The ‘Ground Zero’ mosque: An open letter to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)

First, I believe that you are being hypocritical, short-sighted, and irrational. To exemplify my point, I have slightly altered the argument that you made, on numerous talk shows over the last several days, as to why the Cordoba House should not be built in its proposed location:

While I fully recognize the right of a church to be built within two blocks of an elementary school or daycare center, I firmly believe that it is not responsible to do so.  That is because building a church so close to where young children are present would be offensive to the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of priests, and their families. (paraphrased)

Surely, to any rational individual, the mere notion of such a suggestion is patently offensive, absurd, thoughtless, and downright stupid. Yet, for some strange reason, you seem to believe that because the religion at issue is Islam, rather than a Judeo-Christian one, it is okay to suggest (or, perhaps more aptly put, use your position of power to demand) that the Cordoba House and cultural center be built at a location further away from Ground Zero

Indeed, your thoughtlessness seems to be empowering many who heed your offensive and absurd argument—probably the same ones that are incensed reading the paragraph which I have slightly altered, above, to put in perspective and make it hit closer to home.  In fact, what I have seen from you and your cohorts is the illogical notion that the issues surrounding the Cordoba House are something different entirely. Make no mistake about it, though—it is not. Second, even the most fervent of anti-Cordoba House advocates would concede, and even you have on several occasions affirmatively stated, that the Islamic religion is a peaceful religion, and that 9/11 was committed by a group of outliers—a group of disturbed and misguided zealots who in no way represent Islamic values. If you do, in fact, believe that is true, then why are you equating the potential members and users of the Cordoba House with the 9/11 hijackers and coordinators?  The two are completely different, and you should not conflate the two.

Third, why are you taking so much stock into the feelings and heeding the request of the 9/11 victims’ families? I, for one, know that if I lost a loved one in a catastrophe as tragic as 9/11, I would seek retribution, have a callous attitude, and exert animosity towards anyone and everyone that I even loosely perceived as comparable to the perpetrators. And, while thinking clearly, that is precisely why I would not want any of my, perhaps, unreasonable and knee-jerk reactions being strongly considered should that ever happen. Accordingly, while I fully empathize with the 9/11 victims’ families situation and what they have been through, it is precisely because of their extraordinary loss that their opinion should be discounted—that is because the extreme anguish and hurt that they’ve been through clouds their judgment.

Lastly, your stance on the Cordoba House is subjective, and therefore, illusory on at least two fronts. First, why do you consider the Cordoba House’s distance of two blocks away from Ground Zero too close? Where do you draw the line as to what is considered too close and what is not considered too close? Is four blocks too close? What about eight blocks? 

Second, much of your opposition is based on pandering to many of your constituents who had family members that tragically died on 9/11. But surely not every family member of the 9/11 victims are against the Cordoba House. And at what point do you consider that you have a sufficient sampling of victims’ family members in order to appropriately fulfill their wishes? What about the, say, 25% of family members who believe that the Cordoba House should be built at its proposed location? What if that number is actually 40%? Or, perhaps, 60%? Again, by arguing that you are fulfilling the wishes of many family members who died on 9/11, you must recognize that you are also disregarding the feelings of many family members as well.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope that you heed some of these considerations and reconsider your stance on the Cordoba House. Alternatively, I hope that even if you are still personally against it, you discontinue using your “bully pulpit” by essentially demanding the relocation of the proposed building.  Indeed, the significance of the Cordoba House being built so close to Ground Zero might even facilitate peaceful relations with Muslims around the globe. But without a doubt it will serve to flaunt the religious freedoms that we in America hold dearly. And if you do continue and succeed in your crusade, well, then we’re one step closer to Sharia law.



Jesse R. Morton is an attorney and certified public accountant who obtained his Masters of Law at the University of Cambridge and his J.D. at the University of Richmond.

More in Blog Briefing Room

Rep. King: Obama should invite Darren Wilson to White House

Read more »