Nicolaus Mills: Sex Shop and Strip Clubs Near Ground Zero Show Double Standard over Park51

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Nicolaus Mills is a professor of American Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and co-editor with Michael Walzer of “Getting Out: Historical Perspectives on Leaving Iraq.]

In this debate over whether a Muslim community center should be built two blocks from where the World Trade Center was destroyed on 9/11, both sides have sought to capture the high ground.

President Obama and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg have defended the building of the community center by invoking the First Amendment. “The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are,” the president declared.

Republican conservatives, like former House speaker Newt Gingrich and current House minority leader John A. Boehner, have based their opposition to the center on their concern for the feelings of those who lost loved ones on 9/11. “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in New York,” Gingrich said by way of analogy....

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Arnold Shcherban - 9/7/2010

You are missing the major point, Mr. Wilson.
The author talks about this country and this country only, by making accent on the freedom of speech/ expression (which embraces both religion and strip club) as part of the American constitution.
It's exactly and primarily in that sense the USA is different (I would say better) than any country with theocratic regime, such as, e.g., Saudi Arabia.
Therefore, your simmering indignation towards the quoted statement is totally misplaced.

John a Wilson - 9/2/2010

"Why are they treated with a live-and-let-live tolerance that doesn’t extend to an Islamic center? How, as a practical matter, are pole dancers less of an affront to the memory of the 9/11 dead than a community center that will have prayer space, a 500-seat auditorium, and a bookstore? "

Are you friggin serious. Try to do the equivalent in Saudi Arabia and watch what happens to your head.