your side does have a habit of mouthing the words “honoring the dead” while simutaneously using them as political props. Though the more accurate term there would be “political whores.”


  21. Nick K says:

    And sure…there isn’t a broad dose of Islamophobia sweeping the country…..

    The idea of a Muslim on a Congressional task force on anti-Semitism is just too much for a group ironically called Americans Against Hate, which spends much of its time bashing Muslims. The group’s founder, Joe Kaufman, wants committee chair Ron Klein (D-Ft. Lauderdale) to remove Ellison. (h/t Think Progress)

    Kaufman said, “Representative Klein has both the authority and the responsibility to remove Keith Ellison from the Congressional Task Force on Anti-Semitism, a group that Ellison has no business being on. We demand that he does so immediately. Every day that Ellison sits on that task force is an offense to those who fell victim to anti-Semitism and/or radical Islam.”

    Kaufman says his group is targeting the nation’s first Muslim Congress member because of Ellison’s radical activities and his “associations” with groups that are “connected” to terrorism. The proof Kaufman presents is Ellison’s trip to Gaza in April.

    Kaufman has also been busy railing against Muslim family day at Six Flags Great Adventure, such as his rant on Fox News.


  22. So Nick approves of 79% of Republicans. Interesting.


  23. Nick K says:

    So…according to Public Policy Polling, the right wing would support the building of a strip joint two blocks from the WTC site more then it would support building a mosque.

    Yep, that’s real family values there and real concern for the honor of the victims.

    Just 4% of Republican voters support building the Ground Zero mosque. But 21% say they would support a Ground Zero strip club!


  24. Jim Stanley says:

    The equation of today’s extremist tea party movement with the patriots of the 1770’s is rather akin to likening the “White Pride” Council of Conservative Citizens with the Civil Rights activists of the 1950’s and 60’s. After all, both the CCC and the Freedom Riders were going on about the rights of a given race. The tea partiers and the colonists were hot and bothered about taxes. Same thing.

    Except that’s not the historical record. There’s a gargantuan chasm between complaining about taxes today and protesting taxation without representation almost 240 years ago. We have representation today. We may not be happy with it. But then, we have elections. Or we can run for office ourselves. Our founders had no such recourse. Not where Parliament was concerned.

    And then there’s the matter of quartering of troops in private homes. Get back to me when President Obama starts in on that one. (Of course, if one listens to Glenn Beck or the various conspiracy theorists…his nefarious plans for us are just around the next corner.)


  25. Nick K says:

    Tell me, Morgan, how you going to pay for the military without taxes? Or the roads? Or the FAA? The FDIC? The CIA, NSA and the FBI?

    Sorry, despite your delusion to the contrary that the United States was founded by people trying to avoid bother to remember the cry at the Boston Tea Party was “No taxes without representation.” The key part of the phrase is “without representation” not “No taxes.”

    In other words..they weren’t complaining about the taxes..they were complaining that they didn’t have any representation in Parliament.


  26. Nick K says:

    THe tyrant, Morgan, is you. You’re the one trying to take away a groups rights simply because you don’t like them.

    In the end the only reason you’re so up in arms is because they’re Muslims. If it was a group of Christians doing it after a crazed Christian terrorist group attacked us you’d be as silent as a stone.

    Sorry, the 9-11 attacks didn’t change the rules..didn’t change the law..didn’t change the US Constitution on where someone may or may not worship. You have a simple choice. Accept that and get on with your miserable life….or leave.

    There’s the door, make your choice.


  27. Nick K says:

    Morgan writes:

    What Parliament had been doing, is the same as what Imam Rauf is doing, something that tyrants have always done: I’m making big plans that will have a big effect on you, by design. But you have no right to participate in, or to even know, what I am doing. Mind your own business…while I mind your business.

    Considering that there has been a mosque on that exact spot for years and you either didn’t know about it or did know about it and didn’t care your claim that the mosque will “have a big effect on you” is nothing more then bulls–t hyperbole. If your side of this argument hadn’t made it a big controversy, Morgan, you would have gone through life not giving a damn about that mosque…just like you were doing before.

