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Ten years ago, the GOP would never have stood for the attacks on a congregation trying to build a new house of worship. Both houses passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act unanimously and a slightly different bill that the House had passed earlier in the 106th Congress had 199 Republicans voting for and only 20 voting against the bill.

So, as loudly as the Republicans and craven Democrats rant about the community center that includes a mosque that will be near where the World Trade Center towers used to be, it's important to remind them that they supported the law that stops New York from doing anything special to keep this mosque from being built.

Here is the applicable portion of the bill (S 2869 of the 106th Congress):

SEC. 2. PROTECTION OF LAND USE AS RELIGIOUS EXERCISE.
(a) SUBSTANTIAL BURDENS.—
(1) GENERAL RULE.—No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly, or institution—
(A) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(B) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
(2) SCOPE OF APPLICATION.—This subsection applies in any case in which—
(A) the substantial burden is imposed in a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability;
(B) the substantial burden affects, or removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability; or
(C) the substantial burden is imposed in the implementation of a land use regulation or system of land use regulations, under which a government makes, or has in place formal or informal procedures or practices that permit the government to make, individualized assessments of the proposed uses for the property involved.
(b) DISCRIMINATION AND EXCLUSION.—
(1) EQUAL TERMS.—No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that treats a religious assembly or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution.
(2) NONDISCRIMINATION.—No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that discriminates against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination.
(3) EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITS.—No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that—
(A) totally excludes religious assemblies from a jurisdiction; or
(B) unreasonably limits religious assemblies, institutions, or structures within a jurisdiction.

Well, the process went through. The community center was approved. The city had no valid reason to disapprove the center. Republicans know that. Why have they started to complain after the fact? Why have they forgotten that they supported the law that would have made it impossible for New York to stop this even if it had wanted?

There is nothing sacred about any of the ground here. The new buildings are towers to mammon, just as the old ones were. Al Qaeda does not run Islam and those who attack the construction of mosques anywhere in this country are both restricted by law and by the constitution in their desires.

We can always guess, but it seems to be nothing but the expediency of electoral politics. If you know a Republican who is attacking the new community center and New York's decision to approve it, ask him if he wants the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act repealed and wants to restrict the First Amendment. Ask if he wants the First Amendment to be completely destroyed.

Originally posted to freelunch on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:04 PM PDT.

Poll

What most motivates the opposition to the center?

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| 36 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Religious freedom really means something (8+ / 0-)

    We need to stand up for it, even if we have no use for religion ourselves.

    The US Senate is begging to be abolished. Let's fulfill its request.

    by freelunch on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:04:12 PM PDT

  •  The Republicans used to stand up for... (6+ / 0-)

    a lot of good thing, but this isn't your Daddy's GOP any longer.

    It's now some wild hybrid of Birchers, LaRouchers, Randian Acolytes, and Christianist zealots.

    "I think I ate your chocolate squirrel." - Brick Tamland

    by Bonsai66 on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:09:31 PM PDT

  •  Didn't you know... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freelunch, ItsSimpleSimon, MsGrin

    that this is a "Christian" nation so the real meaning of the Bill of Rights only applies to the "Right" kind of Christians.../snark

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:12:38 PM PDT

  •  For the Right Wing (6+ / 0-)

    The US Constitution is just like the Bible: Something you pick & choose from depending on the political ends you what it to serve.

    Sometimes the US Constitution gets in the way and cherry-picking will simply not work, so you say, "The Constitution is not a suicide pact" and you use the goddamn piece of paper as so much toilet paper. George Bush did it all the time and the good folk (currently called the teabaggers) "who love the US Constitution" gave him a rousing cheer every time he did that. They are the "real" Christians so don't look for any morality or consistency there.

  •  The RLUIPA expanded religious freedom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    beyond the scope of the First Amendment, so it's not quite right to say that getting rid of it would impact the First Amendment.

    •  It was more of a slap at the Supreme Court (0+ / 0-)

      Congress thought the Supreme Court had read the First Amendment too narrowly. This was one of their responses.

