Of Mosques and Men: a new Liberty Street message

[photo: Glen E. Friedman, click for larger size.]

Earlier this morning Glen E Friedman got a call from pal Russell Simmons asking for help on a new project to send a message about the current Ground Zero Mosque hullabaloo.

Glen and Russell collaborated similarly some years back on what is now known as The Liberty Street Protest [more photos, and previous BB coverage here & here]—massive antiwar signs housed in the windows of Russell's apartment, which is literally across the street from Ground Zero.

This new visual protest today occupies those very same windows. It addresses all who believe that the First Amendment and freedom of religion applies only to them.

[photo: Glen E. Friedman, click for larger size.]

Russell called Glen, Glen saw me on IM, he pinged me and we started brainstorming . I whipped up some files, and we sent them off to the printer within an hour. A few hours later, this was done.

We wanted to send a clear message about everyone living together in the same place, and felt the multi-denominational COEXIST message was a perfect to express that. We followed that up with a few other tidbits; reminders that seemed to fit the circumstances.

[photo: Glen E. Friedman, click for larger size.]

This is up now and clearly visible from anywhere around Ground Zero, but probably best from Church looking towards Liberty Street. If you happen to be around the area, check it out.

UPDATE: Glen just made a post on his own blog about this as well with a bit more of his thoughts on the issue.


  1. Trying to use reason or compassion against an angry mob caught in their own self-righteous fervor is futile. To go against them is to go against God and to question God is to sin and sin is evil and evil must be destroyed. That’s how the logic plays out usually.

  2. Mark 12:31 might be more effective. The message is also ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ but it’s written more straightforwardly (not just applying to ‘your people’). Additionally, it’s from the New Testament rather than the old, so it’s indisputably Christian.

    Just a thought.

  3. I hope they put up the same sign across from the mosque, since it is a message that is contrary to Islam.

    1. I don’t think it would be a problem, since it’s pretty well established that it’s not a message that is contrary to the Cordoba Initiative.

    2. Why do you say that?

      Based on basic theological comparisons, Islam is actually much more accepting of other “People of the Book” and their faiths than Christianity. The Islamic message (repeated throughout the Qur’an) is that God will judge each religious group on the principles and standards within their own teachings.

    3. Ho really…? Did you read the Koran? ISLAM IS FOR RELIGIOUS COEXISTENCE :

      Chapter 109 : Surah Al-Kafirun
      1. In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
      2. Say, “0 ye disbelievers!
      3. I worship not as you worship,
      4. Nor do you worship as I worship.
      5. Nor do I worship those that you worship,
      6. Nor do you worship Him[3453] Whom I worship.
      7. For you your religion, and for me my religion.”

  4. The whole lot of them should be made to watch this and remember what America used to mean and how quickly it can be forgotten.

  5. Chris, you misunderstand the purpose of Christianity. The religious faith does not exist to tell you how you should behave. There’s no purpose in that- we all, instinctively, have a moral sense. Christianity, and more generally, all religions, exist to a) provide a means of identifying the “in-group” from the “out-group”, b) justifying current behavior in a factually independent fashion, and c) providing a general framework that can justify absolutely any action with a “moral” basis.

    In general, I oppose the erection of a mosque or any religious building within 1AU (at minimum) of ground zero. Practically, I recognize the right of any organization to do anything it likes within the restrictions of local laws and agreements. So if a bunch of ass-headed Muslims want to erect an ass-headed mosque in honor of their ass-headed god as interpreted by their ass-headed prophet, that’s their ass-headed right. I find their religious beliefs, especially in regards to women, utterly revolting and reprehensible. In perspective, they’re just one rung lower on the ladder of abomination that other, similar faiths (like modern Christianity), but that has more to do with an accident of history than any honest attempts by other religions.

    But just because I find an action immoral, reprehensible and offensive, doesn’t mean I’m going to tell people they can’t erect a temple to their intemperance simply because it might offend other fucktarded intemperates.

    1. I am a Muslim woman and I wanted to reply to you just to let you know there is another side to all the madness Islam is put out to be like. I am not going to pretend like women aren’t oppressed in countries that follow Islam but I would just like to clarify that this oppression is nothing but corruption from the men at power who use religion to fulfill their wishes. You are right that Islam, like all religions, is based much on history. Historically a lot of the viewpoints on women make sense for the time. Unfortunately today many men in power have taken these viewpoints and addressed them to maintain domestic power. The point is, I am educated, I am loud, I dress however I want, I can leave my house and I am born and raised Muslim. So for all that you have heard how about all the you haven’t?