    You’re being more like King George III then the Imam is. You’re the one demanding that it he has to do what you want because you say so.


  28. James Hanley says:


    Amusing. You accuse others of behaving as you yourself behave. Projection’s even easier to spot than lies. Repeat as often as you want that I wouldn’t mock you if my argument was stronger, but the reality is that I mock you because your arguments are so weak.

    Here’s my final word. If Rauf doesn’t buckle under to pressure and build his community center/mosque, this hoopla will disappear entirely within 5 years. That’s my prediction, and I’m willing to put a wager on it.


  29. Ed Darrell says:

    Classic Ed Darrell maneuver. The snippet excerpted above, is your entire bone of contention against what I said. And yet, as you go through an summarize the causes of the revolution, where do you substantiate that the nation was founded on a yes we will?

    Wouldn’t be my entire bone of contention, but it knocks the legs off of your claim.  Your entire premise, that the U.S. was founded to avoid taxes, is quite contrary to history.

    What Parliament had been doing, is the same as what Imam Rauf is doing, something that tyrants have always done: I’m making big plans that will have a big effect on you, by design. But you have no right to participate in, or to even know, what I am doing. Mind your own business…while I mind your business.

    Another piece of entirely fat, complete fatuousness.  Rauf has no authority to do anything, he is merely exercising his duties and rights as a citizen.  In contrast, Parliament was requiring Americans to pay for war that, to them, they had already paid for, especially in blood. (Never mind that the taxes were incredibly low on Americans, and generally easy to pay.  Franklin’s hyperbole was directed at the will to pay the taxes, not the amount.  The tea tax, in particular, was a tiny fraction of the cost of tea, and easily payable, as your account showed.)

    Comparing Rauf to King George III is like saying John McCain is in league with Osama bin Laden — completely fatuous, and absurd on its face.


  30. mkfreeberg says:

    Our nation was founded on the words “Yes we will.”

    Classic Ed Darrell maneuver. The snippet excerpted above, is your entire bone of contention against what I said. And yet, as you go through an summarize the causes of the revolution, where do you substantiate that the nation was founded on a yes we will?

    Looks like a pre-canned monologue you had prepared for some other argument about Congress’ authority to tax, Ed. That’s not the issue here.

    Great Britain approached the colonists with an unlikely legal argument: Not quite so much that Parliament had the power to tax without representation, but that the colonies were virtually represented in Parliament. As Ben Franklin said in his examination before Parliament, the colonies were rankled by this notion something fierce, but the Stamp Act was the straw that broke the camel’s back because it opened the floodgates and made revolution unavoidable: “In my opinion there is not gold and silver enough in the Colonies to pay the stamp duty for one year.” The colonists were backed into a corner, placed in a situation where they required sovereignty for continuing survival.

    What Parliament had been doing, is the same as what Imam Rauf is doing, something that tyrants have always done: I’m making big plans that will have a big effect on you, by design. But you have no right to participate in, or to even know, what I am doing. Mind your own business…while I mind your business.

    Yes, very few of the colonists were in favor of Independence. They preferred to go with established law that said Britain was their native land, the King was sovereign, and to speak of Independence was treason.

    Like any revolution, this one re-defined what established law was. That’s the whole point. A revolution is about the word “no” and it’s a more than a little silly to think it’s about the word “yes.”

    Just goes to show: With DarrellogicTM, you can make anything appear reasonable.


  31. […] then there is Ed Darrell’s page…yup, it’s about the Mosque in Manhattan. That’s really the same situation, when […]


  32. Ed Darrell says:

    The point is, that this country was founded on a tax revolt; it was founded on the word “NO.”

    Oh, ye of little history knowledge!

    No, this nation was not founded on a tax revolt. In fact, it was founded because a lack of taxing authority produced financial disaster. Our nation was founded on the words “Yes we will.”

    The revolution was caused by the British over-reaction to the colonists provocative protests of being taxed without having a say in how things were decided. Was the tea tax as important to most colonists as the Stamp Act? Were either as important as the ill will caused by King George III’s Proclamation of 1763 which forbade colonists from venturing west of the Appalachians?

