Mosque NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) Spreading from Ground Zero to Other Parts of America

We all like for the lights to come on, but we don’t necessarily want to look out of our kitchen windows and see a nuclear power plant alongside what was once a pristine bay. Likewise, we all like the First Amendment, and the protections it accords to free religious expression and the right of conscience, but a mosque in my neighborhood?

What an eyesore!

Below is a sign that Tea Party Herderite nationalism in America continues its ridiculous and ruinous (to the Bill of Rights) ascent. Could such a flyer directed at any other religious group—Hindus, Jews, Catholics, Mormons—be canvassed throughout a community without people immediately recognizing that the disseminators of the flyer are anti-Jeffersonian bigots?   

The flyer was recently distributed on cars in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. The distributors are fighting the building of a mosque, not a few blocks from ground zero (which would be bad enough), but in Brooklyn:


And here’s Bryan Fischer, a Herderian Christian nationalist from the American Family Association, attributing to American Muslims collective guilt for 9-11 and calling all mosques in America “improvised explosive devices”:

Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero. . . . American Muslims are being radicalized every single day in American mosques. We are sowing the seeds of our own destruction by allowing these improvised explosive devices to be established in community after community.

The mixing of metaphor aside, Bryan Fischer is pretty clear: Jews in Germany Muslims in America are collectively guilty for the actions of our enemies—and are themselves enemies within—and must be refused the rights guaranteed them as citizens and individuals in the Bill of Rights (freedom of peaceable assembly, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty of a crime, due process, equality under the law, freedom of religion and speech, etc.).

Christian nationalists call themselves “Americans” and pay lip service to the Constitution, but they’re an awful lot like volkish German nationalists of the 1930s, aren’t they?

Why is that? 

Below is what volkish Herderian nationalism looks like, and it ought to serve as a dramatic caution concerning our own American Herderites, the Tea Partiers. This is an image of a Jewish synagogue gutted at the heart of Germany’s greatest city, Berlin. The year was 1938. The synagogue’s destruction was part of the response of German fascists to the assassination of a German embassy attaché in Paris. The embassy attaché was murdered by a Polish Jew, and German Jews, for their “collective guilt,” suffered for it. It’s what a gesture of retribution for collective guilt looks like, and it’s what Tea Party Republicans like Bryan Fischer are trying to drift our own national values toward.

I’m standing with the Enlightenment informed individualist, Barack Obama, against Bryan Fischer and his fellow Herderian nationalists.

Are you?

1938 Interior of Berlin synagogue after Kristallnacht.jpg

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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