      I’d also just like to tell you that my God is the same God you believe in. Muslims don’t believe in a different God, we just call him by a different name. We also believe in Mary and Jesus and the prophets who came before him. Fun fact :)

    2. Wow. This is exactly how I feel.

      Anyone protesting the Cultural Center needs to remember: If we’re putting churches up to a popular vote, I vote NO ON ALL OF THEM.

      Or.. we could all just let each other do what we want in peace?

    3. Chris, you misunderstand the purpose of Christianity. The religious faith does not exist to tell you how you should behave.

      Tell that to a Christian conservative. To the Christian conservative, Christianity not only exist to tell the Christian how he or she should behave, it also exists to tell everybody else how they should behave. Freedom for me, not for thee, in other words. Hence the whole purpose of the new Liberty Street message.

  6. I think there are only two options. Either the mosque is allowed to be built there, and we make sure every other major religion is represented around ground zero, or no religious congregations can meet within a 3 block radius (which, despite being non-discriminatory, is still probably unconstitutional).

    1. There are TWO churches closer to the site than the proposed COMMUNITY CENTER. It’s not just a mosque! I type in uppercase to emphasize not for anger. :)

    2. I think there are only two options. Either the mosque is allowed to be built there, and we make sure every other major religion is represented around ground zero

      How are we supposed to “make sure every other major religion is represented?” Force the Sikhs to build a temple there on pain of death?

      Every religion is already allowed to build there. That’s already been established. We don’t need to force everyone else to join in just because the mosque wants to build there.

      It’s the same argument that the media make that, for every single viewpoint, such as on global warming, they are required to go out and find the one crackpot who disagrees with them.

  7. A calm and moderate message in an emotional debate. Nice. By the way – the aum symbol in the second window from left has been printed (or hung I s’pose) back to front…

    1. Nice. By the way – the aum symbol in the second window from left has been printed (or hung I s’pose) back to front…

      I must have been intentional. If it gets put the right way around, it won’t spell anything.

      This is what comes of trying to be cleverer than the original, I guess…

  8. As I have pointed several time on several blogs now. While both sides take part in this idiotic debate no one seems to be talking about real issues facing us like the fact that at the end of this month unemployment will once again be back at record high levels.

    I really don’t care which side of this anyone is on. I just wish this much time passion and energy could be spent on any thing that might actually matter.

    I’m tired of both sides in every debate being manipulated. The idiotic racist tea baggers who get whipped into a frenzy by good knows who, then the idiotic liberals who start screaming back at the tea baggers.

    None of this matters it’s all a giant idiotic distraction.

    1. Please. It’s not like having a job is a natural state of affairs. The economy is either going to bounce back or it’s going to collapse. There’s nothing anyone can do about it, really. Honestly, it needs more of the latter than the former- despite the painful results.

    2. While both sides take part in this idiotic debate no one seems to be talking about real issues facing us like the fact that at the end of this month unemployment will once again be back at record high levels.

      Of course. It’s intentional. And it’s the point of this debate. As far as I’m concerned, New York could have approved or denied the Burlington Coat Cultural Center, as long as their decision was in keeping with their own standard practices for land use decisions. The problem is that well-funded, professional, national, political agitators are using it to whip up hysteria, both to garner votes and to distract from the fact that they and their friends are robbing the till.

      Look! There’s a gay marriage going on across the street! I’ll watch the cash register while you go stop it.

        1. It is, for me, absurd in the extreme to suppose that less important issues should not be protested because more important issues exist – even were we able to arbitrate which are the less and more important. Some sort of best-driving-out-the-good fallacy.

        2. The point is why isn’t Simmons putting signs in his window over important issues.

          Because he’s not an ostrich. Just because fascism is bought and paid for doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist and it isn’t important to expose it.

        3. Whether or not the mosque/community center goes up isn’t an important issue. Making a rational attempt to keep young people from being deluded by religious and political demagoguery IS an important issue.

      1. I respectfully disagree with your analysis. I don’t believe this is a diversion on the part of conservatives to agitate or cause misdirection. I say this because I myself am conservative, and have a big problem with this “mosque” going up. I put mosque in quotes because I believe it is more of a monument than anything. Flip the situation around. 10 years ago, a group of Christian extremists kill 3000 people in Saudi Arabia. And now another group of Christians want to build a church at the exact spot the killings occurred. Most Saudis oppose it, some say that that they should be tolerant of all religions. I truly believe most of you would be on the side of “if most Saudis oppose it, then maybe the group should back off, and build it somewhere else”. I’d argue this really isn’t about religious freedom. It’s about decency and a respect for hallowed ground. I’m not a troll, just trying to point out that I don’t believe hysteria is trying to be whipped up here.

