I agree with Krauthammer and others. Ground Zero is hallowed ground, and a mosque in such close proximity is bad form. I don’t want it there. Except there’s this one sticking point that I just can’t get around:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Like it not, Islam is a religion. As adherents to the above words, we shouldn’t be in the business of prohibiting its free exercise, no matter where or how rude or how crass the place of worship. Unless the operators are militant Islamists intending to incite violence, or unless the building doesn’t meet code requirements, I’m not seeing the logic of protesting against it or the media-stoking. Changing the zoning code to disallow a mosque in that vicinity doesn’t make sense, unless the city bans all other places of worship in the same area. Banning a mosque but no other religious facilities would come into conflict the Establishment Clause, putting the government in the business of giving preferences to some religions over another. It pains me to say this, but the president is right.
To me, the best way to deal with unlikeable or unpleasant speech is to respond with more speech. In that vein, the way to deal with crass developers is with more development. I like Gutfield’s idea of a Muslim gay bar next door. Or here’s another one: A Muhammed cartoon shop. Or why not a twice-the-size Christian church. Or how about rebuilding Ground Zero already? I’d rather see a building that would make Americans proud instead of a hole in the ground or a mausoleum.