I just heard sirens outside my window, screaming, on the way to an emergency. My first thought was that it was headed to the City Council Meeting in Kennesaw. Tonight, the council which last week voted 4-1 not to allow a Mosque in a strip mall, had a change of heart and based on media reports, they will unanimously vote to allow the Mosque. Of course, they finally understand what a federal lawsuit would do to the city.
Next door to the proposed Mosque is a barber shop and a pizza restaurant next to that. The parking lot has maybe 50 spaces, hardly a place to mingle worship with grooming or dinner, but the lawyer representing the Suffa Dawat Center knew that. Kennesaw doesn’t take kindly to outsiders and certainly not a group that has pockets of followers beheading innocent people or taking the Lindt Chocolat Cafe. Kennesaw was the perfect city to try a case of religious freedom. Well played of course, but what does it mean now that it is all but over.
The scene last week at the Kennesaw City Council meeting did remind me of the Civil Rights Era with one side passionately arguing that the other side was not welcome into their world. But it isn’t the same. The Civil Rights Era, which arguably was never fully extinguished, was about a group wanting to be a full-fledged American Citizen with voting, equal access, and a share in its prosperity. Followers of Islam want Americans to accept them and trust that not all Muslims are interested in killing innocent Americans. That’s a tall order for most people and especially in Kennesaw. Most don’t even trust their neighbors in Kennesaw where it is a law that all residents must own a fire arm. Not exactly the place I would want to establish a Mosque, but I’m not Muslim.
Fear is the foundation of bigotry and when it can’t be quashed you get the U.S. pulling Native Americans off their land and moving them away from their home in what is now referred to as the Trail of Tears. It was why Mormons headed to Utah and perhaps why people born with deformities were locked away in the 20th Century. It wasn’t very long ago that the U.S. Government rounded up Japanese American Citizens and put them in camps because they feared their attachment to the Japanese military after the raid on Pearl Harbor.
Marian Andersen said, “Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman.” Of course, she was right. Being human is a luxury that is extremely expensive today.