        1. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree with you in turn. This is the second time I’ve heard someone use the “A church in Saudi Arabia” argument, and it really isn’t a valid one. Nor, as far as I’m concerned, is the “monument of the attacks” and proximity to the site of the former twin towers.

          Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy and Islam is the official religion. That means, among other things, that proselytizing by non-Muslims is illegal, preaching and public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited, and conversion by Muslims to another faith legally carries the death penalty. In short, you can’t build a Christian church there.

          You can, however, legally build an Islamic community center in the United States. The law says that it is allowed. Beyond that, a space for prayer is only one of the many intended functions of the building. From the descriptions I have heard of the planned center, it would have more in common with a YMCA than a Church. (Auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare area, bookstore, culinary school, art studio, food court… and, yes, a prayer space.) That sounds to me to be a far cry from a “mosque”.

          And there is much being made about it being “at ground zero”. I hardly think that being the (possibly) second-closest prayer-space to ground zero qualifies it as being “at ground zero”. St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church is closer and St. Paul’s Chapel is roughly equidistant, both of which are far more dedicated of prayer spaces than the planned Park51 building is described as.

        2. Hold on, I think you’ve been lied to about this proposal. It’s not “at the exact spot where the killings occurred,” it’s two blocks away, you can’t even see it from Ground Zero. I know first hand, my apartment is a lot closer to Ground Zero than the proposed project (and, yes, I am a 9/11 survivor, probably the only person that day who both lived one block, and worked one block, from the attacks).

          While I sympathize with those who say we have more important things to argue about, like jobs, and reversing the systematic corruption of our regulators, I don’t agree: this really is a debate on first principles. We’ll sort out the economy, we always do; but this debate cuts to the heart of what it means to be an American, and that’s way more important — and apparently way more controversial — than how we can get the economy back on track.

      2. Really. People are so stupid.

        OTOH, the local Bosnian diaspora in Utica, New York, converted a Christian church into a mosque, and it raised nary an eyebrow. Try that in New York. Or even better, Atlanta. That would be fun to watch.

    3. I think that this IS important. It is one of the very first things promised us in the Amendments and those ideals are what this country should stand for. It did, once. This argument is showing us pretty clearly that we’re definitely slipping.

      Jobs are important and the economy is important but there isn’t a whole lot of visible work to be done on those fronts. What has already been done needs time to work and sometimes waiting to see how things are going is the best course of action. This, though, this needs to be stopped.

      There is absolutely no way to justify demonising these people for building a cultural center on PRIVATE PROPERTY that just happens to include a mosque. It is unconstitutional and it’s bigoted. I am ashamed that there are citizens of the United States of America who do not understand that. Without our ideals, we are nothing and we’ve precious few of those left.

  9. I wonder if putting the sanskrit character ” ॐ ” upside down is equivalent to inverting a cross?

    Probably not.
    Still it’s a bit of a shame to flip it upside down like that. Surely they could have found a hippy or a Hindu nearby?

  10. Part of me wants to ask “Can we please stop calling it a freaking mosque already? Why are we letting asshats frame the argument for us?”

    Another part of me wants the group building it to paint “This is a large mosque!” on the front of the building. I don’t see the need to capitulate to your enemy’s language. “It’s a cultural center, really!” If you’re allowing yourself this argument, you lost a long time ago.

    And the other part of me realizes every single piece and side of this debate plays directly into the hands of the people who got it going. There’s elections coming, and they desperately need something to steal the show from any coherent dialog on any actual issues. Agree or disagree, you’re still debating what amounts to trashy tabloid gossip. Congratulations.

  11. A bigger nod to non-believers would have also been nice. That looks like someone tacked it on with a marker, after it was put up.

  12. Well, you know what the other issue about this is? And it will sound like a broken record from me but I will never stop saying it. It’s nearly 10 years since 9/11/2001 and the whole WTC site is still a stalled hole in the ground.

    It’s obscene because NYC has gone through such an astonishing real estate boom this whole city in the past 10 years has changed much more than the 10 years before that.

    But you’re telling me this “cemetery” that is supposedly “sacred ground” is still a hole in the ground?