      The US Senate is begging to be abolished. Let's fulfill its request.

      by freelunch on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:30:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right. (0+ / 0-)

        IOW, the Congress expanded religious freedom beyond the scope of the First Amendment as interpreted by the court (which, in our system, sets the parameters of the Constitution)

        •  But they have forgotten they were its advocates (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          freelunch

          as if it never happened. There is a diary about a Beloit College list for professors which is up, which seems relevant here. Rs literally don't know what they used to do and used to respect and honor, or remember when they used to think about policy other than corporate economics. Just as they don't remember that they gave birth to the deficit they hate with unfunded Part D and several off the books wars. They choose not to know so it doesn't even count. It's not that the religious land use act does or does not extend beyond the First Amendment, what they have forgotten is that it exists at all and that it exists because they insisted it exist. You can remind them. It will not matter.

          •  Absolutely. (0+ / 0-)

            Agreed 100%.  The nit I was picking was solely over the notion that abandoning the RLUIPA is tantamount to constraining the first amendment.

            •  But if you listen, they are going much further (0+ / 0-)

              RLUIPA makes it impossible for New York to do anything about the community center, but the screaming right wants to restrict the First Amendment far more than the Supreme Court is willing.

              The US Senate is begging to be abolished. Let's fulfill its request.

              by freelunch on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 05:19:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think the issue is religious freedom... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsGrin

    The issue is about sensitivity.  I compare this situation to the idiots of Westboro Baptist who protest at the funerals of our soldiers.  Do they have the right to do so under the 1st Amendment?  Of course -- they have the freedom of speech.  But that doesn't make it appropriate.  It's a slap in the face of those who sacrificed their lives for that very freedom.  

    Likewise, the building of an Islamic mosque/ community center so close to the site of radical Islamic destruction is an intentional insult to America.  Don't think for a second this is about exercising their rights as Muslims.  This is about consecrating a jihadist victory against the "West" -- if you don't believe me, then you're probably in need of some serious education in Islamic theology.

    •  No, it is not an intentional insult (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpecialKinFlag

      That's an absurd claim. Is the mosque in the Pentagon an intentional insult? Are any other mosques?

      It is foolish to imply that all Moslems are members of al Qaeda. It is particularly foolish when the leader of the congregation that wants to build this community center is actively pro-America.

      The US Senate is begging to be abolished. Let's fulfill its request.

      by freelunch on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:39:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok then, If the leader is so "Pro American"... (0+ / 0-)

        Why not propose building the mosque somewhere else?  I mean, rather than cause any contoversy, then just make a statement like, "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize the negative reaction this would get.  I'll gladly worship elsewhere."

        If this is supposed to open some healthy dialogue about religious tolerance, it's a bad first choice.

      •  The intentional insult meme is a way for them to (0+ / 0-)

        dodge the first amendment altogether and be boldly bigoted in posturing in front of others whom they want to agree with them.

        Of course, part of the 'sensitive' meme assumes a community in which those of whom sensitivity is demanded and those demanding belong to the same society, because the point of it is that there will be a society including both of them on the day after problem X is dealt with which the use of sensitivity theoretically will make a better place. In this case, there is no such common society, nor any intention by Rs to create or be a part of one, therefore no cause for any Republican or hack to be sensitive to Muslim Americans at all, and actually no great reaason for Muslims to be sensitive back, save for what Islam itself requires. Which is a lot.

      •  There is no "mosque" in the Pentagon (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl, ItsSimpleSimon

        There is a prayer room for Muslims. Apparently it is missing some of the elements that would make it an official mosque.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 05:13:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If I do take further instruction about Islam (0+ / 0-)

      I can be certain that you are not competent to offer it.

      The US Senate is begging to be abolished. Let's fulfill its request.

      by freelunch on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:40:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  feel free to research Sharia Law on your own. (0+ / 0-)

        Please read the writings of Muslims like Louis Farrakahn, leader of the Nation of Islam.  I'd be interested in seeing your eyes opened.  You're right, you don't need me to give you instruction, you can read the hate for the West in their own words.  

  •  The teeshirt slogans... (2+ / 0-)

    practically write themselves.

    Photobucket

    The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. -- Alan Watts

    by Donna O on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 04:59:32 PM PDT

  •  Minor nitpick, but important (0+ / 0-)

    Cordoba House does not include a mosque - there's a prayer center on the upper floors, but no mosque.

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