|The Murfreesboro Mosque|
I wrote an editorial to the Murfreesboro Tn. Daily News Journal in October 2010. The paper entitled it "Beware of creep of Islamic faith". At the time I wasn't sure how I felt about a large Islamic Mosque being built in my community. For many years, like most people today, I had been indoctrinated by the public schools to believe in a so-called separation of church and state. That America was to tolerate all religions and that our local, state and federal governments were to be religion neutral. In the early 1990's I read a book by the Reverend Bill Murray called "Let Us Pray". This book challenged my interpretation of the 1st Amendment and it carried a lot of weight since it was written by the son of the notorious atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hare. Bill's mom used him as a pawn in her famous legal case in 1963 that effectively ended organized school prayer in America. Bill described his mom as a bitter, angry, promiscuous woman who had left her first husband for a married man who refused to leave his wife and Bill was the product of this affair. Even though her boyfriend refused to marry her she took his last name of Murray. He said that her atheism was based on his mothers anger at God rather than an intellectual basis. I remember her debating various preachers during the 1960's and 70's and it was this anger that came across to me. He said that in the early sixties she took him and his brother to France in an attempt to defect to the Soviet Union after she declared herself to be a communist. However she returned to the United States because the Soviets refused her entry. Even they were smart enough to see that she was trouble. Just a few days after returning to the United States she took Bill to enroll him in the Baltimore public school system. While walking toward the principals office she overheard a class being led in their morning prayer along with the pledge of allegiance. She went off on the principal and threatened a lawsuit. As a compromise the school system offered to allow Bill the opportunity not to participate in the prayer. She refused this offer and as they say the rest is history. I have told this story to illustrate the kind of riff-raff that we allow to push the silent majority of us around. The case that set the stage for Madalyn Murray O'Hare was Everson vs. the Board of Education in 1947. The Supreme Court overturned nearly 200 hundred years of consistent rulings in regards to the 1st Amendment and basically said that there existed a separation of church and state and that the government was to be religion neutral. This was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. I will go into greater depth later on this.
My opinion toward the mosque has changed since I wrote this editorial. I believe that we should have never allowed it to be built. This mosque, in my opinion, is part of an attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to overwhelm America with the Islamic religion in the same way that Europe has been overwhelmed. Their goal is to institute Sharia Law all across America. They have come right into the belt buckle of the Bible belt. To me the Muslim Brotherhood's methods are even more sinister than Al Qaeda. Islam is not a religion of peace but of hate. That can be easily proven. I tolerate all other religions because even though there are vast differences in belief they all believe in peaceful coexistence. All except the Muslims. Not long after I moved to Rutherford County in 1979 the Buddhists established a temple on Old Nashville Highway. I never had a problem with them moving here. Other than a few minor incidents of vandalism the people of Rutherford County have been good neighbors to these people and have accepted them with open arms. Although my Christian beliefs are vastly different from the Buddhists I celebrate the fact that I live in a country that truly is tolerant of other religions. However the people moving into Rutherford County to establish this mosque and grow the Muslim community here are part of an insidious plot to establish Sharia law and overwhelm Middle Tennessee with the Muslim culture sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood. Does this mean that all Muslims are violent and intolerant? No, it is safe to say that the majority are peace loving. Unfortunately there is a large minority that take the Koran literally. For example the Koran repeatedly exhorts Muslims to "strive in the way of Allah" and it's praise for those who do so. Surah 2:218; 4:95; 9:19-20; 9:41; 49:15. In Islamic tradition "striving in the way of Allah means Jihad war against the non-Muslim world. There is a promise of reward for all who answer the call. The Koran urges Muslims to make Jews and Christians "feel themselves subdued". Muslims are urged to war with with Christians and Jews forever. "And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah". Also "slay them wherever you catch them" surah 2:191. This doesn't sound like a peaceful religion to me. The following is my letter to the editor, the letter from the professor and my response to the professor.
