Friday, July 27, 2012

In case you wondered what fascism looks like...

The Boston Globe has a great editorial on the threats by the mayors of Boston and Chicago to deny business licenses to Chick-fil-A because of the company president Dan Cathy's opposition to gay marriage. Cathy is a devout Southern Baptist.

Menino shouldn’t block Chick-fil-A because of president’s views


The president of Chick-fil-A opposes gay marriage. While this view goes against the grain in a state that made history by embracing it, it’s no reason for Mayor Thomas M. Menino to oppose a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Boston.

The fast food chicken sandwich chain was reportedly looking at property near Faneuil Hall at the location where the Purple Shamrock currently operates. Then company president Dan Cathy stirred national controversy when he said in an interview that “we’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” In response, Menino told the Boston Herald, “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the City of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.”



But which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand? A business owner’s political or religious beliefs should not be a test for the worthiness of his or her application for a business license.

Chick-fil-A must follow all state and city laws. If the restaurant chain denied service to gay patrons or refused to hire gay employees, Menino’s outrage would be fitting. And the company should be held to its statement that it strives to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation, or gender.” But beyond the fact that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, the religious beliefs of the company’s top executive don’t appear to control its operations.

The situation was different when Northeastern University blocked a proposed Chick-fil-A amid student protests. In that case, a private institution made its own decision not to bring the company in as a vendor. But using the power of government to freeze the company out of a city sends a disturbing message to all businesses. If the mayor of a conservative town tried to keep out gay-friendly Starbucks or Apple, it would be an outrage.

Ironically, Menino is citing the specific location along the Freedom Trail as a reason to block Chick-fil-A. A city in which business owners must pass a political litmus test is the antithesis of what the Freedom Trail represents. History will render judgment on the views of Chick-fil-A executives. City Hall doesn’t have to.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago has made the same threat. Ironically Emanuel, a short time after demanding exclusion of Chick-fil-A from Chicago, welcomed the aid of Louis Farrakhan, a venomous anti-Semite.

A Christian who expresses a political viewpoint shared by most Americans (and ostensibly by President Obama until a month ago) is threatened with denial of a business license in Boston and Chicago. But a crude Jew-hater is welcomed with open arms by the same Chicago city government. Apparently the views of the Nation of Islam that white people are "blue-eyed devils" and that Jews control the banks and Hollywood are less objectionable to the Chicago mayor than the Christian view that marriage is inherently between a man and a woman.

What Farrakhan-embracing Mayor Emanuel and Boston Mayor Menino did was not merely outrageous. It was a crime. It was a violation by a government official of the First Amendment rights of Mr. Cathy.

Government officials under the First Amendment are not permitted to withhold business licenses based on political speech of applicants for the licenses.

If a Christmas creche on city property violates the First Amendment rights of atheists who might perchance see it, then a mayor of an American city who denies a business license to a Christian businessman because the businessman has expressed a political opinion that differs from the mayor's opinion is an obvious violation of the First Amendment.

Private individuals have the right to boycott the businesses of those with whom they disagree.

Government officials, acting in their official capacity, have no such right. In fact, doing so is a civil rights violation. A crime. The use of government power to regulate economic activity based on an ideological litmus test is characteristic of fascism.

Such is liberalism in America today. If you pray in school, they call the police. If you ask questions about Darwin's theory in biology class, they drag you before a federal judge. If you oppose gay marriage, they deny you a business license. If you believe that contraception is immoral, they still force you to pay for it, under penalty of law. If you don't toe the liberal/atheist line, they use government power to ruin you.

National Review has a fine editorial as well. Excerpt:


It is one thing for private citizens to stage a boycott of a company with associations that annoy them, though the gay lobby’s hysterical demands for absolute conformity to its agenda in all aspects of public life is both unseemly and childish. (The gay lobby is also wrong about the issue of marriage and should be opposed.) As bad as organized homosexuality’s bullying tactics can be, it is a far more serious thing when elected officials appropriate the instruments of government to punish those with whom they disagree. The analogue to the civil-rights movement is a defective one: Whatever indignities homosexuals have suffered in our history, they were not held as chattel slaves or systematically excluded from political and economic life in the way black Americans were, nor is homosexuality categorically comparable to race. Boston mayor Thomas Menino threatened to withhold a business license from Chick-fil-A until somebody reminded him that doing so would constitute an illegal abuse of official power, at which point he withdrew the threat but confirmed his simmering hostility. 
Mayors Menino and Emanuel are not striking a blow for civil rights; they are exploring new ground in the abuse of political power. Their threats and posturing have been far more shameful than anything Chick-fil-A has undertaken, and their motives considerably less lofty.
Liberal fascism. Jonah Goldberg wrote a fine book about it. 

60 comments:

  1. From the Chick-a-fil website:

    “However, since each Chick-fil-A Restaurant is independently operated, Chick-fil-A Operators have the discretion to modify hours of operation, except that we are always closed on Sunday…”

    Independently operated, yet apparently contractually forced to behave as if they where good church going Christians. There are busloads of tourists on the Freedom Trail every Sunday and there’s no doubt that the independent operator and the already low wage employees of this location will lose significant revenue because they are being forced to act Christian.

    -KW

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  2. Check out Chick-fil-A's new Queer-Hatin' Cordon Bleu sandwich

    "From the very first morsel of this savory meal to the very last bite, customers can envision gays burning in hell with their sodomizing cohorts, and know that our sandwich is on their side.”

