Ron Paul to Sunshine Patriots: Stop Your Demagogy About The NYC Mosque!




Congressman Ron Paul today released the following statement on the controversy concerning the construction of an Islamic Center and Mosque in New York City:

Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

It has been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are “fiddling while the economy burns.”

The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”

Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

The nineteen suicide bombers didn’t come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.

Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?

If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.

The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish. In addition conservatives missed a chance to challenge the hypocrisy of the left which now claims they defend property rights of Muslims, yet rarely if ever, the property rights of American private businesses.

Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam–the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty.

The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservatives’ aggressive wars.

The House Speaker is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding a Congressional investigation to find out just who is funding the mosque—a bold rejection of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law—in order to look tough against Islam.

This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.



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  1. Right to the Mark

    The only point of observation where I differ with Congressman Paul is on the issue of the free pass all religions in this country enjoy from property and income taxes.

    I am a steadfast supporter of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, but there is no guarantee within those documents that religious institutions or those with religious beliefs have the right to be subsidized by those who do no share those beliefs. The consequence of the tax privileges extended to belief systems claiming religious status, be they Christian, Muslim, Scientology or Catholic, Buddhist or Shinto, is that they can cause the precise 'oppression by the majority' that Paul warns of. For example there are many cults that took over neighborhoods, towns, communities, or even states, in the instance of the Seventh Day Adventist (Mormon) faith, and by removing vast portions of property from tax rolls and shifting that burden to the non-exempt portions of those communities all but drove non-believers elsewhere. Religious and cult leaders pay no taxes and live at the expense of all. It is essentially unfair, and it is contrary to the true principles upon which this country was founded. Yet, it was a corruption of the principle of freedom of religion that was rooted in the early days of this Republic BEFORE THERE WAS AN INCOME TAX.

    I agree with the basic argument advanced by Ron Paul, but, point out, that if these religious institutions didn't have their tax-exempt status the door would not even be open for the pseudo-conservatives like Rush Limbaugh to be making their prejudiced and specious arguments.

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    • "...in the instance of the Seventh Day Adventist (Mormon) faith,..."

      Seventh Day Adventists are not Mormons--that would be Latter Day Saints. And the Mormons did not "drive non-believers elsewhere," as you state, but were themselves demonized and driven from their homes & towns by those who did not understand them.--kind of like what we're doing now to Muslims.

      Regarding your statement that "religious leaders pay no taxes," you misunderstand the meaning of "tax exempt." Religious organizations don't pay property tax on buildings used for religious worship; but people paid by the church, whether ministers or janitors, have to pay income taxes on their earnings.

      And I fail to understand your view that a tax-exempt status extended to religious organizations can cause "oppression by the majority."

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  2. fred the protectionist

    That's the beauty of Free Trade. We no longer have to look down with pity and patronize foreign cultures for being "exotic"; after we lower our standard of living to the rest of the world we will be just as exotic as them.

    "Mmmm yes, Muslims have contributed greatly to the advancement of science," sips tea with British accent, "do pass the grey poupon."

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  3. "The art of leadership... consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention." -- A. Hitler

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  4. Kudos to you Congressman Paul, for your patriotic bravery in standing up the extremist and racist rhetoric being spewed around this issue.

    I may not agree with you on most issues, but it's nice to see folks (in power) on the right who haven't abandoned dedication to the core principles upon which this country was founded.

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    • get over it, Doug

      the wound that runs deep - it's been nearly 10 years

      did you know that more than 1500 people died in the year after 2001 on our nation's roads than usual because they were afraid to fly?

      people die every day, thousands of our soldiers in these needless wars for that evil parasite israel, but 9/11 was spectacular

      who said it was "very good" while the building rubble piles were still smoldering? Bejamin Netanyahu

      you are clueless and easily manipulated - go vote Republican so they can ship your job to India or Mexico or Guatemala

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    • Whanker, zealot fanatic hater freaks. Go crawl back under your medieval stone. you mistake the ongoing argument to maintain the constitutional foundation of seperation of church and state as an attack on christianity. Get a grip on reality. You have been mind raped and it has made you a rabid, frothing, reactionary animal. More willing to snap and bite thanto consider and reason. Unfortunately you are not alone..