    It’s disgusting and far more offensive. And I would argue if at least something tangible would be built on the WTC site by now, this whole nonsense about a cultural center would be a huge non-issue.

  13. I am so glad that there are so many commenters brave enough to be critical of both those who wish to deprive American Muslims of their fundamental rights and those who do not. Bravo! We need more Americans who are unwilling or unable to distinguish between fascism and anti-fascism.

  14. I am going to offer a very softly voiced plea. It’s a pleading for common decency. Nothing less than what used to be called somber respect or perhaps decorum might be a better word choice. You don’t go to a funeral and loudly rant about- well- anything. Before any of us raise our voices in whatever angers we feel bound to express- let’s not be louder than the voices of the dead. As this is about them, not us. Think before hating might be how I could have said this before reading some recent comments. If we wish to have no more deaths from hate- the first step is to declare a humanity wide cease fire. Show us if you are a voice of hate or healing by what you say- or don’t. That’s more important than well- anything. If you’ve got something healing to say- Speak it loudly and proudly. If it’s hateful? Please speak softer than the dead.

    1. Couldn’t hear you, Oren. You’re going to have to speak up.

      (Seriously, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. “Be nice?” “Don’t yell?”)

    2. “You don’t go to a funeral and loudly rant about- well- anything. ”

      Unless of course you’re the Westboro Baptist Church…

  15. Moslems have the same right as any other religion to practice their faith on American soil. I am glad that there are people out there advocating this. Posted by Rodolfo Rabonza

  16. I don’t know what the conservatives are complaining about.

    Personally, I think the new World Trade Center will look good with a mosque on top of it.

    Wait … what do you mean that’s not what’s happening?

  17. I am a practicing Christian. What I have seen people do and the level of vitrol exhibited has nothing to do with Christianity.

    The point of all this contrived angst over whether or not President Obama is a Muslim (He isn’t and that’s provable) combined with the building of a community center by Muslims in NYC, is to 1) Divert attention from the issue of racism that bubbled up with Dr. Laura and company, since the GOP can’t afford that particular focus with the fall elections coming. Most of this is about politics. 2) Continue the quest to find something to label the President with that they think will stick: Muslim = Al Qaeda = Taliban = terrorists, therefore, our President is a terrorist. Palin tried this during the Presidential elections and for the lack of a better strategy the Party of NO-thing seeks to visit the same concept on another scale. (+ it can replace the use of the N-word, yes?) Never mind the collateral damage done by continuing this myth and stereotyping of a religion.

  18. I’ll be blunt:

    It is un-American to be opposed to this cultural center. If you do not understand why then you should be ashamed to call yourself American.

    As for the self-proclaimed conservative who thinks that Americans should base their actions on Saudi Arabian standards, I will remind you that the terrorists who leveled the twin towers were Saudis. I think we can set a higher standard than the Saudis. Who disagrees?

    1. “I think we can set a higher standard than the Saudis”

      Ummm… we already do, OK? By a wide margin. The fact that there are thousands of mosques in America today evidences that fact.

      There was almost certainly more freedom of religion in 1955 Mississippi than there is in Saudi Arabia today.

      I have not cried myself to sleep much lately about the poor example of tolerance America sets for the world.

      1. I have not cried myself to sleep much lately about the poor example of tolerance America sets for the world.

        Me neither. I’ve been too busy getting prepared for the next visit of the people who spray-painted “KILL ALL N****R LOVERS” on the sidewalk behind my house.

      2. Sentence edited for Charlotte’s benefit:

        “I think we can (continue to) set a higher standard than the Saudis”

    2. I keep hearing (and trying to tell myself) that the opposition to the cultural center (“mosque”) is anti-American. Sadly enough, I’m now thinking it could not be more American, what with the long-standing traditional American value of persecuting those with brown skin. Really, what is the “American way?”

      And on a similar note I feel more and more that there was one, exactly one, practicing Christian. I for one certainly don’t keep to the path.

  19. It just occurred to me that Pamela Geller, one of the prime movers behind this idiocy, also led a freakout last year over the memorial built for Flight 93. She insisted that it was a crescent and a star, and had all sorts of crazy diagrams purporting to prove it.

    And yet, CNN has her on to push this bigoted nonsense. Good grief.

  20. What does “co-exist” even mean?

    It’s like a Klansmen saying “why can’t we all get along?”

    Or an anti-abortionist saying “let’s all co-exist, but you should not have the right to get an abortion.”

    How about instead of the vaguely pro pan-religious pap of “co-exist” bumper stickers, we just say “I support civil rights” and “I oppose aggressive violence”?

