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Diversity, tolerance as American as apple pie

Posted: October 14, 2010 4:44 p.m.
Updated: October 18, 2010 5:00 a.m.

   The American public air waves have been dominated recently surrounding the controversy involving the proposed building of a Moslem mosque near Ground Zero. The controversy has been vigorously debated on both sides of the religious, racial and political spectrum. It appears that everyone has an opinion about whether the mosque should be built.

   The controversy, if nothing else, has certainly confirmed the fact that there is an urgent need for America to revisit an American Civics or an American History book. Misguided thinking has forced many Americans to ignore the noble ideas of our “founding fathers” as outlined in the United States Constitution. For the sake of this discussion, let me share with my readers the exact words of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, in reference to religion, “Rights of freedom of religion (prohibits the establishment of one religion over another by law, practicing religion freely), freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of press.”

   It is disingenuous to think that one religion takes dominance over another. Our laws clearly state that Congress shall not enact any laws that favor one religion over another. Our history is a history that is built upon the back, blood, and tears of many people from different continents who decided to come to America for freedom of and freedom from religion persecution. From the patriotic penmanship of Thomas Jefferson, fiery speeches of Thomas Paine to the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the powerful proclamation of President Barack Obama, “We are not red state Americans or blue state Americans, we are all Americans.” It is an American tradition to practice religious tolerance and to celebrate diversity. American is great not because of our sameness, but because of our diversity. America is the great global “melting pot” that ushers in and welcomes people from all walks of life, religions, all colors, and creeds. We are Americans because we cherish the freedoms and culture of all. Let us not forget or ignore the fact that not only Christians died on Sept. 11, but that Moslems were also victims of this horrible crime against our freedoms.

   I am reminded of a statement “heard around world” by Rodney King. After the March 3, 2006, L.A. riots and following a brutal beating by the L.A. police officers, King stated, “Can’t we just get along?” America is the home of immigrants, except for the Native Americans; we are all sojourners from other lands. So be it a mosque, a temple, a church, synagogue, tent, or worship hall, we, as Americans, defend the right of all to worship or practice their faiths, without governmental intrusion or ridicule from politicians, political parties, talk show hosts or the media.

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