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Steve Lunetta: Mosque madness

Right About Now

Posted: August 22, 2010 7:00 p.m.
Updated: August 23, 2010 4:55 a.m.

An age-old question that has always faced civilized society is this: Is it better to follow the law or do the right thing? Sometimes, a law can directly contradict a course of action that is “right” or “good.”

For example, if my child is very sick and needs to get to the hospital, would I speed to get there? Of course I would. Sheriff’s deputies can write me a ticket later.

If a ball goes over a fence that is posted as “no trespassing,” what kid wouldn’t climb over the fence to get his ball? As long a big Doberman doesn’t appear out of nowhere, the ball can be retrieved and the game goes on.

Am I making a case for lawlessness? Of course not. Laws give our society structure and function. It is also what makes our nation truly unique, in that we have the rule of law, not men. However, common sense must interject into the blind observance of written law.

Last week, President Barack Obama said “as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.” Fair enough. Our country was founded on the desire to express religious views freely. That is a right we hold dear.

Our president went on to say, “that includes the right to build a place of worship (a mosque) and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.” Whoops. Did we just cross the “do what is right versus what is legal” barrier?

Without a doubt, our Muslim friends have the right to build a mosque wherever they have a legal option to do so. But just because someone can do something does not mean that they should.

For example, maybe we should build a “Nazi Social Achievements” museum right next to Auschwitz. I’m sure all of those Holocaust survivors wouldn’t care. The understanding that the museum would foster would be invaluable.

How about instituting “Turkish Appreciation Day” in Armenia? For one day, all Armenians could pause and reflect on the warm feelings they have for Turkey and the kindness that Turks have shown to Armenians over the years.

Maybe a Ku Klux Klan memorial could be erected next to the NAACP headquarters in Baltimore. The folks over at the NAACP would easily agree that lynchings and cross burnings can easily be misunderstood. Hey, can’t anyone take a joke?

We could ask Japan if they’d like to set up a curio shop with World War II memorabilia on the deck of the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. Tourists could buy books of Tojo’s greatest quotations while overlooking the oil that continues to bleed from the sunken battleship. 

No, there are some things that should not be done.

Even members of the Muslim community recognize this simple truth. In Thursday’s edition of The Signal, a story from the Associated Press discussed how some moderates within Islam object to the mosque. Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian scholar, said Islamic radicals “think in a very primitive way. If they see a mosque near ground zero, this would certainly be perceived as a sign of victory for al-Qaida. In the end, they would think ‘they are bowing to us.’”

If anyone should understand this, it is the president of the United States. The president has the obligation to place the greater good ahead of the selfish ambitions of a small minority.

The brainchild of the mosque/center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is a current darling of the Obama administration and is being held up as a symbol for peaceful reconciliation with the Muslim world community. In fact, he was recently sent on a several-nation tour to drum up support for the president’s policies.

Did I mention that he was traveling on your dime? Yep, the State Department is paying for the junket.

Hence, Obama is using Rauf to advance his agenda (or is it the other way around?) which explains Obama’s lack of opposition to the incredibly offensive idea of building a mosque near the site of 3,000 American deaths at the hands of Islamic extremists.

One-term Obama should be our president first and world statesman second.

I don’t know about you, but my country and countrymen are more important to me than building a symbol that rubs salt into the still-open wounds of 9/11.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident who will climb any fence to get his ball back.  His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of the Signal. He can be reached at


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