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      • Nice post, Mark Trance! Thank the good blogging fairies that our eyes are protected from seeing Mike M's bad post. We'll have no reasoned debate here, that's for sure! It's good to see so many of Ron Paul's supporters backing the property rights of the Muslim murder's and their Saudi backers over the free speech rights of their fellow Americans. You call that "true patriotism" right? Yeah, sure, backing the people who kill Americans over Americans, that's not being a traitor. No, not at all! Thank Ron, my eyes are opened.

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        • Ryan the perfectionist

          I don't think any of the builders of Park51 have been convicted or accused of murdering anyone. Please keep the collective guilt for all Muslims to yourself. There are close to a million Muslims living and working in New York City. America Muslims have nothing to do with 9/11 except for the fact that we are victims just like everyone else.

          We'll build a community center where we want to and losers like you will have no bearing on the matter.

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  7. There's nothing more effective than religious demagoguery to distract people from the criminals on Wall St. and Washington D.C. who are devastating the American middle class. Powerful interests are robbing the country blind on behalf of billionaire corporations while the people turn on each other. Classic diversion, they did that during the economic crisis in 1930's Germany and it worked like a charm.

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  8. fred the protectionist

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    • Ryan the perfectionist

      Why is it despicable? American Muslims have nothing to do with 9/11. We were victims just like our co-patriots. Hundreds of Muslims died that day. And many Muslims served this country as first responders. Our dead bodies come back in coffins w/ American flags on them and are buried in Arlington cemetery as Muslims are serving in the US army as well.

      In addition to the trauma of the event itself, we have idiots like you thinking we're "despicable" and treating us like crap because we want to build a centers to worship God in. Thanks pal.

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      • Re-read the comment.

        The 'despicable' comment was in reference to the Westboro Baptist Church and whether they have "the right" to picket soldiers' funerals.

        The building of the Mosque is about judgement and respect.

        Again, though, the argument isn't about rights.

        Moreoever, Dr. Paul's suggestion that this is some astroturf campaign is nuts. Go tell that to the GZ workers.

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    • "They have the First Amendment right to do it, but it doesn’t mean it is no less despicable."

      The question is, why, all of a sudden, it became so despicable. When, for almost a year, it was not causing all the furor, when it was seen, not just as acceptable, as just "it's their right", but as "a noble effort" by a mother whose son died on 9-11. When both the Imam and his wife, an advisor for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, were both backed by lots of other people, including a rabbi and an FBI spokesman, whose son was also killed on the 9-11 attacks. When there had been an actual mosque on the Pentagon all along. When even closer to the ground zero there was an actual mosque all along. (See the Salon's piece, "How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began")

      It all seemed so nice. It looked as if America was healing. As if it was rising up stronger against the terror. Still united as Americans, against all odds, beating the prejudices, as they did before. Almost unharmed by the terrorism.

      But, not long ago, then it was ingeniously framed as the "ground zero" "mosque". "The monument for the victory of terrorism". Then the thing just run amok.

      It could be just plain prejudice, a sad, but understandable reaction. But given the fact that there had been even pre-printed signs promoting fear-mongering websites appearing on the protests, one can't avoid to wonder if such reaction is really natural, or is it a more coordinated campaign of people who profit from the hate, prejudice, and prolonging the suffering from all the insult *they've made* people feel with the mischievous framing they've invested to promote. An insult to both the relatives of the victims of 9-11 and innocent Muslims, regardless of having had family or friends who died in the attacks, now being portrayed as inherently condoners of the atrocity, where some of themselves may have lost part of their families and friends.

      An insult, that, as I've mentioned, didn't seem to exist before such virulent framing.

      I find all this profoundly disturbing. I want to believe it's all just something people did in the heat of the moment, that they're not really engaged in turning Americans against each other, fomenting a campaign of ethnic hatred. But I find very hard to.

