Bigotry trumps freedom of religion

There has been an uproar over whether an Islamic community center should be built just blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks. For several hundred years the Constitution has formed the United States’ foundation of laws. In the Bill of Rights, the first amendment allows people to exercise the right to practice any religion. Based on those principles, the building of the Islamic community center in the lower Manhattan area of New York City should be respected and not protested.

There have been debates on CNN, Fox News, ABC News, and there is even a blog site dedicated to this Islamic community center. President Obama has made comments backing the construction of the Islamic community center as well, stating, “The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country… but let me be clear, as a citizen and as president, I believe that Muslims have the right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.”

This country is supposed to be a melting pot in which people can blend together and have the option of driving a Honda Civic or a Bentley; eat at McDonalds or at Wolfgang Puck’s; or decide whether to raise a family in a church or a mosque.

In a discussion on Fox News, prominent republican Newt Gingrich compared building the of the Islamic community center near Ground Zero to anti-Semitism, saying, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C.” His comments were ignorant. Nazis were not a religious group, so you cannot compare them to the entire group of Islamic followers. Furthermore, it was not the entire group of Muslims that crashed planes into the World Trade Center. If Americans are trying to express patriotism, then they’re going about it the wrong way. They’re forgetting the rights and laws that our founding fathers came up with over 200 years ago.

Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, plans to burn the Quran this weekend. Antics like this are what cause vast uproars across America.

The bigotry needs to stop soon or else this can have grave repercussions. If we can throw out the laws that first amendment, and in some cases, arguably, we already have, then why not get rid of the right to freedom, to bear arms, and allowing women to vote? Respect and acceptance of different cultures is what our country was founded for, and if we forget that we lose our foundation.