To the Editor:
When the issue first came up as to building a mosque in Murfreesboro I was somewhat hesitant to take a stand. I am a proponent of religious liberty, regardless of how distasteful that religion is to me on a personal level. I was stationed in an Islamic country in the military, studied it in college, and have read a lot about it since September 11, 2001. Islam would fit the definition of a totalitarian system rather than a religion. Similar to communism in that it seeks world dominance and like communism Islam has its "useful idiots" in leftist communities in this country and abroad. They work to promote the Islamic agenda at the expense of our hard won constitutional liberties. For the proponents of the mosque who are non-Muslim, but buy into the lie that it is a peaceful religion, I would suggest that you do two things. First study the original intent behind the First Amendment regarding religious liberty. Second, consider the possibility that the minority of Muslims who are trying to kill us, and subject us to their Islamic law, are the true practitioners of the faith, and the majority who do not want to kill us are not true Muslims.
During the Civil War Lincoln lamented the fact that both North and South prayed to the same God but both can't be right. Lincoln was wrong in one respect. The God that I worship never condoned slavery, nor does he condone senseless acts of violence by a so-called religion, on his behalf. I am still undecided as to whether the mosque should be built. Just be knowledgeable of what is coming to a neighborhood near you.
A few days later I received the following letter from a college professor who taught US and medieval history. I am presenting the letter in its entirety, minus the name and address of the professor.
Dear Mr. Segroves
I shall do what you asked: I shall study the First Amendment regarding religious liberty and I shall consider the possibility that Muslim extremists are mainline. Okay---done. Since I teach US History at the college level, I am very well versed in the First Amendment and its intents (the Federalist Papers amongst other things) and its penumbra. Yep, Islam qualifies for full and unconditional support from the First Amendment. No problem. Since I am also a medieval historian, trained at the PHD level (which means I am very much an expert) and teach about Islam, I am also well-versed with Islam in all sorts of ways (and ever since the first oil embargo bit into my lifestyle in 1973, I have been very attentive to all things Middle Eastern; and as a military historian I have been likewise interested in all things Arab-Israeli). Nope, the extremists are on the fringes; and the majority of Muslims who do not want to kill us are true Muslims. So no problem then at all with the Mosque going up, and we should welcome it and many more. Case closed. But wait. What about your erroneous point of view regarding Islam? You state that you have read about Islam, studied it in college, and have seen it up front. Obviously then, if you conclude that it is a "totalitarian system rather than a religion", you must not have done too good of a job of understanding Islam. As a professional educator, I award you a D for your efforts then. You need to study harder and without prejudice.
Besides, your conclusion about Islam could likewise fit Christianity to a T- which stands for totalitarian. Christianity seeks world dominance; and wants to put all under its law. And it has its useful idiots---like those morons who want to put Christian prayer back into schools ( where it has no business and is a clear violation of the First Amendment) or who want to set up the Ten Commandments on public property (again, unconstitutional). Moreover, if you examine the historical record, Christianity has been way more intolerant and imperialistic than Islam ever had (note for instance how well Jews were tolerated in Muslim countries historically than in Christian countries---do remember that Zionism was an outgrowth of Christian intolerance not Muslim; and Islam never committed pogroms or the holocaust).
Sadly the only thing coming to me in a neighborhood near to me is the racist, ignorant intolerance of too many of my neighbors who have shown themselves, if nothing else, to be utterly unworthy of the name Americans. And if you are still undecided as to whether the mosque should be built, you are on the wrong side of this debate. The mosque should be built unconditionally and with all due speed, and many more should be planned as well. No problem.
PS And if you need any more correction, note the editorial on the other side from your letter. It concluded that "With the US Justice Department issuing an opinion this week that Islam is a religion that deserves the same constitutional protections as any other religion, it is time for Rutherford County to move past this division and become a merciful and loving place."
PPS As an ex-military man, do realize that the US military by code recognizes Islam as an official constitutionally protected religion, and chaplains have to be trained accordingly.
The following letter is my response to the professor.