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  3. I have a drive down I75 coming up soon. I was pleased to by checking their store locator there are quite a few along that corridor. I have never tried them before, but this recent panic over the owner's religious beliefs has brought them to my attention. I keep seeing pictures of the food while someone is crying about 'support for traditional marriage'.
    NEWSFLASH: The food looks good, and most of us DO support traditional marriage.
    I will be getting one of these when I am on the 75
    http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Food/Menu-Detail/ChickfilA-Chargrilled-Chicken-Club-Sandwich

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  4. "Liberal fascism."
    Obviously. Oh.


    National Review has a fine editorial as well
    Well, at least they're consistent on issues like this. Oh.

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    1. The Ground Zero Mosque is a house of worship, and there are all sorts of regulations and political considerations that go on in that circumstance.

      Opposition to the mosque was not based on free-speech-protected opinions stated by the developers of the mosque. It was based on the fact that there is a 1400 year history of Muslims building victory mosques at the sites of successful attacks.

      The Constitution does not guarantee you the right to build a house of worship wherever you want. It does guarantee you the right to be free of government retailiation when you express your opinion on a political topic.

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    2. The Constitution does not guarantee you the right to build a house of worship wherever you want.

      But it does guarantee you the right to build chicken restaurants wherever you want?

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    3. mregnor, I remember the controversy. And also the measured, muted and entirely appropriate reaction to the situtation, with no over-statements, attempts at bullying or general smearing or heated moments. Remember all the people who, hour after hour and day after day, as with this story, said "Well, I disagree with what they believe, and will show my displeasure by not going there, but for the State to step in would create a greater harm than the inconsequential one of my being offended"?
      Neither do I.

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    4. [But it does guarantee you the right to build chicken restaurants wherever you want?]

      The Constitution guarantees you the right to have government consider your application for business license without regard for your political opinions.

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    5. So the question of whether the "Ground Zero Mosque" would be a "victory mosque" or not should have been entirely irrelevant to the question of whether they could build one or not.

      So the basis you claim the opposition to the mosque was founded upon was an entirely invalid reason to deny the applicants the right to build their mosque, and yet conservative opponents loudly and vociferously tried to prevent it from being built anyway.

      Predictable.

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    6. The Westboro Baptist Church would not be granted a license to build a branch in the gay district of San Francisco. The legitimate reason would be that such an application for building a church could be rationally construed as an incitement to civil unrest. The building of churches and mosques and other institutions with an inherent ideological stance can rationally be regulated by the state in such a manner to advance civic peace. That would not mean that the WBC would not be permitted to build a church anywhere in SF, but that it would not be permitted to build in a gay neighborhood if the intent and likely result were civic unrest.

      The same applies to the Ground Zero Mosque. Mosques can be and are built in all major cities, but siting a mosque on a location in which 19 members of that faith murdered 3000 people in a religiously motivated attach by a faith that has a 1400 year history of siting mosques at the sites in which non-muslims were killed by muslims is an activity that rationally and prudently can be regulated by a city.

      Citing a chicken restaurant is irrelevant to the personal political opinions of the CEO of the chain. If the restaurant menu had "fag wings" and "aids sauce", denial of a city license would be appropriate, but chicken restaurants are not ideological enterprises and the personal political opinions of the CEO are irrelevant to the business.

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    7. mregnor "The Westboro Baptist Church…"
      For that argument to be consistent, it would have to be "Any Christian church". Otherwise, it's comparing "one family's church" and "all of Islam", which would be ridiculous.

      "...but siting a mosque on a location in which 19 members of that faith murdered 3000 people in a religiously motivated attach by a faith that has a 1400 year history of siting mosques at the sites in which non-muslims were killed by muslims is an activity that rationally and prudently can be regulated by a city."
      Ignoring that "these Muslims" aren't those Muslims, that it's not at Ground Zero, that American Muslims are Americans too (and the 1st and 14th, as well as property rights, apply to them), that Muslims also died in the towers, that it wasn't even an issue until FoxNews, Gellar et all started banging that drum, etc, civil rights aren't built around "us" assigning motivation to "them".
      That would set a terrible, terrible precedent (one particularly bad for minorities, of which Roman Catholicism, I say knowingly, is one). It would, however, making for an interesting Supreme Court case.

      "Citing a chicken restaurant is irrelevant to the personal political opinions of the CEO of the chain."
      "Citing a mosque is irrelevant to the personal opinions of not-Manhattanites of the 9/11 hijackers who aren't even members at that mosque."

      "If the restaurant menu had 'fag wings' and 'aids sauce'..."
      Have the biblical verses printed on the bottom of the cups ever been the Clobber passages?

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    8. This is not complex, Modus.

      The political opinions of a business owner cannot be used as a basis for licensure by a government agency. Government cannot use legal force to punish citizens for their political speech.

      With the Ground Zero Mosque, a few points:

      1) It was Ground Zero. A part of one of the planes landed on the roof of the building.

      2) It is entirely legitimate for government to regulate the construction of churches/mosques according to ordinary civic concerns. That's why they have public hearings, formally take opinions, debate the issue in committees and legislatures.

      3) The analogy with the Westboro Baptist Church in a gay district is an excellent analogy. Such a building permit would and should be denied, because of the obvious motivation and the potential for civic unrest.

      The objection to the Ground Zero Mosque is not that it is a mosque (New York has many mosques), but that it is at Ground Zero, which is the burial site for several thousand people killed by religious confederates of the GZM builders.

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    9. How about this, Modus: Muslims can build one mosque in the US for each church and synagogue built in Saudi Arabia.

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    10. I find myself on MO's side this time. The whole "ground zero mosque" hysteria was embarrassing.

