Do New York Republicans Really Want To Win An Election By Appealing To Religious Intolerance?

Reacting to the news that the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” has been raised as a political issue by New York Republicans, Don Surber says the following:

Unfair cry liberals. Think Progress headlined its story: “New York GOP Exploits 9/11 Anniversary, Sends Islamophobic Mailer To Voters In NY Special Election.” And then went on to proclaim: “It is important to note that several Republicans like Gen. Colin Powell, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Ted Olson — whose wife died in the attacks — support the construction of the Islamic Center. They join most religious leaders, Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and families of the 9/11 victims in support.”

My, my, my. If supporting the building of the mosque is the right thing to do, why not stand by those words that were said 13 months ago? Oh wait, that high-moral-ground stand might cost Democrats a seat in Congress. So what liberals are saying is that they are willing to stand up for unpopular causes — unless doing what they say is right may cost them a few votes.

I don’t know Welprin, and I probably wouldn’t support him if I lived in NY-9, but the point isn’t about whether he’s unwilling to stand up for an unpopular cause, it’s whether it’s appropriate for a political party to appeal to bigotry, religious intolerance, and distorted facts in order to win an election.This may very well be a smart political move on the part of the New York GOP, just as it was probably a smart political move for Jesse Helms to run his affirmative action ad, but that doesn’t make it right.

The entire “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy was based on a series of lies, exaggerations, and distortions designed to appeal to fear and intolerance. Is that really how the New York Republicans want to be remembered if they pull off this improbable victory?

FILED UNDER: Islam, Quick Takes, Religion, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The entire “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy was based on a series of lies, exaggerations, and distortions designed to appeal to fear and intolerance. Is that really how the New York Republicans want to be remembered if they pull off this improbable victory?

    Sometimes (most?) it seems that that is all the Republican playbook is made up of.

  2. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    And Islam, on the other hand, is famed for its tolerance except in the case of kuffars, and Jews, and Christians, and polytheists, but that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans now does it ??? Tolerant, yeah, that’s what them folks are.

  3. Polaris says:

    Doug,

    1. You do what it takes to win in politics especially these days.

    2. I’m an athiest and I found the idea of a ground-zero mosque to be deeply offensive. It’s like having a guy in a turbun waving a plastic scimitar and green flag and doing a victory dance on the ruins of the world trade center complex while doing a victory dance.

    Legal and protected by the constitution? Perhaps. (I’m inclined to say yes it’s legal and protected)

    Deeply offensive and deeply insensitive? Oh yes…..

    That’s what the mosque is: A victory dance. In the Caliphate Expansion Era, advancing Moslem forces would often put mosques on sites of “great victories”…and you wonder why people object?

    Really??

    -Polaris

  4. samwide says:

    The entire “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy was based on a series of lies, exaggerations, and distortions designed to appeal to fear and intolerance. Is that really how the New York Republicans want to be remembered if they pull off this improbable victory?

    You really think they give a shit?

  5. Sam says:

    The left is far more intolerant of religion than anyone!
    As long as it is the religion of the right!

  6. legion says:

    Wow. Apparently the anniversary yesterday has really brought out the intolerance, bigotry, xenophobia, and abject stupidity here…

  7. samwide says:

    @Polaris:

    Legal and protected by the constitution? Perhaps. (I’m inclined to say yes it’s legal and protected)

    That’s effing generous of you.

  8. @Polaris:

    It isn’t a mosque and it’s not at Ground Zero

  9. Sam says:

    Swiss politician warn us of creeping Islam and Sharia. Will we listen?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pCW2hxux3Ro

  10. Polaris says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    1. It’s close enough and clearly intended to draw on the ‘special nature’ of this historically important cite.

    2. It’s an Islamic Cultural center IIRC (and it’s funding comes from some rather suspect sources I might add) and again IIRC it does include a mosque.

    It’s still an open insult and a victory dance. Legal? Yes. A deliberate provocation? I think so.

    -Polaris

  11. Sam says:

    @11B40:

    You forgot how they tolerate women and kite flyers and barbers who cut the facial hair of men.

