two blocks from Ground Zero, a CBS poll shows.This is horrifying, and it naturally leads to such questions as, "Should Americans be allowed to reproduce without international supervision?" The stabbing of a Muslim cabbie, allegedly by a white man who asked the man's religion before attacking him, underlines the atrocity. And understand me: this is not just about addle-brained white Americans. As an African American, I have heard downright wicked remarks about Muslims out of the mouths of black people, including one of my own late relatives.
But an additional finding from the CBS poll, and from a Siena College poll of New Yorkers, puts a slight twist on this. In both polls, a majority of respondents did say they don't like putting a mosque in that location. But a majority -- 67% in the CBS poll and 63% in the Siena poll -- also said they believe the developers have the constitutional right to build the mosque there. So, beyond the screaming headlines, a truer interpretation of the polls is, "I don't like the mosque being there, but I think it has a right to be there under American law." This is still terrible, but not quite as terrible as voters fantasizing that the mosque and Center do not enjoy constitutional guarantees. So you could say that we have a nation of largely pragmatic racists.
Other twists: Ron Paul, staying true to Libertarian principle, has defended the Center and mosque and denounced the "demagogy" of those opposed to it. And Howard Dean, turning his back on progressive ideals, has condemned the project as "a real affront" to 9/11 victims.
Meanwhile, the project's developers say they're not budging. Hallelujah.