      Dr. Egnor, the US is not Saudi Arabia. That mosque should have been allowed to stand as a testament to the fact of *American* victory. The fact that the WTC attacks were sufficient to cause us to start abandoning our national principles is upsetting.
      -John Henry

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    11. mregnor "1) It was Ground Zero. A part of one of the planes landed on the roof of the building."
      You do realize that makes "lower Manhattan" Ground Zero, right? How much of a privilege are Civil Rights, anyway? How far away from the towers site do Manhattan Muslims who, again, were not even involved in 9/11, have to have put mosques before they get the 1st Amendment? Three blocks? A mile? 750 miles?

      "2) It is entirely legitimate for government to regulate the construction of churches/mosques according to ordinary civic concerns. That's why they have public hearings, formally take opinions, debate the issue in committees and legislatures."
      You seem to think this helps your case. It doesn't, because they did.

      "3) The analogy with the Westboro Baptist Church in a gay district is an excellent analogy. Such a building permit would and should be denied, because of the obvious motivation and the potential for civic unrest."
      I think that would make an excellent court case (as somewhat of a Smith v. Collin for property instead of speech), as the Heckler's Veto is not a basis for Law. Not a good one, anyway.

      "The objection to the Ground Zero Mosque is not that it is a mosque (New York has many mosques), but that it is at Ground Zero, which is the burial site for several thousand people killed by religious confederates of the GZM builders."
      Horsepucky. (See Murfeesboro)

      "How about this, Modus: Muslims can build one mosque in the US for each church and synagogue built in Saudi Arabia."
      Yeah! Take that, place that isn't under the laws of the USA! We won't follow our own Constitution because you don't, um, follow our Constitution! I'm looking at you, Vatican City!
      I fail to see how rushing down to join them in the muck of intolerance and sectarianism helps make the US better.
      Also, Feisal Abdul Rauf is a Sufi. Saudi Arabia hates the Mystics. But there's no reason for them being an oppressed group over there to stop you, or even make you think twice (or to even cast a second glance at your own group's history in the USA) about doing the same to them here. After all, a Muslim's a Muslim, right? Hurray for Broad Brushes!

      How about this, Mregnor: The US can actually try to achieve the ideals of the Constitution, instead of ignoring it when Unpopular Minorities are involved.

      Anonymous "I find myself on MO's side this time. The whole 'ground zero mosque' hysteria was embarrassing."
      "Embarrassing"? Try "terrifying". It's a good case study in showing how thin the veneer of civilization is and how raw and ugly the flesh underneath can be.

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    12. How about this, Modus: Muslims can build one mosque in the US for each church and synagogue built in Saudi Arabia.

      So, your goal is for the U.S. to take a stance concerning liberty equivalent to that of Saudi Arabia? Nice to see your true colors shine through.

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    13. It is entirely legitimate for government to regulate the construction of churches/mosques according to ordinary civic concerns.

      And it is entirely legitimate for the government to regulate the construction of chicken restaurants according to ordinary civic concerns. But the "concerns" of those opposed to the GZM were not "ordinary civic concerns", they were religiously motivated concerns aimed at preventing a building from being built solely because of the religious affiliation of those constructing it.

      Sounds a lot like your complaints about people trying to prevent building a chicken restaurant because of the religious affiliation of those constructing it. Except that those you claim are trying to prevent the chicken restaurant actually backed down from their stance when they realized that to do so would be illegal. Unlike those who opposed the GZM.

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    14. [So, your goal is for the U.S. to take a stance concerning liberty equivalent to that of Saudi Arabia? Nice to see your true colors shine through.]

      Naw. I support the Constitution.

      I am just pointing out the rank hypocrisy of Islamists who demand tolerance, and the hypocrisy of their apologists.

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    15. Naw. I support the Constitution.

      Which Constitution is that? Because this:

      Muslims can build one mosque in the US for each church and synagogue built in Saudi Arabia.

      Is antithetical to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Or maybe you didn't know that.

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  5. So, the story is that the government didn't discriminate against Chik-fil-a and conservatives got enraged anyway.

    Predictable.

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    1. @modus:

      I don't know what you're talking about.

      The threats to withhold CFA's business license are criminal, literally.

      Some on the left have spoken out (eg Mother Jones), which is to their credit. Yet this kind of thuggery by the left is all too common, and needs to be fought.

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    2. The threats to withhold CFA's business license are criminal, literally.

      No, they aren't. Actually withholding a business license for discriminatory reasons would be. But that hasn't been done. In fact, the editorial you cited states that Menino backed down from his initial stance when he got legal advice telling him that to deny Chik-fil-a a license because of their beliefs would be illegal.

      As I said, the government didn't discriminate against Chik-fil-a, and conservatives got enraged anyway.

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    3. The threat creates a hostile environment against a religious group that holds a legitimate political opinion, even in the absence of acts against that group.

      If a mayor announced that Jews in his city wouldn't be guaranteed their right to a fair trial, the announcement itself would trigger federal action and probable prosecution.

      Creation by government officials of a hostile environment by threats to deny Constitutional rights is illegal, not merely immoral.

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    4. egnor: The threat creates a hostile environment against a religious group that holds a legitimate political opinion, even in the absence of acts against that group.

      Cathy only has himself to blame. He decided to get into a political game in his capacity as a business owner. If a business gets into politics, it can expect political pushback.

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    5. Are you really that stupid, oleg?

      A private citizen choosing not to eat at Chick-fil-A is a "political push-back", and is perfectly legitimate.

      A government official using government power to punish a business because its owner has a political opinion that differs from that of the government official is a violation of the Constitution, and in this county is a very serious crime.

      You need to get that "Soviet" instinct out of your blood.

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    6. If that's a "very serious crime" why don't we see the mayor frog marched? Methinks your outrage is a tad exaggerated. A city is not obligated to issue permits to everyone. You have conceded two examples of that above. Stuff a sock in it.

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    7. And to give you another example, no one protested much when Rudy Giuliani drove porn theaters off Times Square, even though pornography has been regarded as free speech by the courts. City voters approved.

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    8. The threat creates a hostile environment against a religious group that holds a legitimate political opinion, even in the absence of acts against that group.

      And unless there is actual action against those groups, then the "hostile environment" is not illegal.

      If a mayor announced that Jews in his city wouldn't be guaranteed their right to a fair trial, the announcement itself would trigger federal action and probable prosecution.

      No, it wouldn't. Under those circumstances a Jew would have to actually be denied a fair trial for there to be prosecution. You have a fairly weak grasp of the law.

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    9. @anon:

      Harassment threatening to deny Constitutional rights, even in the absence of actual denial, is a civil rights violation.

      Try standing outside a voting place in a minority area, wearing a KKK uniform and carrying a noose with a black mannequin in it, and you'll find out how harassment with the intent to deny Constitutional rights is handled by law enforcement agencies.

      Telling Christian businessmen that they will be denied business licenses if they express Christian viewpoints in political discourse is quite analogous. And equally illegal, even if the threats are not carried out.

      Civil rights law provides ample basis for prosecution of threats.

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    10. egnor: Harassment threatening to deny Constitutional rights, even in the absence of actual denial, is a civil rights violation.

      Free speech is guaranteed by the US Constitution and Cathy is free to speak his mind. However, opening a business in Boston is not one of the constitutional rights.

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    11. Oleg:

      So if I found out your real name, and called the government agency that funds your grants, and got them to stop funding you because of your opinion on gay marriage, that would be constitutional?

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    12. That's precisely what your Republican pals are doing to Michael Mann. They don't like his opinion about climate change, so they want to stop his funding and investigate him to no end.

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    13. The investigation of Mann is proposed because of statements in the Climategate emails that demonstrated criminal conduct, including destruction of data, manipulation of data, rigging peer-review, etc.

      Conservatives don't give a shit about his political opinions.

      We want to know if he rigged the science. It's a completely legitimate question, and given his reluctance to cooperate, he appears to have quite a bit to hide.

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    14. Right. Three committees have looked into the matter, none has found any signs of wrongdoing. The Republicans nonetheless want to continue to investigate him. This is clearly politically motivated.

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    15. oleg "Right. Three committees have looked into the matter, none has found any signs of wrongdoing."
      Lies!*

      "The Republicans nonetheless want to continue to investigate him. This is clearly politically motivated."
      B…b…but Algore is fat!




      * It's nine.

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    16. [Three committees have looked into the matter, none has found any signs of wrongdoing.]

      Are you referring to Penn State's investigation of Sandusky, or Mann?

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    17. Try standing outside a voting place in a minority area, wearing a KKK uniform and carrying a noose with a black mannequin in it, and you'll find out how harassment with the intent to deny Constitutional rights is handled by law enforcement agencies.

      There have been several cases on exactly this issue and the free speech rights of the individuals won out. Look up National Socialist Party v. Skokie, R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul or Virginia v. Black one of these days. as noted several times already, your understanding of the law is quite weak.

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  6. @John Henry,

    I see the merit in the Pro-GZM argument, but I disagree. Reasons:

    1) It is perfectly legitimate to oppose construction of a religious building if the intent of the building at that specific location (or some other characteristic of the project) is intended to cause civic unrest. A good example is that of the Westboro Baptist Church in a gay neighborhood, or a neo-Nazi skinhead church in a Jewish neighborhood. There is no debate that municipalities can regulate the construction of buildings, including houses of worship, according to ordinary civic issues. Its done all the time everywhere.

    Try to build a cathedral in NYC in Times Square if you think that it is a constitutional right to build anywhere.

    2) Is the GZM a victory mosque? Yea, I think so. Build it somewhere else.

    3) On Modus' posturing about the Constitution,

    4) I believe that Islam is a serious threat to the West. It is probably a mortal threat to many countries in Europe, and we are not immune.

    Islam is a violently intolerant religion with no respect for religious freedom or even civic freedom. It is inherently totalitarian-- "submission".

    That does not justify taking unconstitutional acts against Islam in the US, but it does justify vigilance and a pro-active attitude to resist encroachment of Muslim ideology in our culture.

    Victory Mosques have no place in our country. Anyone who doesn't think that the GZM is a Victory Mosque is, in that respect, a fool.

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  7. addendum:

    I didn't finish "on Modus posturing on the Constitution".

    The constitutional rights of Muslims were not infringed in any way by the GZM debate, and would not have been infringed if the permit for the mosque had been denied. Considerations such as community sensibility are routinely taken in such matters, and the sensibility of many in that community-- that they did not want a victory mosque at the site-- is perfectly legitimate.

    On the other had, the threat by government officials to deny a business permit based on the political opinion of the owner is grossly unconstitutional.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. @Dr. Egnor:



      1) I generally think mind-reading is bad policy and the Golden Rule is good policy. If the local diocese wanted to build a church to minister to the people in a gay neighborhood (or a red light district or whatever) I would object to any accusations that the Church is attempting to create civil unrest thereby. That goes for the Westboro folks too. I'm not saying there is a constitutional right to build anywhere, but there is a constitutional right to not be denied a building permit based on my religion. If Muslims can't build a mosque in a spot where we'd happily let Jehovah's Witnesses build a kingdom hall (because the locals would be offended by the one and not by the other) then Catholics can be denied permits to build churches in gay neighborhoods that wouldn't be denied to Unitarians (because the locals would be offended by the one and not the other.)

      As off-base as most of his rhetoric might be, MO's quote from A Man For All Seasons is pretty much spot-on. If we want to be taken at our word and allowed to minister freely, we must extend the same courtesy to Muslims.

      

2) The GZM is most likely a "victory mosque" in the eyes of its builders. But why should we care whether they consider it a victory mosque? Why should their opinion guide our policy?
 Calling 9/11 a "victory" for Islam is pretty pathetic

      3) I didn't say the GZM objections were unconstitutional. I said they were embarrassing. I'll add that they set a bad precedent.



      4) The only reason Islam is a threat to Europe is that Europe has traded Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for Mammon, Moloch, and Dionysus. Europeans would rather be comfortable and carefree than burdened with babies, but a civilization needs people to function. Muslim countries are able to supply the people Europe needs, and beggars can't be choosers. Peter Kreeft hit the nail on the head when he said "Muslims tried to conquer Christian Europe for 13 centuries with the sword, and failed; they are succeeding now with a far more powerful weapon: mothers. They are having children and families, and Christians aren't. Therefore God is giving them Europe because they deserve it and we don't." Read the whole article if you get a chance. Western Christianity is falling apart because Western Christians have embraced compromise and comfort over courage and conviction. And that (not militant Islam) is what really scares me.

      I am under no illusions about Islam being tolerant or peaceful, but I am infinitely more afraid of secular ideologies than I am of Islam. "And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." The worst thing that ever happened to Christianity in America was getting in bed with the Republican party. They promised us they'd end abortion in return for our votes and for our looking the other way when they tortured, launched unjust wars, drummed up hysteria about illegal immigrants from Central America, and sold our country away to European and Chinese bankers. And they didn't even deliver on their promises about abortion. As far as the Republican Party is concerned, traditional American Christians are useful idiots, and their Randian and tribalistic ideology has poisoned American Christian thought and discourse.

      Republican and neocon pundits would have me believe that, in order to save the principles of religious freedom, we must fight against Muslims at every turn. Pernicious, pagan nonsense.

      -John Henry

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    3. @John Henry,

      You make good points. I agree wholeheartedly that the greatest danger to Christian culture is secularization and loss of Christian belief, not Islam, and that that secular ideologies are in the final analysis much more dangerous than Islam.

      I also agree with your critique of the Republican party. I criticize Democrats mercilessly, for good reason I think, but that is not to say that Republican's are angels. They have done many bad things-- including those you mention. Yet I believe that Democrats are the professional gangsters. Repubs are the amateurs. Oddly, I tend to agree more with recent Democrat foreign policy, which tends to want to disengage military commitments.

      I do believe, however, that we must distinguish Constitutional rights from civic opinions that are open to criticism. Islam is a brutal detestable religion, even though most Muslims are fine people. The Constitution guarantees certain rights to all, and that obviously includes Muslims.

      Whether that includes the right to build a mosque at Ground Zero is a matter of honest debate. I would do all I could legally and morally to stop it. I don't want those bastards to build a victory mosque where those innocents died.

      Muslims have constitutional rights, even the rights their execrable religion violently denies to others. Christians have a responsibility to speak out against evil, which entails speaking out emphatically against Islam.

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    4. I'm certainly no fan of the Democrats, either. Honestly, I think they're six of one, half a dozen of the other. Democrats give lip service to Peace, and Republicans give lip service to Life, but they all act more or less the same once they're in office, where both take a back seat to Lucre.

      And of course there should be open discussion about plans to build anything. I just don't think the arguments against the GZM had much merit, and the public discourse about it was hyperbolic and embarrassing. But I guess that's true of American public discourse in general.

      -John Henry

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  8. mregnor "1) It is perfectly legitimate to oppose construction of a religious building if the intent of the building at that specific location (or some other characteristic of the project) is intended to cause civic unrest."
    Feisal Abdul Rauf didn't intend to cause civic unrest. Pamela Geller and FoxNews did.

    "Try to build a cathedral in NYC in Times Square if you think that it is a constitutional right to build anywhere."
    That's odd. I didn't even know that they owned land in Times Square.

    "2) Is the GZM a victory mosque? Yea, I think so. Build it somewhere else."
    Again, what you think their motivation is is not the issue. Worse, it's not their motivation.
    {pause}
    I'll try to be terse: Do Easter Orthodox Christians build monuments to Roman Catholic victories? Did Luther build "Victory Cathedrals" in places that Popes attacked?
    Then why in God's name would a Sufi build a "Victory Mosque" for something that Wahhabist/Salafists did?

    "3) On Modus' posturing about the Constitution…"
    "Posturing"?

    "The constitutional rights of Muslims were not infringed in any way by the GZM debate…"
    Again, not "Ground Zero". Not unless Manhattan is.

    "...Considerations such as community sensibility are routinely taken in such matters, and the sensibility of many in that community-- that they did not want a victory mosque at the site-- is perfectly legitimate."
    It got the permits. There was no uproar. That came after, again, when Geller and FoxNews started Muslim-baiting.
    Also, again, not a "Victory Mosque". Not if words mean anything.

    "On the other had, the threat by government officials to deny a business permit based on the political opinion of the owner is grossly unconstitutional."
    "On the other had, the threat by government officials to deny a rezoning permit based on political opinions that the owner doesn't even have is grossly unconstitutional."

    "4) I believe that Islam is a serious threat to the West. It is probably a mortal threat to many countries in Europe, and we are not immune."
    Alice More: Arrest him!
    More: Why, what has he done?
    Margaret More: He's bad!
    More: There is no law against that.
    Will Roper: There is! God's law!
    More: Then God can arrest him.
    Alice: While you talk, he's gone!
    More: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
    Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!
    More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
    More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast– man's laws, not God's– and if you cut them down—and you're just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

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  9. Cont’d

    "Islam is a violently intolerant religion with no respect for religious freedom or even civic freedom. It is inherently totalitarian-- 'submission'."
    Exactly. Just like Christianity. And by "Christianity" I mean "the subset of Christian thought called Christian Reconstructionalists, who are far more connected politically than any Muslim subset". And yet FoxNews is silent on this threat. Why is that?
    ...
    Your arguments in no way resemble the arguments of the anti-Papists of an earlier time. Oh. I'm sure that history won't repeat. After all, you've clearly forgotten it's lessons. In any event, this time it won't be the property and lives of Roman Catholics at risk.

    "That does not justify taking unconstitutional acts against Islam in the US…"
    Exactly. To protect Liberty we have to make sure that those people don't get it, while remaining Constitutional, by denying others the protection of that Constitution. Because they hate Freedom just that much!

    "...but it does justify vigilance and a pro-active attitude to resist encroachment of Muslim ideology in our culture."
    "Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting 'Jesus Christ,' so that it would read 'A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;' the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination." ~ Thomas Jefferson on the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom (emphasis mine)

    "Victory Mosques have no place in our country. Anyone who doesn't think that the GZM is a Victory Mosque is, in that respect, a fool."
    No, mregnor, as you've amply demonstrated, you're the fool. A "useful idiot", really.

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    Replies
    1. @Modus:

      "Christian Reconstructionalists"? Oh my. You need to see your shrink and go up on your meds. You're paranoid.

      I've never understood the liberal solicitude to Islam. Islam is violent theism at its worst. Inherently totalitarian, militaristic, misogynist, gay-hating to the point of murder. Interestingly, everything that liberals attribute (falsely) to Christians.

      Of course, most Muslims are personally decent folks, like everyone else. But Islam itself is a pernicious ideology. Obviously.

      I believe that Muslims in the US have exactly the same constitutional rights as everyone else. No more, no less.

      Building your house of worship wherever you want without regard to civic peace and community sentiment is not a constitutional right for anyone, including Muslims. That's why planning boards etc are so complex and so political. Objecting to a Victory Mosque by the Cordoba Initiative (the Cordoba Mosque in Spain was one of the most celebrated Victory Mosques) is a perfectly reasonable response by Americans who are horrified by the 9-11 attacks by Islamists on our country.

      If the Muslim developers are so peace-loving, why not respect non-Muslim feelings and build elsewhere, rather than at Ground Zero? The Mosque site was hit by an engine of one of the planes, and is very much Ground Zero.

      Why Modus do you excoriate Christians so viciously, and hump the leg of Islam?

      Do you really hate Christianity so much that you'll enlist with a totalitarian religious ideology to oppose it?

      Delete
    2. mregnor "'Christian Reconstructionalists'? Oh my. You need to see your shrink and go up on your meds. You're paranoid. "
      As shown in the third hit in that link, Michele Bachmann's mentor is one. Heck, Pat Robertson's a Dominionist and he was a candidate for president (and placed second in Iowa, before his run fell apart). How many Muslim candidates for president in a major party can say something similar? None. Of the zero Muslim candidates, zero have Islamist behind them, and zero are Islamist themselves.

      If, therefore, Islam is a threat and the extreme versions of Christianity share their outlook, then it's the Christian subset that's the greater danger.
      Is that a little paranoid? Yes, but it's less paranoid than your stance.
      Ergo, at worst your statement is a tu quoque.
      If, therefore, Islam is a threat and the extreme versions of Christianity share their outlook, then it's the Christian subset that's the greater danger.

      "I believe that Muslims in the US have exactly the same constitutional rights as everyone else. No more, no less. "
      No. You don't. This page amply illustrates that.

      "Building your house of worship wherever you want without regard to civic peace and community sentiment is not a constitutional right for anyone, including Muslims. That's why planning boards etc are so complex and so political. "
      Again, that's a hurdle they passed. I only became an issue when FoxNews and Geller began relentlessly pounding the Muslim-baiting drum.

      "Objecting to a Victory Mosque by the Cordoba Initiative (the Cordoba Mosque in Spain was one of the most celebrated Victory Mosques) is a perfectly reasonable response by Americans who are horrified by the 9-11 attacks by Islamists on our country."
      Again, it's not a "Victory Mosque". For it to be one, again, would require a Sufi to be praising the same group that viciously oppresses Sufis.

      "If the Muslim developers are so peace-loving, why not respect non-Muslim feelings and build elsewhere, rather than at Ground Zero? The Mosque site was hit by an engine of one of the planes, and is very much Ground Zero."
      Because their worship on their property that they got rezoned is none of my damn business. Because my right to be offended is in no way superior to their 1st and 14th Amendment and their property rights. Because, for that site to be "Ground Zero" would require all of lower Manhattan to be "Ground Zero". Because those the people weren't those people.
      Again, how close is "far enough away"? Two blocks? Three? Tennessee?
      Golly, Mregnor, have you read anything I've written? Can you read for comprehension?

      "Why Modus do you excoriate Christians so viciously, and hump the leg of Islam?"
      I don't "excoriate Christians so viciously" nor do I "hump the leg of Islam". I defend the rights of people, even when (especially when!) I disagree with them. To do otherwise would render "rights" as "privileges", which puts them at the mercy of the whims of the majority. Which would put me under those whims (see the passage from A Man for All Season, posted earlier).
      Yes, there are grey areas, where the rights of one group conflict with the rights of another. Those can be tough to decide.
      This is not one of those times.

