Newt Gingrich, like many other Americans on the far right, has a problem with Mosques, more specifically the planned Islamic community center near Ground Zero. This doesn’t come as a shock in the least, his reasoning (H/T Justin Elliott at Salon) is that there aren’t any churches in Saudi Arabia and also, New York already has Mosques, so we should take the Saudi’s lead on this one:
“There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.
Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for “religious toleration” are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia.”
Even though at present, there still aren’t any churches in Saudi Arabia (97% Muslim), it’s curious that one would argue to deny the community center based on the curbs on religious freedom in another country. For someone who believes in American exceptionalism, that we are an “exceptional country with unique genius for combining freedom and order, strength and compassion, religious faith and religious tolerance,” it’s hypocritical at best.
Aside from the obvious, one other point that should be made – Saudi Arabia isn’t the only country with a large percentage of Muslims. For example, at quick glance:
Morocco (99% Muslim) has multiple Catholic Diocese and about a dozen churches.
Pakistan (96.3% Muslim) has around 60 Christian Churches.
Even though Algeria (98% Muslim) hasn’t been kind to Christians, it still has a few Catholic diocese and Protestant churches.
The list could go on. If Gingrich and like minded folks really believe that we’re exceptional because we believe in religious tolerance, why the desire to emulate a less tolerant place? Furthermore, why single out Saudi Arabia? Clearly, other countries exist with slightly larger Muslim population and many of those happen to have churches. But, for a Group Of People seemingly hell bent on reciprocating a perceived potential religious war, I suppose it’s the right move. Is the idea here “if you can’t beat them, join them?”
Article by Aaron Cynic