Religious freedom; like it or not

Published 12:34 am Saturday, August 28, 2010

American citizenship isn’t an easy thing. It’s a complex and diverse set of feelings, rules and principles.

In this “land of the free and home of the brave” we have to sacrifice our personal feelings many times for the good of Republic. We have to swallow hard when we don’t like things because we know our feelings doesn’t make them diametrically opposed to the U.S. Constitution.

As we consider the plans to build a mosque and Islamic center blocks away from what we now know as Ground Zero, many Americans will have to grit their teeth and bear it. They may be personally opposed to the plans. They may wish, as we do, that leaders of Islam in New York had selected another site in that sprawling city.

The fact is they didn’t. The mosque is to be built just blocks from the site of one of America’s great tragedies. It’s tough for some people to digest because they equate Islam with those attacks.

The truth is not all Islamic people hate America any more than all Christian people are protesting funerals like the extremists at Westboro Baptist Church. There are extremists on all sides.

There are people of all races, creeds and faiths who teach hate. You need only look closely at the Christian faith in America to see there are many who claim to be Christians that teach hate and fear, but that isn’t the message of the religion.

Our ancestors came here because they wanted the freedom to worship how and as they choose. When our forefathers drafted the Constitution more than 200 years ago, they guaranteed us that freedom.

If we are going to be true citizens and believers in the document that makes this nation great, we’re now going to have to support that freedom for a mosque being built in a place we prefer it not be.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald