Letters to the Editor – September 23, 2010

| September 21, 2010 | 1 Comment

Politics at root of mosque controversy

My thanks to Joe Towalski for his thoughtful editorial about ground zero and the proposed site of a Muslim community center [Aug. 26]. It brought to mind the No. 1 rule of St. Benedict:  All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ.

This center has been in the works for years, three blocks away (and in New York City, that may as well be three miles away) from ground zero.  I have not been there since 9/11.  My husband has.

It was surrounded by street venders, porn shops, strip clubs, skyscrapers and a million other “inappropriate” venues grandfathered in, with good old American entrepreneurs making the most of a tragic situation.

It was and is politics, pure and simple, not religious differences, fueling the fire of paranoia, racism, hatred and fear of “otherness” that turned this “yet another building going up in New York” into a “we’re letting the very people who killed us slap us in the face desecrating our sacred ground.”

Why not complain about all those porn shops and strip clubs? Surely they are just as offensive? Why not complain about all those megalomaniacal corporations not three blocks away, but right next door, who devour our hard-earned tax dollars while getting immorally high bonuses? All this is happening on our “sacred ground.” Welcome to the ugly propaganda of politics.

9/11 has become our rallying cry. Yet, for every innocent killed, anywhere, the other side can mourn a hundred more; pointing fingers or bombs gets us nowhere. Politics, particularly before a pivotal election, is ugly. Stick with the real issues, and how they embrace or reject compassion, conciliation and care for the environment. Make your opinions based on fact, not fear. And love one another as Christ has taught us.

Elizabeth Streiff
St. Albert the Great, Minneapolis

Shouldn’t we be preaching Gospel?

I write in response to Joe Towalski’s editorial calling on Catholics to “build bridges” to our Muslim neighbors and be open to the building of a mosque near ground zero in New York [Aug. 26].

Many may write in response to this editorial citing political sensitivities and the feelings of New Yorkers. I am open to these concerns. How­ever, a much greater one exists within the editorial.

Where does the author mention the kingship of Jesus Christ and our necessary commitment to “preach the Gospel to all nations?” The author frequently mentions the Muslim community and the need to “dialogue” with them.

Talking is good. But are we willing to follow in the footsteps of the great saints who have preached the Gospel (in charity) but with great zeal to those who do not have it?  We seem content to sit and talk, but what are we talking about? Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Mr. Towalski believes this, I’m sure. But to not mention it in his editorial is telling and a great sign of why we, as a church, are in the trouble we’re in.

Jacob Flaherty
Maternity of Mary, St. Paul

All immigrants deserve compassion

I feel compelled to answer Mr. David Burke’s letter regarding un­docu­mented workers and how America treats them [Sept. 9].

Mr. Burke feels that they do not deserve to be treated with dignity because they broke the law. Crossing our border without permission is only a misdemeanor, not a felony, and does not call for harsh treatment if apprehended.

There is no need to separate mothers from their children, no need to keep workers in confinement for long periods of time.

He also asserts that these workers are taking jobs for lower wages than Americans will accept. Who is hiring these workers??Who has actively recruited workers inside Mexico and even offered free bus rides to new workers?

I know who is really illegal — it is the American companies who love to exploit these workers and pay them poorly with little or no benefits.

Catholic teaching strongly states that all immigrants deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity.

Immigration is a difficult problem to solve. How we treat the people involved is not difficult.

Frank Moriarty
St. Joseph, New Hope

Category: From Readers