Republicans Want to Seize a Mosque, So Let’s Start Seizing Churches

You heard me. They’re centers of right wing terrorism and will be used to establish Mosaic law in contravention of the United States Constitution. They will destroy our religious freedoms. They’re threats to public safety. And anyway, Christianity is not really a religion, but a cult.

Yes, these are the arguments that have been used against a 52,000 square foot mosque just outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where anti-Muslim activists are eager to have the government seize that mosque and, apparently, turn it over to some real Americans.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro mosque (ICM) is located on Veals Road off Bradyville Pike, lying just outside Murfreesboro city limits. The Rutherford County Planning Commission approved its construction in May of 2010. After several acts of vandalism, the mosque was finally opened on November 18, 2012.

They – in this case a list that includes Pat Robertson, who alleged bribery, and Herman Cain – tried to stop it from being built and failed.

In 2011, Hermann Cain told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, that he supported the citizens of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who were engaged in what he apparently thought of as the holy task of combating the construction of an evil, un-American mosque in their community.

Cain made an appearance in Murfreesboro and said: “This isn’t an innocent mosque…This is another way to sneak Shariah law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that.”

Opposition to the mosque reached as high as the lieutenant governor. I reported here back on August 9, 2010 that,

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who is currently running third in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary race, is apparently not sure if the Constitution’s guarantees of freedom of religion apply to Islam, on the grounds that the Constitution refers to religions, not cults, and Islam is, in his opinion, a cult. Tennessee Republican congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik seems to agree, saying in July that the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro TN is secretly pursuing a “radical agenda,” one that is “designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee.”

Ramsey, endorsed by about half of Tennessee’s Tea Party groups, finished third that year, but he still serves, by virtue of his role as Speaker of the Senate, as Lieutenant Governor.

They brought in “national Sharia expert” Frank Gaffney, head of the neocon the Center for Security Policy (CSP), who said Sharia Law is a threat to the Constitution. Newflash: there is not much difference between Sharia Law and Mosaic Law.

The bigots even went to court. They said since Islam is not a religion it lacked First Amendment protections, meaning they weren’t violating the First Amendment. Neat. I say Christianity is a cult. Can I close churches I don’t like now?

Incredibly they’ve upped the ante while sinking to a new low. Frustrated by a federal court ruling last year upholding the Muslim community’s First Amendment rights, and a Tennessee Appeals Court ruling in May of this year, which defeating a civil lawsuit filed against the mosque on September 16, 2010, they are taking their case to the state supreme court.

According to The Tennessean, the appeal was requested on July 30 by Joe Brandon Jr. of Murfreesboro and Thomas Smith of Franklin, on behalf of the plaintiffs:

By the fifth sheet of a 49-page document asking the Tennessee Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit over the mosque’s construction, the plaintiffs accuse the mosque of ties to terrorist groups. It calls media reports of religious discrimination in Murfreesboro false, but then devotes later pages to arguing why two expert witnesses should be allowed to testify about risks associated with teaching Shariah law — the Muslim code of conduct.

An attorney for mosque opponents said Wednesday that, should his side prevail, there would be several acceptable remedies for Rutherford County to address the mosque’s existence. But he specifically named only one.

“I think the county would step in and have someone else take it over,” J. Thomas Smith said.

Smith says “Violations of the law are not protected by the First Amendment.” Good. Can we begin arresting pastors and seizing churches now when they involve themselves in politics?

And certainly, if Islam is not a religion, neither is Christianity, neither is Judaism (all of them trace their routes to Abraham and worship the same god), to say nothing of smaller religions, including Glenn Beck’s Mormonism.

From there, we can pretty much deep-six any other religion you care to name. If mosques have – as the bigots claim – “Sharia-Jihad” risks attached to them, then churches have a Mosaic-Crusade risk attached to them.

I think if they win they will have created a precedent, and who knows where it will end. Christianity may not always be the dominant religion in this country. Could be they might find themselves on the other side of the aisle one day.

And it would serve them right. Not that any sort of reality will stop them from claiming persecution while busily persecuting others.

And they wonder why young people are running into the night to get as far away from their churches and their sermons as they can.

It’s amazing, really. They claim that Christians are deprived of rights in Islamic countries, but they want to do the same thing to Muslims here.

Image from The Tennessean

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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