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    3. Con't
      "Do you really hate Christianity so much that you'll enlist with a totalitarian religious ideology to oppose it?"
      Holy crap, Mregnor. You do realize that, by "enlisting" with FoxNews you're signing off on causal, deplorable, painfully obvious "Othering" and race-baiting, and with Geller you're signing up with the same far-Right nutjobs who would quite happily do the same thing to American RCs (and Jews, and others) that they're trying to do to American Muslims. Between carriers of the torch for Atwater and ultra-Nationalist/Neo-Nazis, and people who just want to worship on their own property, I'm siding with the latter.
      Wahhabist Islam ≠ All of Islam. I fail to see a good reason to punish the whole to get revenge on a part. I fail to see the reason to deliberately and willfully marginalize all of them, making all of them my enemy, when only some are. I fail to see the reason to tear out parts of the Bill of Rights to protect the Bill of Rights. That is not Just. That's not even smart. "You're with us or you're against us" is shaky enough on it's own, but with "...and you can't be with us" pushes it over in to the realm of insanity.

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    4. @Modus:

      So you believe that Islam is a religion of peace? Pretty funny.

      "Christian Dominionism" or "Reconstructionism" is a leftie delusion that gives you nuts something to focus your hate. There are Christians in both movements (which are small) who want theonomy, not theocracy. Theonomy is an ordering of civil society according to Christian principles. I support that, and I believe that the best basis for law is the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. It does not entail violating the Constitution, which is done routinely by secularists. and is in fact respectful of the Constitution.

      Your problem with these folks (I am not one formally, but I sympathize with many of their views) is that they are politically active and don't agree with you. What a shame.

      Your leg-humping of Islam is amusing. Wahhabist does not equal Islam, but Islam is an extremely intolerant religion. Wahhabism is the major sect in Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabist ideology is funded to the tune of billions of dollars. Some of that Wahhabist money is channeled to the US to build mosques and Islamic organizations, with which your Sufi boy-toy Feisal Abdul Rauf has considerable involvement.

      Sunni Islam is infested with Wahhabism, and Suni Islam is obviously not Wahhabist but is equally violent (Iran hangs gay teenagers and targets Jews for murder around the world). The various latter-day Nazi Islamists in Gaza and the West Bank get orgasms planning the murder of Jews.

      Amin Al-Husseini, grand Mufti of Jerusalem during WWII and Arafat's uncle, spent most of the war as an honored houseguest of Hitler in Germany. The Palestinian muslims were Nazi groupies during the war, and continue their anti-semitic genocidal plans today.

      Quite a nice bunch you're leg-humping.

      Oh, and that Michelle Bachmann is really scary.

      Delete
    5. "Suni Islam is obviously not..." should read "Shia Islam..."

      Delete
    6. mregnor "'Christian Dominionism' or 'Reconstructionism' is a leftie delusion that gives you nuts something to focus your hate."
      "Pretending that the so-called New Apostolic Movement and Seven Mountains Theology don’t exist or that those influenced by the Kansas City Prophets have not gained influence among particular presidential candidates here at home and political leaders abroad doesn’t make them go away. … And when they are identified as close advisers credited for a big win in Iowa, or when they act as main speakers and moderators at a huge televised rally for a candidate’s benefit, the proper response is to ask hard questions of what they want for the country, not whistling and quickly walking away."

      "Theonomy is an ordering of civil society according to Christian principles. I support that, and I believe that the best basis for law is the moral teaching of the Catholic Church."
      I suspect their Biblical Law and your "Christian principle" are considerably different. I should hope so, as theirs views your group as a heretical cult (Dominionists and Reconstructionists, mostly Pentecostal and Baptist, respectively, both consider your version, politely, wrong). Also, hurray for slavery and homosexuality = Capital crime, among other things.

      "It does not entail violating the Constitution…"
      Obviously. It's just a Constitution that neither of us would recognize.

      "...which is done routinely by secularists. and is in fact respectful of the Constitution."
      Take that, secularists! Your rolling back of Christian privilege is bad, while Reconstructionists' ...to ancient Israel as the model for society and to the Puritans as an exemplar of the modern application of biblical law" is respectful of the Constitution, because nothing says "First Amendment" like "No freedom of religion" and "actual establishment of religion".

      "Your problem with these folks (I am not one formally, but I sympathize with many of their views) is that they are politically active and don't agree with you. What a shame."
      No, the shame is that you'd share my noose and are too ignorant to realize it.

      Look, do they stand any real chance of enacting their agenda? I doubt it very much. But if they, connected as they are, with sects that are nominally in common with most citizens, stand no chance, how much of a chance do the Islamists have?

      "Your leg-humping of Islam is amusing. Wahhabist does not equal Islam, but Islam is an extremely intolerant religion."
      And rubbing out the First Amendment when it applies to groups you're scared of, "Burning this village to save it", leaves you without a roof over your head.

      "Amin Al-Husseini, grand Mufti of Jerusalem during WWII and Arafat's uncle, spent most of the war as an honored houseguest of Hitler in Germany."
      Yeah, take that, Henry Ford! Also, Ratlines.

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    7. Con't

      "Palestinian muslims were Nazi groupies during the war, and continue their anti-semitic genocidal plans today."
      I suppose "Nile-to-Euphrates" and "settling" land that already has people on it, "freezing" expansion of outposts while expanding them, "dismantling" them by not dismantling them (transforming the area in to a virtual archipegalo that, even if a two-State solution was being actively, and in Good Faith, pursued would leave one of those States tough, if not impossible, to maintain) helps?
      Good players are precious few there, leaving the rest at the mercy of groups that both want all of it.

      "Quite a nice bunch you're leg-humping."
      Oh, bloody hell, mregnor. They get same freedom and the same limits you get. That's not leg humping, that's the Bill of Rights.

      Delete
    8. They get the same freedom, no less, no more. You libs have been frantically dismantling the freedom of Christians for a half-century-- we can't organize voluntary prayer in our schools, we can't display Christmas creches or ten commandments on public property, we can't question your creation myth in our children's biology classes.

      Why do you shill for Muslim freedoms, when you work feverishly to decimate Christian freedoms?