    They especially tolerate women who have been raped. That is true tolerance!

  12. Polaris says:

    @Sam: Near as I can tell the “progressive” left has it’s own religon, Scientific Naturalism (as opposed to actual science). One big problem with this is that good scientists make poor priests.

    -Polaris

  13. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    Why do you believe this election is any different than any other the Republicans have fought over the last decade or so? Is it any different than coordinated anti-gay marriage referenda to stoke Republican voting in 2004? Than running anti-sharia law campaigns in state where the Muslim population is a rounding error?

    Or is this just another example of the disconnect between the actual conduct of the party you typically vote for and your fantasy belief in their conduct?

  14. CB says:

    @11B40:

    dont you fools have any responses other than to grossly distort and smear what 2 billion people are all about?

  15. David M says:

    @Polaris: It’s not a “ground zero mosque”, it’s more like a “old burlington coat factory mosque”. For someone who claims not to be Republican, you certainly do a good job of regurgitating their talking points.

  16. Polaris says:

    David M,

    I happen to agree with the GOP on this issue. I will defend the right of the property owners to do as they like with the site even if I find it deeply offensive.

    Please don’t pretend it’s not deeply offensive though.

    -Polaris

  17. An Interested Party says:

    1. You do what it takes to win in politics especially these days.

    Including spreading lies, apparently…you know, like what you did in your comments…

  18. Polaris says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Pfeh. Like the democrats never lie either?

    Sure. Then you wake up.

    -Polaris

  19. MM says:

    I think this comment thread is evidence that no only are they OK with using bigotry, lies and exaggerations to win, they’re pretty proud of it.

  20. Tano says:

    @Polaris:

    It’s still an open insult and a victory dance.

    Thats an obnoxious, bigoted lie.
    Your charge of “victory dance” implies that the people behind the cultural center see themselves as part of the same movement as the terrorists.

    There is no basis whatsoever for such an accusation. If a Christian were to commit some terrorist act would you oppose any Christian church from being built within a few blocks of the terror site? Could you conceive of blaming a billion people (incluing, I presume, yourself) for the crime committed by someone who happens to share your religion?

    But you have no problem doing that with Muslims eh?

  21. mantis says:

    I happen to agree with the GOP on this issue. I will defend the right of the property owners to do as they like with the site even if I find it deeply offensive.

    That’s not the GOP stance on this issue. They want to use the government to prevent a development project based on religious objections.

  22. legion says:

    Shorter Polaris:
    “I don’t care if the facts don’t have any connection to my preconceived prejudices about the issue! Them Mooslims are bad! ALL Mooslims are bad!”

  23. @Moosebreath:

    I have no fantasy vision of the GOP

  24. Polaris says:

    @legion: I never said that. I never even implied that either. I was pointing out that the Ground Zero “Mosque” was needlessly insensitive and was (and is) viewed by many as little more than a victory dance on the graves of our dead (metaphorically if not litterally).

    -Polaris

  25. Polaris says:

    @mantis: Fortunate then for me, I am not a republican. I strongly disagree with the center for reasons I have already stated. I also have severe to dire doubts about the motives of those that would build it. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a legal right to do so.

    It also doesn’t mean that people that are offended (which should be almost everyone) doesn’t have a right to complain.

    -Polaris

  26. Polaris says:

    @Tano: They sure haven’t done nearly enough to distance themselves from the radical Islamists. We are told to accept on faith that the terrorists are only a radical fringe of the Islamic community, and yet if so, where are the so-called “decent and moderate” Muslimes to denounce it? Pretty thin on the ground near as I can tell.

    I am not trying to denounce any religion, but I do wonder who is mainstream in Islam and who isn’t given the failure of so-called moderate Islamic religious leaders to police their own.

    -Polaris

  27. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    “I have no fantasy vision of the GOP”

    Then why is the Republicans appealing to “bigotry, religious intolerance, and distorted facts in order to win an election” anything different than business as usual in your mind?

  28. legion says:

    @Polaris: Revisionist history is a lot harder to do within the discussion you’re trying to re-write.

