by Patrick Appel

While agreeing with Yglesias about Park 51, Noah Millman frames the debate differently:

I’m wary of the argument that we should be especially supportive of the Cordoba House because it’s being run by the right kind of Muslims – and, more generally, that we need to be actively engaged in promoting “moderate” Islam and opposing “radical” Islam. I have no idea whether “allowing” Cordoba House to be built sends a positive or a negative “signal” to the Muslim world – and, in general, I question our ability to signal effectively at all. The absolutely craziest things go totally viral all the time, and we can’t stop them, and facts about which there is an absolutely universal consensus among anybody with any knowledge at all – say, that the Holocaust happened, or that the universe is billions of years old – remain stubbornly controversial despite our best efforts. Any debate should be about who we are, not about who they are or what we want them to think of us.

Beinart is also worth reading:

Until a month or so ago, I genuinely believed that the American right had become a religiously ecumenical place. Right-wing Baptists loved right-wing Catholics and they both loved right-wing Orthodox Jews. All you had to do to join the big tent was denounce feminists, Hollywood, and gays. But when push came to shove, Sarah Palin didn’t care about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s position on gay marriage. In today’s GOP, even bigotry doesn’t spare you from bigotry. I wonder what Mitt Romney was thinking, as he added his voice to the anti-Muslim chorus. He surely knows that absent the religious right’s hostility to Mormons, he’d likely have been the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee. I look forward to his paeans to religious freedom when anti-Mormonism rears its head again in 2012.

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