Dear Mr. ____
I hope that this letter finds you and your family in good health and spirits. I appreciate you taking the time to write and express your opinion about my letter to the editor. I apologize if this letter is lengthy but you have thrown a lot at me and I want to present a fair rebuttal. I also apologize for my short comings in regard to a formal education and lack of credentials. I know that my vocabulary is limited compared to yours. When I get a chance I am going to have to look up the definition of penumbra. Sadly, I have only completed three years of college. I am, however, a proud honor graduate from the "college of hard knocks". In the words of Ross Perot, I am a "r-o-a-d-s" scholar. It is not such a bad thing to be self-educated. I am in good company with the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, two of my heroes. Not to compare my achievements with theirs, you understand. I was also proud to serve twenty years as an Air Force Security Policeman. Enough about me, your opinions help confirm to me that the quality of our educational system today, both on the lower and higher levels, are of pretty poor quality. I think our children are being indoctrinated rather than educated. I can say that because I was indoctrinated during the 1950's and 60's. I am sure it is worse today than it was back then. I did not begin to realize this until I was in my twenties. I am sixty years old. Our educational system had some value. I learned to read very well and if you can read you can get a poor man's P.H.D. in just one good public library.
I don't claim to be an expert in anything. I have found that the more you know the less you really know. I am positive that when it comes to Medieval History you have me beat by a country mile. So here goes nothing. The following is my opinion for whatever it's worth. Like most people today, I was taught that the First Amendment was intended to be "religion neutral". In other words, the Hugo Black interpretation of the First Amendment. Although I was raised by a Christian mother, I supported the 1963 Supreme Court decision to ban prayer from public schools. I believed this way until I read a book in my late forties that challenged my beliefs. The book was called "Let Us Pray" by William Murray. Murray is the son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the famous atheist who used William to bring about the decision banning school prayer on June 17, 1963. He gives a scholarly interpretation of the real meaning of the First Amendment and the thoughts of the framers on religious liberty. As I am sure you know, or should know, the Bill of Rights dictates what the federal government cannot do. It does not say what it can do. Secondly, the language of the First Amendment is very clear. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". The First Amendment protects the states and the people from the intervention of the federal government in matters of religion.
When Jefferson wrote his famous "Wall of Separation" letter, that has been so vastly misinterpreted over the years, to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802, he was responding to their request, that as President he should declare a day of fasting and thanksgiving. Jefferson's reply was saying, and correctly so, that there was a "Wall of Separation" between the federal government and the state governments. He could not require the individual states to follow an edict imposed by the federal government on something as simple as a day of fasting and thanksgiving. Andrew Jackson would face the same request during his administration and he would reply in the same manner as Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. Third, there is no doubt that Jefferson and Madison believed that all religions had a right to worship as they pleased. This included the Pagan, the Jew, and the Muslim. They also believed that man had a right to practice no religion. My views are in line with Jefferson and Madison. It is probably safe to say that the majority of Americans at that time were not as open minded as Jefferson and Madison. Both, however, were advocates of states rights. They believed in the Tenth Amendment as much as they believed in the First. Jefferson and Madison fought to disestablish the Anglican Church in Virginia. They were successful with the passage of the Declaration of Rights in 1776. This was one of the three accomplishments that Jefferson was the most proud of and he had it etched on his tombstone. He was also proud of his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and of his founding of the University of Virginia. Both Madison and Jefferson would never dictate to the other states how they should worship. If an individual state wanted a state religion, or any public displays of religion, such as prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments posted in courthouses, or no religion displayed at all, that was their business. If Tennessee does not want mosques to be built it is up to the people of Tennessee regardless of how you or I feel about it. Madison and Jefferson would not have agreed with the federal governments intervention into how the states have conducted religious matters over the last one hundred years.
The modern interpretation of the First Amendment came out of the progressive movement of the late 1800's and early 1900's. The progressives have been so successful in promoting this interpretation that far too many Americans believe it. Hugo Black had an ulterior motive for issuing his ruling that effectively altered American history. He was a former Klansman and had an anti-Catholic bias. I am not a believer in the progressive concept that the Constitution is a living document that can be changed at the whim of a judge, president, or legislator. I believe in the amendment process. I am a constructionist in interpreting the Constitution. There are implied powers but in my view we live under the tyranny of a court system out of control. Unless we can find a way to bring them under control, there is not much hope for the future of this republic.