    That’s what the mosque is: A victory dance.
    and
    It’s still an open insult and a victory dance. Legal? Yes. A deliberate provocation? I think so.
    and
    Please don’t pretend it’s not deeply offensive though.
    I’m not pretending anything, Polaris – I’m flat-out stating it. The fact that you’re offended by it doesn’t make it offensive. As Tano quite correctly points out, your characterization of this as a deliberate, pointed insult by the developers is a flat-out lie. Yes, you have every right to feel offended by it, and even to say so here (or anywhere, really). But you don’t get to justify your feelings with bullshit, or blame your bigotry on the group you’re bigoted against.

  29. An Interested Party says:

    Pfeh. Like the democrats never lie either?

    Ohhhh…so you admit that you are a liar but because Democrats do it, it’s ok…gotcha…

  30. Polaris says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Ohhhh…so you admit that you are a liar but because Democrats do it, it’s ok…gotcha…

    Never said anything of the sort. I was pointing out the inherent hypricisy you are coiurting by using the big “L” word….. Just saying.

    -Polaris

  31. Polaris says:

    Legion,

    So I don’t get to say that it’s incredibly bad judgement, offended a LOT of people (not just me), or that a political party (any political party) doesn’t have the right to use that offense to promote their own agenda? Really? I thought the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. I guess I was mistaken; it’s alive and well.

    -Polaris

  32. mantis says:

    It also doesn’t mean that people that are offended (which should be almost everyone) doesn’t have a right to complain.

    Is anyone claiming you don’t have a right to complain? Anyone at all?

  33. mantis says:

    We are told to accept on faith that the terrorists are only a radical fringe of the Islamic community, and yet if so, where are the so-called “decent and moderate” Muslimes to denounce it? Pretty thin on the ground near as I can tell.

    Your myopia is your own fault.

  34. Vast Variety says:

    @Polaris: There was in a Mosque in the twin towers when they were destroyed. Muslim Americans were killed by the terrorists to. You can’t condemn an entire religion on the actions of extremists. If you do then you need to be prepared to condemn every major religion in existence including Christianity.

  35. legion says:

    @Polaris: Try reading the actual thing I wrote. I explicitly said the opposite of what you ascribe – you most certainly _do_ have the right to say those things. I never said squat about political parties using it for anything; I said you don’t get to make up lies about the origins & intent of things you find offensive.

  36. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Well, well. Only hours ago it was all

    Susan, like Krugman, you don’t have enough class to let the families of the victims have this day to reflect without injecting your disgusting partisan nonsense.

    Now it’s all

    You do what it takes to win in politics especially these days.

    Partisanship must sooo relaxing.

  37. WR says:

    @Polaris: Ooh, Polaris “happens to agree with the Republicans on this issue.” Which comes as a major shock, since he’s only happened to agree with the Republicans on every other issue he’s commented about.

  38. CB says:

    @Polaris:

    I was pointing out the inherent hypocrisy you are coiurting by using the big “L” word…..

    you keep using this word…i do not think it means what you think it means…

  39. mattb says:

    @Polaris:

    I happen to agree with the GOP on this issue.

    Remind me again what issues you disagree with the GOP on? Let me guess that you, like Jan, someone who gets called a “liberal” on conservative discussion groups. And let me further guess that while you’re independent, its been what… at least five years since you ever pulled the lever for someone whose party starts with a “D”…

    We are told to accept on faith that the terrorists are only a radical fringe of the Islamic community, and yet if so, where are the so-called “decent and moderate” Muslimes to denounce it?

    Ah, yes, that. Actually, many Muslism and Islamic groups have publicly denounced terrorism. And I assume that during the 60’s-80’s you expected all Catholics and Protestants to have issued denouncements after each terrorist bombing (or case of gang attack) in places like Northern Ireland.

    Immediately holding an entire group of people responsible for less than 1% of it’s population is ridiculous.

    Or rather, if your position held true, then please explain why there hasn’t been a single suicide bombing within the US in the last decade? As Doug and others have recently pointed out, our civilian infrastructure is exceedingly soft. And with all those radical moos-lems that you’re afraid of populating the US and the relative ease of making a bomb (as people like Ted Kazinski have proven), you’d think that we would have had at least one successful attack over the last decade.

  40. An Interested Party says:

    Never said anything of the sort. I was pointing out the inherent hypricisy you are coiurting by using the big “L” word….. Just saying.

    Let’s roll the tape, shall we? Doug originally wrote that this move by New York Republicans is based on lies and you responded to that with, “You do what it takes to win in politics especially these days.” When I called you out on the lies, you implied that it’s ok because Democrats do that too…you need to correct yourself…”Ground Zero Mosque” is a lie…either admit to that or continue spreading your lies…

  41. matt says:

    @Polaris: Well you can start at the following link if you actually are interested in seeing the truth instead of spreading a common rightwinger talking point that has no factual basis..

    http://www.muhajabah.com/otherscondemn.php

    Basically anywhere you look there’s probably a moderate muslim who would gladly denounce 9/11.. Oh BTW why haven’t you denounced the Oklahoma city bombing or the Olsa shooter/bomber? What haven’t you denounced the Unibomber? Why haven’t you denounced the dude who flew his plane into the building in Austin?…..

  42. Scott O. says:

    Do New York Republicans Really Want To Win An Election By Appealing To Religious Intolerance?

    Yes.

  43. MarkedMan says:

    Polaris, I’m curious. In the 90’s Christians in Serbia were massacring Muslims in Bosnia. Priests were blessing the weapons and whipping the soldiers into frenzies of religious bigotry. Mass murder, the slaughter of children, brutal rapes were the result. Did you, as a Christian (assuming you are a Christian) feel you did enough to denounce what was done in your religion’s name. If so, what exactly did you do? If not, why not?

    I agree that, fair or not, the right thing is to denounce these types of things publicly and often. And I did so while it was going on.

  44. Polaris says:

    MarkedMan,

    I am an athiest. I said so in my very first post. I hold pretty much all religions in contempt, but I respect other people’s opinion enough not to force my contempt on others….a lesson learned over several decades.

    -Polaris

  45. MarkedMan says:

    Polaris,
    OK. I’m still (sincerely) curious. You said you feel “Muslims” in general haven’t done enough to denounce these attacks done in their name. I certainly would agree with you in general, but maybe not so much in the US specifically. But do you feel Christians are different? I’m wondering that given the large number of attacks that have been done in the US by people who at least claim Christianity as a motivating factor, do you feel that their fellow Christians have made enough effort to root out and turn in the bad seeds? That they have publicly distanced themselves sufficiently from the crazies?

    I’m asking, because I think that may be the difference between you and me. I feel as nervous about the Bill O’Donahue’s (sp?) of the world as I do about say, Cat Steven’s (or whatever his Muslim name is). I suspect that O’Donahue and his ilk are to willing to look past those who murder abortion doctors or target Family Planning workers, because they view them as one of their own. My wife worked for Family Planning and I lived with the daily worry about what the religious extremists were spewing from the pulpit on every other block in my town. Mosques, yes, but more concerned about the Catholics priests and Evangelical ministers. They worked up and incited the crazies in their flock by saying people like my wife were evil and sinners. (My wife is one of the best people I know).

    I lived Atlanta around the corner from the gay bar that Eric Rudolph bombed, a few months after I moved away. And am intensely aware that the good Christians of North Carolina sheltered him for years and hid him from the police.

    So maybe that’s a real difference we just can’t get past. Christians target people like my wife or my friends from Atlanta. And not just the fringe – there’s a whole lot of money raised by screaming lies from the pulpit. I live every day with a gnawing, low grade threat from the priests and ministers, so thinking that Muslims are somehow worse isn’t really in my psyche. No better, either.

  46. matt says:

    @Polaris: So when are you going to denounce every violent act ever committed by white males and atheists?? I haven’t seen you denounce a single one so obviously that means you support the murder of religious followers and innocents!!