By George Phillies:
Our National (LP) Party Platforms over the years have been quite clear on this matter. The 2010 Platform includes “We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant… We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.”
There is of course a theme in American politics opposite to Libertarianism. It’s the modern Republican theme. 160 years ago, that theme was the Anti-Catholic position of the American Party, one of the forbearers of the modern Republican Party: In its bigoted view, Catholicism was the religion of the people then described as ‘the darker races of Europe’…the Irish and the Catholics. Two thirds of a century ago, a theme of bigotry was anti-Semitism, prejudice against the Jews, one of the Semitic peoples of the Middle East.
Now a theme of conservative bigots is Islamophobia, prejudice against one of the other Semitic peoples of the Middle East. And on top of those themes, we must recall, was bigotry against African- Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Greeks, Hungarians, Poles…the list is long, and our newspaper only has so many pages.
Recently, Islamophobia has reared its ugly head within the ranks of our Libertarian Party. New York Islamites propose to build the Cordoba House, a modest (relative to the buildings around it) 13-story Islamic community center on Park Place in downtown Manhattan. The proposal, like almost everything in New York City, was controversial. Republican bigots like Newt Gingrich came out against the building. That controversy spread to the front page of LP.org and IndependentPoliticalReport.com. An editorial drafted by Party interns came out in favor of the right of the supporters of this private project to proceed.
And then several of our allegedly libertarian National Party leading lights decided to sound off on the matter.
Wayne Root, posting at RootForAmerica.com, gave a long message reading in small part: “The answer is simple for a common sense American- I support religious freedom, as all Americans should. But this is not a case of religious freedom. This proposed building of a mosque on hallowed ground is an ATROSITY towards America. It is an offense to build a mosque in that location- an offense to all Americans (including Muslim Americans), all Christians and Jews, all relatives of 3000 dead heroes at the World Trade Center.
Former Presidential candidate John Hospers, appearing on IndependentPoliticalReport.com said, “So, too, the building of a mosque at the attack site where thousands of our own perished in an act of war – must not be allowed.”
To these two men I respond: Sorry, gentlemen, your positions are totally the opposite of Libertarian and everything our party represents. I’m sorry that you have so totally missed the point of the fundamental libertarian belief in personal liberty.
Other takes on the “mosque” controversy: John Jay Myers, Darryl Perry, Wayne Root, John Hospers, Reactions to Root’s piece from the libertarian blogosphere, LNC member Daniel Wiener, Tom Knapp, Kristin Davis, Warren Redlich, Carl Paladino, and LPHQ interns Marissa Giannotta and Josh Roll.