Now I would like to address your view that Christians and Jews were tolerated by Muslims. Yes, they were tolerated, but that was because Christians and Jews shared the same patriarch Abraham. What would be toleration to you would be intolerable to me. They had to submit to Islamic authority, (sharia law) and they could not seek after new converts or worship openly. If they submitted they were allowed to live. Pagans or atheists were given the chance to convert to Islam or face death. Because of military conquest of Islamic countries and colonialism there is much variance from country to country today. In countries like Saudi-Arabia and Iran, Christian Bibles are forbidden. They are routinely confiscated and burned. All outward signs of Christian worship are not allowed. Just ask our military how they were treated in Saudi-Arabia during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. There are secular countries like Turkey, where secularism is enforced by the Turkish military but even they are becoming more fundamentalist. Islam is no more monolithic than Communism is. The Communist ideology looks toward the ultimate rule of the proletariat without national borders. Nationalism has always plagued Communist states. It was the appeal to nationalism by Stalin that helped to defeat the Germans in World War II. Remember the Sino-Soviet conflicts of the 1960's. Islam has it's own problems in this regard, but the dream of Islam from the get go has been to unite the world under one giant Caliphate, living blissfully under Sharia law. This is the same goal shared by the terrorists.
You referenced to the Catholic and Christian Church of the Middle Ages and Christianity in general today trying to domin ate the world. As for today, I don't know what kind of drugs your taking, but that is the farthest thing from the truth. As for the pseudo Christian theocraciesof the Middle Ages, they are a good example of why Islam should be watched very carefully today. We want to avoid another theocracy. The thing that separates true Christians from all other religions is what Christ said. "My kingdom is not of this world". Real Christianity is based on Gods love. Love is the very essence of God's character. He would never compel a man to worship him against their will. So why should a men try to force people to worship God against their will? God does not condone the oppression and terror committed in his name.
You said that there was no pogroms or holocausts in Islam. Oh really? Every Islamic country in the world today is committed to the ultimate destruction of Israel. Islam was very friendly to the Nazi's in World War II and they rooted for Hitler when he was destroying Jews. There were Muslim SS units. There has been only one statesman to come out of Islam and he was Anwar Sadat. Sadat was brutally murdered because he dared to seek peace with Israel. The left has always championed, and rightly so, those Jews that were killed by Hitler, but today they side with a people who would gladly destroy Jews today and hate Jews as strongly as Hitler ever did. The left supports homosexual rights but fights for the rights of a people that routinely kill homosexuals. The left supports a woman's so-called "right to choose" an abortion, their rights in the workplace, and their proper place in the home, but they support a people that routinely abuse, maim, and kill women of all ages because Islam is a patriarchal society on steroids.
Mr. ____, if it were possible for Islam to become the dominant religion in America, people like you would be the first to lose their heads. I hope that you will least elevate my grade to a C on this paper. Then again, maybe you will give me an A for effort.
P.S. I hope you are not so naive as to believe everything that the Justice Department says. I hope you don't expect me to.
P.P.S. The left is always whining about these idiots, supposedly representing the Christian viewpoint, who are out here trying to burn construction equipment or spray painting mosques. How does this compare with watching people of all religions, including Islam, and nationalities, jumping from a burning 105 story building because of religious fanatics spreading hatred and division? How does that compare with watching a man getting his head sawed off with a dull knife on You-tube while he is alive and screaming? How does that compare with unarmed soldiers at Ft. Hood being gunned down by a fellow soldier that just happens to be Islamic? If I continued with all the examples of Islamic people spreading hate and division this letter might weigh 500 pounds, so I will stop here.
I want to add here that in 1915 Turkey went to war against the Triple Entente alliance of Britain, France and Russia. Turkey was still the Ottoman Empire and Muslim. However in Eastern Turkey where I was stationed in 1970 and 71 there were two million Christian Armenians. By 1918 and the end of World War I the Muslim Turks slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians by every means available. Many were starved to death, tortured, shot and hacked in pieces with axes and any sharp instrument that they could get their hands on.
|Pro Mosque Demonstrators|