Last night, I realized I hadn't recently checked out the 411 on The Blaze, the Glenn Beck-backed website that he launched amid the surge of publicity after his 8/28 rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Most the article were Beck boilerplate -- this guy's a Communist, that guy's a socialist -- but there was one story near the bottom of the page that really caught my eye. It was a news item that just as easily have landed on liberal blog with just a tweak in emphasis. The headline on The Blaze read:
"MUSLIM OR CHRISTIAN: DOME ON NEW CHURCH CAUSES CONFUSION IN PHOENIX"
As they like to say at Bud Light's ad agency...here we go:
The new Light of the World church in Phoenix would like to make one thing very clear — they are not building a mosque. Sure they have a dome, but it’s a fresh, new Christiany kind of dome:
Since the distinctive dome shape went up, church leaders said they have received phone calls from concerned neighbors who’ve mistaken the building for an Islamic mosque. On Wednesday, church officials hung a sign reminding people they’re Christian congregation. “We‘re trying to let people know that we’re Christian and our churches are modern,” said Uzieo Martinez.
"Christiany?" Oh, thank heaven. The short item, which is mainly a link to a TV news report from a Phoenix station --bylined to Scott Baker, the former longtime "lamestream media" (their terminolgy, not mine) Pittsburgh TV news anchor who's now a key player in the Beck-Breitbart axis -- is still long enough to convey the aura of a massive..."Whew, that was close!" (The TV report is pretty, um, fair and balanced, with considerable airtime for a local Phoenix representative of CAIR.) The real question here, of course, is so what if the dome had been part of a mosque? That would have made it one of hundreds of similar houses of worship in America, where those who no less than Sarah Palin described as "peaceful Muslims" go to exercise their 1st Amendment right to pray to their God in freedom -- and nothing more sensational than that.
The Phoenix "controversy" reminds me of what a famous resident of that metro area -- Sen. John McCain -- said when confronted at a campaign rally with a woman insisting that Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim. McCain seemed to be doing the right thing in rebuking the woman and her bogus information, but when he grabbed the mike he said, "No maam...He's a decent family man." Excuse me? Since when was being "a Muslim" and being "a decent family man" mutually exclusive? Indeed, why could not a Muslim citizen with good ideas and a good heart even seek the White House? Now, two short years later, the idea that most Muslim-Americans -- many of whom left their homelands out of admiration from the freedoms and opportunities that seemed to exist here -- and their houses of worship are to be feared has soaked deeply into the Phoenix desert sands.
And the Glenn Becks and Scott Bakers and the Sarah Palins -- who wants American to return to what she claims are our Judeo-Christian roots -- and Newt Gingriches with their rants against the proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan only fuel this kind of warped thinking. When we see a story like this, there is only one question that Americans should be asking, and that is -- so what if the good "Christiany" dome had been a mosque?