      Do you think that Muslims are going to go along with gay pride and Darwinism as they acquire power?

      Delete
    9. @ Modus:

      Perhaps the central error you make (aside from the perplexing solicitude for Islamic barbarism) is that you seem to believe that human rights exist in a vacuum. You seem to believe that respect for human rights and protection of constitutional rights will continue to thrive in a post-Christian world.

      Human rights is a distinctly Christian tradition, and they have arisen in their explicit form only in Christian civilizations.

      What will happen to human rights in a post-Christian world? We'll find out, I fear. The experience of human rights in the atheist/communist world and the Muslim world does not bode well.

      If you respect human rights, you need to fight for the Christian worldview.

      Delete
    10. Egnor: Human rights is a distinctly Christian tradition, and they have arisen in their explicit form only in Christian civilizations.

      Encyclopedia Britannica: Most students of human rights trace the origins of the concept to ancient Greece and Rome, where it was closely tied to the doctrines of the Stoics, who held that human conduct should be judged according to, and brought into harmony with, the law of nature. A classic example of this view is given in Sophocles’ play Antigone, in which the title character, upon being reproached by King Creon for defying his command not to bury her slain brother, asserted that she acted in accordance with the immutable laws of the gods.

      Delete
    11. mregnor "...we can't organize voluntary prayer in our schools…"
      School mandated (or "voluntary") prayer isn't. Mandated isn't voluntary, and voluntary isn't voluntary ("You don't have to pray if you don't want to" or "You can leave the room if you don't want to pray" is saying "You are not one of us". That's a powerful peer pressure that you don't notice because you're not the oppressed minority you pretend to be).
      Kids can pray. On their own. Of their own volition. That is religious freedom.

      "...we can't display Christmas creches or ten commandments on public property…"
      Yes. Yes, you can. You simply don't have exclusive access anymore, which wasn't religious freedom. That was Christian privilege.

      "...we can't question your creation myth in our children's biology classes…"
      You can. You just can't have your shitty arguments ("creationism in a cheap suit" comes to mind) passed off as science in science class.

      "Why do you shill for Muslim freedoms, when you work feverishly to decimate Christian freedoms?"
      I'm against Muslims mandating prayer in public schools, having exclusive access to the statehouse lawn during Ramadan and passing their version of Creationism as science in science class, and I'm for them being able to practice their religion and pass along their myths on their own property, which is the same stance I take for Christianity.
      That's not "shilling" for one and "decimating" the other. That's consistency.

      "Do you think that Muslims are going to go along with gay pride and Darwinism as they acquire power?"
      Do you think that Christians (specifically, to avoid a broad brush, Conservative Christians) do now? They only put up with them because they no longer have the power to do otherwise. Lawrence v. Texas was in 2003 and Edwards v. Aguillard was in 1987. Heck, they're still agitating to push back 1965's Griswold v. Connecticut (as shown in Santorum's run in, holy crap, 2012), which decriminalized contraception for married couples. Where's the vaunted conservative "small government" and Liberty in that?

      "Human rights is a distinctly Christian tradition, and they have arisen in their explicit form only in Christian civilizations."
      Above what oleg points out, human rights is a "distinctly Christian tradition" because it's always been some Christians for and some Christians against (see: abolition, women's suffrage, African-American civil rights, etc). No matter who wins, Christianity gets the credit. When the liberal side is fighting and losing, they're dirty hippies and mouthy broads who don't read the Bible properly. When they win, eventually almost everybody turned out to be on the right side after all. The Jerry Falwells fight the MLKs tooth and nail (or dogs and firehoses) and after eventually losing, take credit for being on the right side all along.
      The "Christian tradition" you're so proud of is frequently the very one you're still fighting against.

      Delete
    12. @Modus:

      Show me the human rights pioneered by atheist regimes. The 20th century is full of them. Name them.

      Show me the human rights pioneered by Muslim regimes.

      In what country in the Middle East do Muslims have the most prosperity and the most rights?

      Answer: Israel.

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    13. mregnor, show me the human rights pioneered by Christian regimes.

      And Israel, like the other nations that have inched their way forward on human rights (Israel, admittedly, is in a unique situation), is a secular, constitutional democracy (faith being neither required nor banned by the State).

      Reasonably, the best path appears to be secular constitutional democracy.*



      * Which is the kind of government that, historically, we've only promoted in the Middle East (and Central and South America, etc) when it's profitable or convenient. The rest of the time we've gone with monarchy (Saudi Arabia), military junta (Chile) or, failing those, any old despot or tinpot dictator (Iraq), all of which have proved less than willing to promote human rights. Indeed, they've suppressed them, and the groups inside the country that pushed for them, as threats to their own power. It should be noted, too, that we've gone as far as to tip over existing democracies (Iran, Chile, etc) when they proved not-Right-wing-enough for us. Do Christians get the credit for those awful stumbles, or can we just blame the Muslims or atheists for that too?

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  10. Think of the rats which carried the Bubonic Plague to Europe aboard Venetian ships. It wasn't the rats themselves which brought the sickness, it was their fleas. But, without the rats the fleas would not have arrived. Radical Islamists are the fleas. Their 'moderate' brethren are the rats.

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    Replies
    1. 1. /me looks at address bar. Nope, this isn't Stormfront. Or Atlas Shrugs.
      2. I thought the Jews were the rats. Or the fleas. Or the roaches. Really, I don't know who I'm supposed to lash out at anymore.
      3. I thought the moderates were the baby and the Islamist were the bathwater. Or vice versa. Now I don't know which to throw out with the other! Woe!
      4. "Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"*

      * Offer not valid for Muslims.

      ...
      and finally,
      5. O_O

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