Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pope Makes Preemptive Attack on Marriage Equality before Trip to U.K.

     In a prelude to his trip to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict has once again condemned equal civil marriage rights for same sex couples.  (For those of you in the U.K., there are some protests of the Pope being planned.  Join up here.)

     Benedict, speaking before paying a historic visit to the U.K. later this week, said the Roman Catholic Church “cannot approve of legal initiatives that imply a re-evaluation of the life of the couple and the family.”  The pope, in a reference to legalized marriage among homosexuals, said such laws “contribute to the weakening of the principles of natural law” and to “confusion about society’s values.”  He made his remarks today while receiving Germany’s new envoy to the Holy See at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.
 Image from Mario Piperni

There Already Was a Mosque at Ground Zero: Before 9/11

     In all the hatred and wrath being spewed about the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" an incredible fact has been omitted: there was already a mosque at Ground Zero.  Before 9/11.  On the 17th floor of the south tower.  It was destroyed.  Some of its Muslim faithful were killed.

     Given the vitriolic opposition now to the proposal to build a Muslim community center two blocks from ground zero, one might say something else has been destroyed: the realization that Muslim people and the Muslim religion were part of the life of the World Trade Center.
     Opponents of the Park51 project say the presence of a Muslim center dishonors the victims of the Islamic extremists who flew two jets into the towers. Yet not only were Muslims peacefully worshiping in the twin towers long before the attacks, but even after the 1993 bombing of one tower by a Muslim radical, Ramzi Yousef, their religious observance generated no opposition
     “We weren’t aliens,” Mr. Abdus-Salaam, 60, said in a telephone interview from Florida, where he moved in retirement. “We had a foothold there. You’d walk into the elevator in the morning and say, ‘Salaam aleikum,’ to one construction worker and five more guys in suits would answer, ‘Aleikum salaam.’ ”
     “It is a shame, shame, shame,” Mr. Mamdouh, 49, said of the Parc51 dispute. “Sometimes I wake up and think, this is not what I came to America for. I came here to build this country together. People are using this issue for their own agenda. It’s designed to keep the hate going.