The original title was Obligatory Bitchslapping on Roger Ebert's Slavish Defense of That Mosque. I'm going to put all of his comments in italics, and then give my opinion. Then I thought of the connection between Italians and italics. So what do you call the way Arabs write? It's them damnable Saudis again behind Cordoba House (or maybe it's renamed, so That Mosque)
1. America missed a golden opportunity to showcase its Constitutional freedoms. The instinctive response of Americans should have been the same as President Obama's: Muslims have every right to build there. Where one religion can build a church, so can all religions.
Yeah right. Every day, 24/7 no Constitutional freedom is ever denied. Nobody has to sue. Lemme see, have the tenants of That Mosque had to sue? Have they been denied their day in court? Or maybe it's just when certain types of Americans that you hate raise objections to a (bad) idea in the court of political opinion, suddenly America is all shite. And what is so golden about this opportunity? Did you ever ask why is this particular mosque and so-called celebration of religious diversity not supported by important clerics of other faiths? Maybe because true ecumenicals smell a rat.
2. The First Amendment comes down to this: "I disapprove of what you
say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." It does not
come down to: "The First Amendment gives me the right to shout the
N-word 11 times on the radio to an inoffensive black woman, and when you
attack me for saying it, you are in violation of my First Amendment rights."
Sharia does not have a First Amendment. So how do you not see Islamists as anti-American. You're obviously smart enough to recognize that content of speech matters, and incendiary content is not given free run because of the First Amendment. Just because you have a First Amendment right you can't go shooting off your mouth immorally, any more than the right to bear arms allows you to shoot off your guns immorally. So what has Rauf have to say that's so important?
3. The choice of location for the mosque shows flawed judgment on the part of its imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf. He undoubtedly knows that now, and I expect the mosque to be relocated. The imam would be prudent to chose another location, because the far right wing has seized on the issue as an occasion for fanning hatred against Muslims.
Everything understated and true until the word 'because', because you are essentially accusing the 'far right wing' of terrorism - that their putative hatred has frightened FAR (Feisal Abdul Rauf) away.
4. One buried motive for the attacks on Park51 is exploitation of the insane belief of 20% of Americans that President Obama is a Muslim. Zealots like Glenn Beck, with his almost daily insinuations about the Muslim grandfather Obama never knew and the father he met only once, are encouraging this mistaken belief.
This is almost too stupid to respond to. When you can assign 'buried motives' to the 'insane beliefs' of 20% of Americans, you can justify any argument. Glenn Beck again? Glenn Beck mocks Obama as a comedian should. I mock Obama. We mock Obama. Wouldn't you like to mock Obama too?
5. The Bill of Rights has a parallel with pregnancy. You can't be a little pregnant, and you can't be a little free. Nor can you serve yourself from it cafeteria style.
This means nothing, except that you've already run out of credible arguments on the subject at hand. I believe the term is non-sequitur.
6. Somewhere on the Right is an anonymous genius at creating memes. Sarah Palin floats a suspicious number of them: Death Panels, Ground Zero Mosque, 9/11 Mosque, Terror Babies. Her tweets are mine fields of coded words; for her, "patriot" is defined as, "those who agree with me." When she says "Americans," it is not inclusive. These two must have been carefully composed in advance to be tweeted within 60 seconds of each other:
By using the evocative word "shackles" she associates Dr. Laura's use
of the N-word with the suffering of slaves. By implying Dr. Laura was
silenced by "Constitutional obstructionists," she employs the
methodology of the Big Lie, defined in Mein Kampf as an untruth
so colossal that "no one would believe that others could have the
impudence to distort the truth so infamously." She uses the trigger word
"reload" to evoke her support of Second Amendment activists while
attacking "activists" for evoking the First.
Uhhh. Okaaay... I guess we're in that strange zone where everything about the subject at hand gets blurry but the opposition to your real foes gets focused. This is a species of fallacious argument I am starting to recognize. Here's how I describe it.
There are a small minority of immoral idiots that are against A. I don't find A particularly offensive. I don't think A threatens me at all. Somehow, miraculously those immoral idiots are gaining influence on the public. I'm not going to investigate the real merits of A, because in truth I don't care one way or another. A is not the threat, those immoral idiots are the threat. I must therefore support A because if it fails, it will encourage the immoral idiots. A is always the lesser of two evils.
Now having described that and not having read further, let's see if Ebert uses that again.
7. Many Americans and a great many politicians have either never taken a civics class or disagree with what they should have learned there. The major opinion sources in America that seem to devote the most attention to the Bill of Rights are Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, all distorting it as an everyday practice. Bill O'Reilly, to his credit, doesn't indulge in this.
8. A meme is infecting our society that Muslims are terrorists and hate America; they are the enemy. It is a cliche to say, "the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful," but is true. When Muslim nations are bombed by America, can those nations be expected to applaud? In Iran after 9/11 there were candlelight marches in sympathy with the United States.
No you dipshit, the word is Islamofascists. The meme is that Americans on the Right are stupid and don't discriminate. That we don't look for differences between Sunni and Shia, that we don't talk about Hamas or Hezbollah, Sharia, Takfir, Dhimmitude or anything specific about the world of Islam. We'uns jus hate alla dem moooslims.
9. I find hope in the words of two American strippers interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Cassandra, who works at New York Dolls, just around the corner from the proposed mosque, said she worried that calls to prayer might wake up the neighbors. The WSJ writes: "But when she was told that the organizers aren't planning loudspeakers, she said she didn't have a problem with the project: 'I don't know what the big deal is. It's freedom of religion, you know?'"
Chris works in the Pussycat Lounge, even closer to the site. When the airplanes struck the World Trade Center, Chris became a Red Cross volunteer working with survivors. The WSJ writes she "sat on a barstool in a tiny, shiny red dress and defended Park51. 'They're not building a mosque in the World Trade Center. It's all good. You have your synagogues and your churches. And you have a mosque.'" Chris lost eight of her friends on Sept. 11, 2001, firefighters from the Brooklyn firehouse she lived next to at the time, but "the people who did it are not going to the mosque."
Cassandra and Chris reflect American values more instinctively and correctly on this issue, let it be said, than Sarah Palin, Howard Dean, Newt Gingrich, Harry Reid and Rudy Giuliani, who should know better.
Pick your minority representative and side with them against the immoral idiots. And what exactly does the Arabic say? Greetings? Is that the point? So we can have colorful stamps?
10. I wonder how many Americans realize the mosque is not intended for Ground Zero. What will be constructed there includes a 55,000 square foot retail mall. This mall will be deep enough to connect with subway lines -- deep enough, that is, to theoretically be embedded in the ashes of some of the 9/11 victims.
It's 500 feet away and tied symbolically to Ground Zero by the founder of the concept by design. You cannot bury that symbolism under your contempt for the people who oppose the idea.