    It’s difficult to make a case that over-taxation was the cause. As you indicated, the tax itself was small, and easily payable.

    In the grand scheme of things, the American Revolution was a multi-cause action — and there were a lot of other causes before anyone got close to being upset at the level of taxation. Americans were willing to reconcile, even after the “battles” of Lexington and Concord — but the British Parliament and King George declared the colonies “in rebellion,” declared that the colonies were no longer to benefit from the protection of British military might against any enemy, and instituted martial law in occupied Boston.

    Even then the colonists did not muster a majority for independence. Estimates were that even after Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, “Common Sense,” inflamed patriot passions, no more than 40% of the colonists favored independence — there were as many loyalists, through the entire war.

    And now I’m out of time and have to run, so we’ll short circuit the explanations, and merely point out that the Constitution is the founding document of this nation, not the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution was written to overcome several independently-fatal flaws of the Articles of Confederation, including that the Articles granted no taxing power to the Congress, so the government could not pay debts.

    It was, ultimately, that ability to pay debts, and the required power to tax to create that ability, that made the new United States of America work.

    The U.S. was founded in order to tax, not as a protest to taxes.


  33. mkfreeberg says:

    Brilliant response that makes perfect sense. Congratulations, you won the argument.

    THAT is what I’d be saying to you…if this was about religious oppression.

    But it isn’t.

    You say you aren’t a liberal, but you can’t seem to get a message out, sensible or otherwise, without some speech about why the other guy’s views should be dismissed. Just like an intellectually lazy liberal. Now you’re making fun of my thesaurus…

    I’m thinking if you had some more confidence in this view of the world as you see it, which supposedly is so correct that it shouldn’t be open to challenge, you wouldn’t be conducting the discussion that way.


  34. James Hanley says:


    “Fevered desperation?” Well, you’ve got an imagination, to be sure. Or maybe just a thesaurus.

    Again, the colonists revolted against oppression of their rights. That puts them more in line with Imam Rauf than with the masses who oppose his exercise of his rights.

    But you just go on believing that you and that overwhelming majority who oppose the mosque are truly the oppressed ones. That’s just par for the course in your inability to make even the most simple logical arguments.


  35. mkfreeberg says:

    And the people that are trying to prevent the Muslims from exercising their liberty to build their mosque, they’re just like the oppressed colonists, eh?

    You’ve got that comparison completely b-ass-ackward, as we say in my part of the world.

    I once before said I’m done with you. If I had any sense at all I would have stuck to that. Your ability to spew complete nonsense makes my soul ache.

    Your fevered desperation is unbecoming.


    1773 In an effort to prop up the financially troubled East India Company, Parliament passed the Tea Act, granting it a virtual monopoly over the British tea market and allowing direct sales access to the colonies (colonial merchants were cut out of the loop entirely). As a consequence, East India Company tea cost the least of any available tea, foreign or domestic. Following the retention of the 3 pence Townshend duty on tea in 1770, colonists had generally boycotted British brands, turning instead to contraband Dutch brews. An estimated 90 percent of all tea consumed in the colonies was of the Dutch variety, so patriots could sip cheaply while avoiding the despised revenue duty altogether. Now, even with the Townshend duty added, East India tea remained the least expensive. Because the tax seemed “hidden” in this manner, colonists viewed the Tea Act as an underhanded way to foist the tax, and Parliamentary taxation power, onto the colonies. Lord North fundamentally miscalculated the unity and magnitude of the colonial response.

    “The Bostonians paying the excise-man or tarring & feathering,” 1774. Artist: Philip Dawe(?), Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. (larger version)

    On the night of December 16, Massachusetts Patriots disguised as Indians illegally boarded the Dartmouth, a cargo ship bearing 342 chests of East India Tea valued at about £10,000. In defiance of Governor Thomas Hutchinson and British tax authority in general, the intruders dumped the entire shipment into Boston Harbor, precipitating a crisis that would lead to revolution.

    1774 In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament passed a series of Coercive Acts (dubbed Intolerable Acts by the Colonists) to reestablish British dominion over the insubordinate colonies. The Massachusetts Government Act annulled the colonial charter of 1691, restricting the power of the House of Representatives and banning most local town assemblies. A Port Bill closed Boston Harbor until restitution was made to the East India Company. None was forthcoming.