    Wouldn’t that be clearer? It would show support for the civil rights of Muslims without in any way appearing to endorse the (ironically highly divisive) concept of religion.

    Because, if the concept of people co-existing (only) means obeying the law and not killing each other, well, sure, I basically agree.

    But, I don’t see why that should be framed around religion instead of just as a general ethos. And I also think that the notion is so lacking in complexity as to make it ridiculous. For example, what about those who defend themselves from aggression or oppression? How do you deal with those people who refuse to “co-exist”?

    In any case, what does it mean for ideologies to co-exist?

    If human lives are spared, violence is discouraged, and civil rights are respected; then I’m fine with one ideology brutally attacking a rival ideology without any consideration for “co-existence”.

    So if I say that, although I will go on co-existing with humanity, I’d rather not co-exist on an ideological level with religion, anymore than I would with racism, sexism, homophobia etc… and that I wish all the world’s religions would cease to exist – am I still “co-exiting” in the manner of the bumper sticker?

  21. I really do appreciate the sentiment behind all the Coexist stickers everywhere, but they’ve always bothered me.

    They’re a statement that we should be able to live next door to people of other beliefs and not kill them or run them out of town. This isn’t a bad thing of course, but it’s not exactly a strong stand.

    A strong stand would be something that implied “I don’t care what your philosophy is, I’m interested in seeing the world through your eyes, for the betterment of both of our cultures.”

    It’s like patting yourself on the back for your ‘tolerance.’ You tolerate the weather being hot because you can’t do anything about it, not because you want to. Toleration is not something you apply to other human beings. Understanding, or respect, are.

    1. Remember, this is New York. There’s too much apathy for strong statements except by the wacko political tourists.

  22. I have a problem with the definition of “at” the World Trades Center site dispute. Let’s for a moment think you want to go to Ground Zero and it is pouring rain. The cab drops you at 45 Park Street and says, “Ok we are at Ground Zero.” Would you complain about his definition of “at” or would you walk in the rain to get there?

  23. nobody is telling anybody else what ‘god’ they can pray to. there are mosques all over manhattan and nobody is calling for them to be closed. like the old real estate adage, this is all about location, location, location. there is no constitutional right to develop property. this is an inappropriate site for this particular ‘community center’. if the developers were genuinely interested in creating goodwill, they would accept the governor’s offer of another building site.

    1. there is no constitutional right to develop property

      There is a constitutional right to develop property based on the same standards that are applied to people of other races and religions.

    2. “this is an inappropriate site for this particular ‘community center”


      Your argument is much like the argument against gay marriage. You say it’s inappropriate, but you won’t say why.

      I think it’s because you can’t explain your reasoning your without exposing your bigotry.

      Prove me wrong.

  24. These bigoted mosque protestors are sending a bad message abroad particularly to Islamic countries.They are going to make life difficult for civilian and military US personnel serving abroad.

    What do the families of 9/11 victims
    want after all? US at theor behest started 2 wars,lost more than 10,000 soldiers in war,over 150,000 military prsonnel got injured and disabled,got into 3 trillion dollars in debt?

    What do they want million dollars a piece and a congressional medal of honor? Every month in US about 6,000 people die in road accidents.No body talks about them. Now after 10 years they have started a new non sense which is going to backfire and they lose public sympathy, if it gets ugly.

    The NY residents and tourists will visit and they will Eat,Pray and Piss at ground zero.

  25. If only freedom of religion was freedom FROM religion, IMHO.

    Christ, what an asshole to so many of you, on both sides.

  26. Silly, childish, foolish, what else? These religions all suck, they are all the same give or take a suicide plane or four, they should all disappear, any debate about this or that is a waste o’ time.

    This is not about a belief in god/s, but about images of god/s and what people believe their god/s are telling them to do. And this god of the desert is a particularly intense narcissistic sociopath, an insecure dream craving attention and devotion. Regardless of the faithfuls’ faith we are all condemned. The only difference is how willing the faithful are in assisting this celestial hallucination in the completion of his murderous plan.

    I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but coexisting is not part of the plan.

  27. I applaud both the message and sentiment, but even as a designer it took me ages to work out what it was saying, even with the COEXIST prompt.

    Sometimes you can be too clever with stuff like this, someone reading from the ground probably won’t get it, or spend the time working it out.

