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Religious Freedom and a Mosque
by Bill Warner
One of the most common arguments of the supporters of the Ground Zero mosque includes religious freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Religion is seen as the framework to support building a mosque and community center near the site of the former World Trade Towers. Is this really about religion? Step back and look at the controversy. Do you feel like you are taking part in a religious exercise or a political fracas?
There is a vast confusion about what a religion is and is not. Currently the operative rule is that anything associated with Islam is a religious affair where all of the freedom of religion is applied to the action or event. Islam's actions are religious and if you oppose it, you are an un-American bigot.
It is time to stop and take a look at what we mean by a religion. There are about as many Buddhists in America today as there are Muslims. When was the last time you remember a Buddhist demand of any kind? Do Buddhists set up councils to shape the textbooks and demand Buddhist finance? Does the government make a big announcement when Buddhists are appointed to high posts? Are there even any Buddhists in any White House appointments? Do Buddhists complain? Never, for these are political actions, and Buddhism has almost no political outreach. Buddhism in America is purely religious, not political at all.
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