Fate of religious freedom or fate of religious organizations
Here is a test.
All religious organizations have the right to chose where they want to build a church of their choosing.
True or False?
All organizations, corporations and other legal entities have a right to chose where they want to build a building of their choosing.
True or False?
I bet many people might say true to the first proposition and false to the second.
Why should there be a difference?
In a nation that separates church from state, community decisions about what buildings get approved and what do not are governed by official representatives who typically have a development plan and zoning laws and other restrictions. They decide what is best suited for a neighborhood with regard to a vast number of considerations, some of which have to do with local tastes and desires.
If you treat religious organizations the same as any other, local authorities should be able to decide as they wish. In the instance of New York City, if local authorities decide they don’t want a mosque built at Ground Zero that should be their autonomous decision.
Slate is trying to make this a religious freedom issue and it is not.
“Creep the Faith--The broadening backlash against American Islam.
By William SaletanPosted Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, at 9:20 AM ET
Rick LazioTwo months ago, Rick Lazio, the leading Republican candidate for governor of New York, challenged his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, to investigate a proposed Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero. When Cuomo replied that the issue was religious freedom, Lazio insisted that his concerns were strictly about who would fund the project and what its imam had said about 9/11. "It's outrageous, honestly, that Andrew Cuomo is raising [the] issue of religion here," Lazio told a TV interviewer. "This is about security."
Last week, Lazio began running a new ad. It concluded with these words: "Call Andrew Cuomo and tell him a Ground Zero mosque is wrong."
A Ground Zero mosque. Not a mosque funded by radicals. Not a mosque run by somebody who said something controversial about 9/11. Not a mosque that recruits jihadists. A mosque—any mosque—near Ground Zero is wrong.
This is the latest frontier in the expanding campaign against the mosque. The initial allegations about money and extremism have receded to the background. In their place, candidates around the country are drawing a bright, categorical line against an Islamic house of worship near Ground Zero. It is a line based entirely on religion.”