“If you build it, they will win.”

That statement is the sentiment of a wide majority of Americans feel when the idea of winning is found in relation to building a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. To call it a hot button issue would be like calling Barack Obama just a president. Anything September 11th related in the United States is taken into a broader context and the area where the Trade Center once stood proudly is a very sensitive subject to say the least.

There is very little dual understanding in reference to the mosque issue, seeing that many believe if the city allows the religious house of worship to be built then we as Americans are essentially championing Islamic extremist who went forth with the attacks nine Septembers ago. It isn’t a matter of church versus state; rather it’s a battle between being tolerant versus being opportune.

Tolerance comes from the idea of treating everyone equal, regardless of race, gender or creed. The 1st Amendment protects any religion from being persecuted against building a temple or house of worship anywhere. Since we are now considering Ground Zero “hallowed ground”, it is safe to assume that we can be tolerant of a mosque being placed near it, correct?

After all, if you notice where the mosque is set to be located the property sits on the same block as four strip clubs & off-track betting. Essentially asking, would it be right if someone decided to build a Bunny Ranch next to Lakewood Church? No, it wouldn’t but you must understand why there is some blinding faith tied to the Twin Towers.

To challenge the notion that this isn’t a religious issue of skepticism from one party to the other, I offer this scenario. If there were talks and a plan to build a museum to honor the Ku Klux Klan near the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama, there would be initial skepticism mainly due to the fact that the building is to be made exclusively for the history of a terrorist organization on American soil. If I remind you that the 16th Street Church was the setting for a bombing that killed four young African-American girls in 1963 and that said bombing was carried out by Klansmen, the idea would be universally dismissed.

The difference between the scenario I offered and the mosque issue in New York is simple. Americans are on the fence about this mainly because of the religion and how naive certain members of higher office are towards that religion.

It is universally understood that the attacks on September 11th were carried out by religious extremists that do not appeal to all (or maybe any) of Islam’s teachings. But are Americans so afraid to accept the idea that those on a certain side of power are doomed to never give it a chance? It’s not as if we are casting off the idea of building a Christian church, a holy center for those who praise Jesus. That would be considered fine and apropos. It’s a striking idea that no matter what, anything that challenges the belief of our forefathers is immediately given a skeptic look before immediately turned down.

What fails me and so many others who may share my views on this particular issue is that as many times as the opposition uses the forefathers as a defense mechanism, do they not understand that this country has changed drastically since Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton planted the seeds of democracy nearly 300 years ago? It has grown to become a world superpower from its humble beginnings as a fledging country fleeing from the tyranny of King George III. They welcomed all who would help make the country better and peacefully talked within itself on how to govern its people, not as kings but as a solid group of individuals united for a common cause.

For a country which chooses to practice religious tolerance, it has also given many people the right to outright bash another religion due to the actions of a select few. The Crusades were carried out with the Lord in mind but nary a Christian is going to debate that issue as compared to the extremists who decided to carry out a war against the United States on their own terms.

The mosque is not a vessel of one particular group of people winning against a country; it’s a symbol of worship and tolerance. It’s a sign of America trying to extend its hand to a region that is untrusting, of course but in some areas willing to come together. There are battles we can fight and battles we simply decide to stick our nose in because we’re fighting ourselves more than the actual issue.

This is an issue that you leave only to the people who actually lost something on September 11th, not to the government. Sometimes, it’s okay to voice your opinion and in others its best to keep a filter on guard.