Monday, July 19, 2010

Three-fold Illogical Argument about the Ground Zero Mosque

Naturally I read it on Andrew Sullivan's blog, but it's actually from Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs.
It should be pointed out (again) that the “Ground Zero mosque” these idiots are ranting about is actually a proposed community center with an auditorium, swimming pool, and restaurants, in addition to a mosque. It would be housed in an existing 13-story building that’s two blocks away from Ground Zero and has no view of the area; there are two very big buildings in between the proposed community center and Ground Zero. Here is an embedded Google Map in which you can clearly see that the idea of this being a “Ground Zero mosque” is a ridiculous paranoid fantasy.

It's pretty impressive to combine three silly, illogical arguments in one short paragraph. First, Johnson pretends that a religious worship site that includes other major features ceases to be a church, and is now a "community center." There are plenty of Christian mega-churches in the U.S. that have similar features to the proposed Islamic center in New York. So do even small religious sites. Down the street from where I live is a Catholic church; it has a large separate building called a parish center, in which they often hold community-based events. But guess what, it's still a Catholic church. Regardless of what other attractions it has, the proposed mosque is still a mosque. 

Second, Johnson would have us believe that it's a "ridiculous paranoid fantasy" to call a mosque sited two blocks away from Ground Zero a "Ground Zero Mosque." Why? Because it's a whole two blocks away, and separated from the site by a couple of buildings. Really? Is that supposed to be a serious argument? Apparently in Johnson-world,  if it isn't located exactly right square on top of Ground Zero, no one can call it a Ground Zero Mosque -- because we never name things for major locations they are close to.  Maybe he should contact United Nations Apartments there in NYC. According to booking information, the apartment complex is located 5 blocks from UN Headquarters. Five blocks! What kind of insane person thought he could name it for the UN when it's a whole five blocks away?

And finally, recent polls indicate that roughly half of NYC opposes the Ground Zero Mosque. According to Johnson, that half of the city is made up of people engaging in a paranoid fantasy. That's a pretty funny assertion coming from someone who is apparently unaware that churches can have major ancillary structures & functions, and that building complexes are often named for significant landmarks that are more or less nearby.


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