    The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in September. The Congress passed a Declaration of Rights and Grievances condemning the Coercive Acts and repudiating the Declaratory Act of 1766. By this date, colonists, including Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson, contended that Parliamentary Acts pertaining to America were void. They justified this position not on the basis of the legislation’s unjust character, as had been the case in 1765, but because they had come to deny that Parliament had any right to exercise authority over the colonies at all. Sovereignty could not logically be divided in a political system, the argument ran; according to John Adams, two supreme authorities could not exist in the same state, any more than two supreme beings could exist in the same universe.

    The point is, that this country was founded on a tax revolt; it was founded on the word “NO.”

    Objecting to things, with a sound reason, is as American as apple pie. In fact, our history is fairly chock-full of stories where some question had an answer that was clear as a bell according to written and established law — and then, once a sleeping giant was roused to anger, the question was settled a different way. The nation was born that way. You just got caught not knowing this important fact…while opining rather smugly about what American principles are.

    Dunning-Kruger, indeed. Think we found a new textbook case.


  36. James Hanley says:

    Wow, MKF, your lack of self-awareness is truly astonishing. The British were the oppressors, denying the colonists liberty right? And you’re comparing them to the Muslims trying to build Park 51?

    And the people that are trying to prevent the Muslims from exercising their liberty to build their mosque, they’re just like the oppressed colonists, eh?

    You’ve got that comparison completely b-ass-ackward, as we say in my part of the world.

    I once before said I’m done with you. If I had any sense at all I would have stuck to that. Your ability to spew complete nonsense makes my soul ache.


  37. mkfreeberg says:

    No concern for the interests of others, only for your own feelings. That is hardly in the tradition of great American ideals.

    Actually, the British could easily have argued exactly that about the American Revolution. And I’m sure they did. How inconsiderate of you colonists, showing resistance to our taxes. Aw gee, we’re just flexing the legislative muscle of His Majesty’s House of Lords.

    Sometimes, saying no is a key component to survival. That, really, is the founding principle of the United States.

    More perspective on the wonderful Imam:


  38. James Hanley says:


    Perhaps those Muslims are scared of people like you and MKF–or, that is, those who hold your views but unlike you guys go beyond arguing on blogs to take action into their own hands. I think neither of you have any real idea what it’s like to be an unpopular minority in this country, and the kind of never-ending uncertainty and low-level fear it can entail.

    The claim that there’s not a need for more mosque space in New York is false. The mosque several blocks away from GZ is overcrowded. That’s been reported frequently.

    But you are still ducking the question about self-governance. I’m beginning to think you are ducking it because you have realized it won’t take you where you want to go.

    You’ve also never provided an answer to the question of why it’s really any of your business. Why you can’t just live and let live.

    But frankly, this debate has become very wearisome. MKF continues to accuse us of intolerance while we’re the ones standing up for those who are the subject of criticism by a howling mob; who are targeted for suppression of their goals by the majority. Yes, in one of those grotesque perversions of language that would have George Orwell sadly saying, “I told you so,” defense of a targeted minority becomes intolerance, rather than the targeting itself.

    I’ll ask another question again, that nobody’s answered. Do you really think that people will be protesting Park 51 two decades, three decades from now? Try to look ahead, and recognize that the passions of the moment so often are merely passing fits, not deeply considered and long-lasting concerns. Whatever happened to the loud public demands for a balanced-budget amendment, or for a flag-burning amendment? This, too, shall pass.

    And meanwhile, that greatest of American virtues, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is threatened by people who insist that others only exercise their liberty in ways that are acceptable to the majority.

    You just make me sad. There is no courage in your stance, only fear. No love for liberty, only a desire for control. No concern for the interests of others, only for your own feelings. That is hardly in the tradition of great American ideals.


  39. mkfreeberg says:

    Just noticed something else:

    Klavan’s video seems to capture the spirit of, among other things, Imam Rauf’s responses to his critics. Every single one he and his wife have made since this Mosque issue has become a controversy, so far as I can tell. Very strange behavior indeed, for a guy who’s trying to construct a fellowship center, build bridges, heal divides, yadda yadda yadda.