      I can be optimist to the point to of not believing that the Cordoba center was conceived as an insult or as a victory trophy, much less that all Muslims see that way. That seems very reasonable to me, as it seems it was the general opinion right after the project came in the news, on NYT. Even if many, specially outside the US, would really interpret that way. But I don't think that Bin Laden and his folks would be really happy with a center where Muslims and "infidels" can hang out together in the gym. That must be even more frustrating given that it was right there, right next to his "masterpiece", rendered null.

      But I find hard to be optimistic to the point of believing that whose who invest in the campaigns of fear and hate really have the best intentions, that they're really making an effort targeted to improving the situation and the relations between everybody. That looks to me more naïveté than optimism. But I don't know really, it's hard to judge. And, for sure, even people who live in the most civilized places can be as bigoted as those who don't have such luxuries, those who are more easy targets to the hate religion and the feeling of being a victim can so easily nourish.

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      • PS correction, as I can't edit anymore: the FBI spokesman had not a son who died in the attacks. I mixed up as I was checking it, it was on the same paragraph.

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  10. Robert Vandersluis

    Excellent essay. If Congressman Paul isn't careful, he may force me to take another look at the Libertarian Party. And thanks JC above - now I don't have to write so much. Glad I stopped by!

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  11. One thing: it's not a mosque that's being built. It's essentially the Muslim equivalency of a YMCA; yes there will be a room for worship but that's secondary to the activities offered.

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  12. It's August 23, Rand: do you know where your father is?

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  13. Ron Paul,

    Thank you. I am becoming more and more cynical about this country's future. It seems that the power and direction of this country relies more on the extremists (on either "side") and ignorant majority each year. The masses, for the most part, have given up reason and constitutionalism in favor of irrational thought provoked by ridiculous circuis-media frenzies. I thank you for offering some reason in such unsettling times. I wish you the best. Have a great day.

    -BW

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    • Unsurprising words from someone with no arguement. To you I ask: why should the Mosque not be built at that location?

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  15. Here's another perspective to consider......

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgItO0vNxsU&feature=sub

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    • fred the protectionist

      Uh oh, I can't watch this. He's too brown and I'm suppose to be a racist, so sorry got to pass this one up.

      Besides doesn't look like anyone else even clicked your link.

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  16. WOW!!! Powerful words DR. Paul. I may not always agree with you but you continue to be a voice of reason... And your arguments regardless of my opinion always have a very grounded foundation..

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  17. @Jeremiah - There's also a long history of Christian armies who built churches (or converted old pagan temples into churches) on conquered territory (see especially Roman Christianization of Europe, and the Christianization of North and South American natives by European settlers). Forced conversion is also part of Christianity's past too. Yes, Islam has a violent and militaristic begining, but other religions do too. As far as I recall, the men who carried out 9/11 didn't want to convert or build any mosques in America, they just wanted to kill as many "infidels" as possible. For them to view a community center being built in order to foster a "platform for multi-faith dialogue" definatelly wouldn't be parallel to their goal.

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  18. This is spot-on accurate. Once again, Ron Paul proves himself as a true patriot of our Constitution, liberty and justice for all.

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  19. Bravo, Ron Paul!

    To those here who disagree with Congressman Paul-- if we force this community center to move it will mean that we let the terrorists change who we are and what we stand for. That is how we let them win.

    Yes, it would be in poor taste to build a Mosque right on the ground where the twin towers stood but the truth is, this is just a building where some Muslim-Americans will gather. It is not a Mosque. The building can't even be seen from Ground Zero.

    Scott Brown says: "This is a grave for many and sacred ground for many more. The building of this mosque IS insensitive, as are your comments and many of the comments of my fellow Libertarians. "

    I say (again) in response. This is not a Mosque. The very fact that you label it as such, shows that you have been listening to the propagandists who use false information to manipulate you, to stir your emotions-- rile you up. It has obviously worked.

    After the Oklahoma City bombing we did not ban all Christian gathering places near the Federal Building-- we don't blame all Christians for a murder committed by one Christian or a group of Christians, and we do not allow terrorists to change the character of America.

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  20. Non-issues posing as issues are the "false flag" operations that our government and media use to distract from the real issues that people should be paying attention to. Distractions that the moneychangers and their elected enablers hope will keep us all pitted against each other while they go on robbing ALL of us blind.

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