Considering that it is mid-August and the only people paying serious attention to the news are the most desperate people in America, it is time to talk of religious freedom because of the proposed mosque/Islamic center near "Ground Zero" in New York City. (Props to Fox News for making news when there isn't any)
Of course, freedom of religion means only the Christian religion, according to most in the Republican party.
But what is Christian?
Southern Baptists believe that there is no way in hell that Catholics can enter heaven.
Catholics believe that their religion is the original, one true way to get to heaven.
Obviously, Christians don't agree on what is the best way to get to heaven.
Look at Northern Ireland, where Catholics and Protestants, both Christian by the way, continually kill each other in the name of God.
Or in the Islamic world, where Sunni and Shia, both Muslim, continually kill each other in the name of Allah.
And, of course, Christians and Muslims form a marriage of convenience in their hatred, and killing, of the Jews.
Welcome to freedom of religion, the monotheistic variety. (Hinduism, which is responsible for more deaths of women because of "inadequate" dowrys than in death-by-stoning for infidelity under Islam, is another can of worms not worth getting into here.)
In one of the great moments of American history, our founding fathers, in order to form a more perfect secular union, guaranteed freedom of religion.
Along with that freedom came the implicit agreement that religion, any religion, would not be the basis of our government, our country.
The founders were well aware of Christian religious strife and how it had not contributed to the advancement of humanity.
Consider where Islam is now, 1,400 years after its founding, in comparison to where Christianity was 700 years ago, 1,400 years after its founding. Look to the great Western Schism, the Italian Renaissance, the Spanish Inquisition and the Reformation. Obviously, it was not a period of harmony, tolerance or peace. It was a time of murder, mayhem, terror and persecution. Sounds like Islam today.
Amid this backdrop, apparently some Muslims in New York City want to build a mosque/community center a couple blocks away from "Ground Zero," where Islamist terrorists pirated two jumbo jets and rammed them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center killing nearly 3,000 Americans, Muslims, to boot.
Naturally, the "good" Christians in our midst are opposed to this affront to our collective "Christian" sensibilities.
Where was this Christian opposition when Protestants (mostly Lutherans) with the tacit approval of Catholics, marched millions of Jews to their murders at concentration camps in World War II?
Naturally, it was silent then and it is silent now.
I'm not defending the right of Muslims to build a mosque/community center near the site of America's greatest calamity since the Civil War. It seems grotesquely irreverent. Still, it is lower Manhattan, and in light of recent economic collapse, the most unsympathetic region in America.
And yet, what would be the greatest affirmation of our basic beliefs in this country than by letting Muslims exercise their freedom of religion near "Ground Zero"?
It would show the Osama bin Ladens of this world that we are not the enemy.
The enemy, as always, lies within us all.
It is up to the rational, secular Americans to agree that religious freedom does not threaten the freedom of all Americans, but, in fact, ensures it.