    This seems, more and more, like one of those situations where someone’s defining “peace” to be “nobody oppose me”…and “harmony” to be “everyone just do what I say.” The more questions you ask about this, the stranger it smells.

    Which is a perfectly satisfactory answer to Nick’s questions about why weren’t we objecting to this months & years ago. Every question answered raises two or three more, so some flags got raised. Nothing’s really happened to lower our flags again. Just a bunch of snooty liberals telling us what we’re supposed to be thinking, that’s all.


  40. mkfreeberg says:


    I cannot predict word-for-word how Jim, Nick and Ed are going to respond to your latest. But I’m fairly sure you aren’t going to get a satisfactory response to that question you’ve asked five times. And I’m also sure when a reply comes back from one of those three, this video will cover the spirit of it:

    I’ll also bet some couch-cushion “found in the pants pocket while I was doin’ laundry” money that Nick is going to say something that begins with the words “Let’s see if Lower and Morgan…” a few more times.


  41. lowerleavell says:

    Nic says AGAIN: “There’s been a mosque on that spot for years, Morgan, and it pricked your conscience not one bit. it bothered you not at all. You didn’t worry about that Imam or his mosque until you got told to do so.”

    So…any time on that documentation that it has been there for ‘years.’ I think it’s about five times now you’ve said this even after I’ve given you the documentation that this site has been used for prayer for only a year.

    I’m working a lot of hours so I’m certainly not going to try and keep up on replying to every aspect of this conversation anymore. I simply don’t have time. Priorities – you understand, right?

    That being said, one thing that I asked that no one responded to was concerning those who are Muslim who oppose the mosque. Are they also bigots? Here is an article written by two Muslims in Canada:

    Last week, a journalist who writes for the North Country Times, a small newspaper in Southern California, sent us an e-mail titled “Help.” He couldn’t understand why an Islamic Centre in an area where Adam Gadahn, Osama bin Laden’s American spokesman came from, and that was home to three of the 911 terrorists, was looking to expand.

    The man has a very valid point, which leads to the ongoing debate about building a Mosque at Ground Zero in New York. When we try to understand the reasoning behind building a mosque at the epicentre of the worst-ever attack on the U.S., we wonder why its proponents don’t build a monument to those who died in the attack?

    (Gallery: The Ground Zero Mosque debate)

    New York currently boasts at least 30 mosques so it’s not as if there is pressing need to find space for worshippers. The fact we Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel. The proposal has been made in bad faith and in Islamic parlance, such an act is referred to as “Fitna,” meaning “mischief-making” that is clearly forbidden in the Koran.

    The Koran commands Muslims to, “Be considerate when you debate with the People of the Book” — i.e., Jews and Christians. Building an exclusive place of worship for Muslims at the place where Muslims killed thousands of New Yorkers is not being considerate or sensitive, it is undoubtedly an act of “fitna”

    So what gives Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the “Cordoba Initiative” and his cohorts the misplaced idea that they will increase tolerance for Muslims by brazenly displaying their own intolerance in this case?

    Do they not understand that building a mosque at Ground Zero is equivalent to permitting a Serbian Orthodox church near the killing fields of Srebrenica where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered?

    There are many questions that we would like to ask. Questions about where the funding is coming from? If this mosque is being funded by Saudi sources, then it is an even bigger slap in the face of Americans, as nine of the jihadis in the Twin Tower calamity were Saudis.

    If Rauf is serious about building bridges, then he could have dedicated space in this so-called community centre to a church and synagogue, but he did not. We passed on this message to him through a mutual Saudi friend, but received no answer. He could have proposed a memorial to the 9/11 dead with a denouncement of the doctrine of armed jihad, but he chose not to.

    It’s a repugnant thought that $100 million would be brought into the United States rather than be directed at dying and needy Muslims in Darfur or Pakistan.