    Still good idea though. And am amazed that the religious right are stirring crap up over something so pointless – distraction politics, definitely…

  28. Ah! Just read Glen’s post that’s linked in the update. Totally missed the COEXIST prompt. Guess it helps if you know the sticker. Hey – at least I got the message loud and clear! Apologies Glen…

  29. Christians in this country perpetrated a slaughter of the Native Americans. They often preached from their pulpits about the evils of the “red man”, then systematically displaced and exterminated them. It is only fair then that no Christian churches be built within three blocks of lands previously occupied by the Native Americans. This is sacred ground, where a whole lot more than three thousand people were killed.

    Remember, three blocks minimum.

  30. I was thinking, how the hell much money does this guy have where he has an apartment that big. Then I realized it was THAT Russell Simmons.

  31. Anyone offended by a “mosque” near ground zero is offended because they think all Muslims and all of Islam is to blame for 9/11. That is wrong, but it is difficult to explain it to them, they will insist they are not anti-Muslim, then spout off about how intolerant Islam is, and how “no moderate Muslims condemned 9/11, so therefore there are no moderate Muslims”, etc.

    When the government gets involved in religious disputes it is not a good thing, ask anyone who immigrated from Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. American Muslims came to the USA often to avoid the horrors of their homeland, including the worst abuses of religious law; they have no interest in instituting sharia law in the USA. Ask any American Muslim, they condemn the actions of al Quaeda, and terrorism as a whole, do their opinions not count?

  32. The educated should not be having a debate about this. There should be no reason, under the law and constitution, that this should be an issue.

    We are letting fear mongers run our thoughts and this country. Islam did not take down the towers. Christianity did not take down the towers. Judaism did not take down the towers…

    … terrorists did. We did not ban all churches of christianity in Oklahoma when Timothy McVeigh did HIS evil.

  33. I don’t know that Leviticus 19:18 is a good quote to use.

    I’m betting most tea baggers are self loathing.

  34. We have more important things to argue about. However, if one side is going to keep bringing this up, it becomes important for the other to argue back.

  35. Ron Paul wrote an excellent article on the topic of the mosque near ground zero. The main issue is property rights (including one’s own body, in the form of free speech) which is the basis for peaceful cooperation in society, by protecting us from each other and guaranteeing freedom within the private space.

    It’s a shame that politicians, the media and the public get so caught up in this mosque proposal, which is distracting all of them from more important issues.


    “The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

    Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish. In addition conservatives missed a chance to challenge the hypocrisy of the left which now claims they defend property rights of Muslims, yet rarely if ever, the property rights of American private businesses.

    Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam – the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.”

    “We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

    Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.”

  36. @anon #1: This might have something to do with it. Maybe.
    Haven’t submitted to Digg ever, nor am I ever really on it.

  37. Idiotic distraction is right. As a Canadian who once aspired to live in the US the past 10 years have served as a cautionary tale of staying put and/or traveling internationally rather than going south.

    This religious debate bothers me on many levels. In the 1980s I traveled with my family to the US frequently and in many ways it felt like home. Unlike many of our neighbours we had US broadcast television and listened to US music. What the US has become since that time I do not know.

    I am also having a hard time understanding the whole Mexico border issue. Are people really still trying to move to the US? Really? Just seems like more racism to me.

  38. this “atheists too” photo make me realize atheists need a logo.

    boingboing, only YOU can hold an atheist logo contest!

        1. You can do better than that. How about the number zero as a symbol for atheism. Nothing so coldly rational as mathematics, and the value indicates the complete absence of faith.

        1. I know I’m a few decades late on this but does anyone else think it’s weird that the Anarchists have a logo?

          1. That reminds me of a joke from one of Steve Martin’s stand-up acts:

            Steve: Now let’s repeat the nonconformist’s oath. I promise to be different!

            Audience: I promise to be different!

            Steve: I promise to be unique!

            Audience: I promise to be unique!

            Steve: I promise not to repeat things other people say!

            Audience: …

  39. I don’t understand why it seems so difficult for certain people to be opposed to what this Imam represents and believes and at the same time support his right to build a cultural center wherever he wants. These two stances aren’t incompatible. To the contrary, they reinforce each other.

  40. I don’t understand why it seems so difficult for certain people to be opposed to what this Imam represents

    What is it that this imam represents, besides a lifetime devoted to tolerance and attempts to bridge religious divides?

    Unless you mean he “represents” intolerant Islam like Germans “represent” Nazism.

  41. dear brother russell is there anything that you
    can’t do? beautiful message ! long time fan and
    admirer. shows that the power of positive thinking will overcome all with time!

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