    Let’s not forget that a mosque is an exclusive place of worship for Muslims and not an inviting community centre. Most Americans are wary of mosques due to the hard core rhetoric that is used in pulpits. And rightly so. As Muslims we are dismayed that our co-religionists have such little consideration for their fellow citizens and wish to rub salt in their wounds and pretend they are applying a balm to sooth the pain.

    The Koran implores Muslims to speak the truth, even if it hurts the one who utters the truth. Today we speak the truth, knowing very well Muslims have forgotten this crucial injunction from Allah.

    If this mosque does get built, it will forever be a lightning rod for those who have little room for Muslims or Islam in the U.S. We simply cannot understand why on Earth the traditional leadership of America’s Muslims would not realize their folly and back out in an act of goodwill.

    As for those teary-eyed, bleeding-heart liberals such as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and much of the media, who are blind to the Islamist agenda in North America, we understand their goodwill.

    Unfortunately for us, their stand is based on ignorance and guilt, and they will never in their lives have to face the tyranny of Islamism that targets, kills and maims Muslims worldwide, and is using liberalism itself to destroy liberal secular democratic societies from within.”


  42. Nick K says:

    Morgan writes:
    Ed, this is the “Region-free zone in New York” thread. I’m sure you have some other place to discuss the Obama administration’s inadequacies, and their failure to recognize them.

    If by Obama you mean Bush and the Republican party’s failure to recognize their inadequacies and even bigger failure to recognize that it was their policies who dug us into this economic hole in the first place…economic policies they’re more then willing to continue in their quest to destroy the middle class.


  43. Nick K says:

    Morgan writes:
    Spotting someone who’s being deceptive with you, and himself, is not so complicated a thing.

    Hereby titled Morgan’s “Miss Cleo defense.”

    Well Morgan, you’re being deceptive with us and yourself. Evidence? Because I said so.

    That’s pretty much what you’re saying there, Morgan.


  44. James Hanley says:

    Wait, hold everything. Is this your “evidence” of Rauf’s dishonesty or “inconsistency,” Freeberg?

    Spotting someone who’s being deceptive with you, and himself, is not so complicated a thing.

    You do have more than, “I see it,” don’t you?

    I mean, on the one hand you’re sort of right about how easy it is to spot someone deceptive. It’s been marvelously easy to spot your deceptions here. But we’ve actually pointed to your contradictions time and again. So I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you provide the evidence for the “inconsistencies” that make it so easy for you to spot Rauf’s dishonesty.

    Put up or shut up, Morgie, ol’ pal.


  45. Ed Darrell says:

    Dunning-Kruger Effect!

    Ed, this is the “Region-free zone in New York” thread. I’m sure you have some other place to discuss the Obama administration’s inadequacies, and their failure to recognize them.

    None of the Obama administration’s problems can be laid to the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Larry Summers, for example, the engineer of the great economic boom in the Clinton administration, is not thought by anyone to have the wrong idea that he clangs loudly like a bell. Instead, the difficulty is that there are too many Dunning-Kruger victims on the Republican side standing in the way of effective action to save the economy.

    Different syndrome altogether.


  46. James Hanley says:


    TARP was a Bush initiative, yet you’re still calling it a liberal initiative. Don’t you get tired of being dishonest? I mean, does it ever bother you to just keep putting out the same lie time after time?

    Re:Peggy Joseph. She’s not relevant to the issue here, so I have no idea why you’re bringing her up or even who she is. If she thinks Obama will pay her mortgage, she’s a moron, but she’s a moron who’s irrelevant to our debate here. Do try to stay focused and quit feeding us red herrings.

    The current question is, since you claim I recall incorrectly (entirely possible):
    What is your evidence for Rauf’s “Inconsistency”?

    This is a pretty crucial issue, since your whole claim against the mosque rests on it. Of course I might support the mosque even if Rauf is a liar, since I take a strong stand on supporting individual rights against the tyranny of the majority, so I can’t agree ahead of time that I would turn against Rauf even if you can persuade me he’s dishonest. My argument rests on his right to be left alone, not on his presumed honesty. But your argument seems to rest on his dishonesty, so let’s hear it.


Please play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes. While your e-mail will not show with comments, note that it is our policy not to allow false e-mail addresses. Comments with non-working e-mail addresses may be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: