The “Ground Zero Mosque” debate continues.

I appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on Friday evening to discuss the issue with Walid Shoebat – a man who claims he’s a Muslim terrorist turned Christian.

Because of Shoebat’s “previous experience” as a terrorist, he is often interviewed by news outlets as “someone uniquely capable of providing insight into the terrorist mindset.” He’s become quite the favorite of the Right, though since there is no evidence that he ever worked as a terrorist, even some conservatives question his legitimacy.

What’s worse, despite having no “credentials” as a Muslim extremist, Shoebat isn’t all that articulate, either. On Friday, it took me a while to even figure out what his point was. He read from an article allegedly written by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in Arabic that Shoebat translated to English.  According to Shoebat, Rauf and other Muslims who want to build the Islamic Cultural Center in Lower Manhattan have a plan: they want to build this structure to help take over America and make us live under Sharia law! But he did concede this transformation is expected through peaceful means. 

I have to admit, Shoebat’s scare tactics are almost comical. The fact
is, fewer than one percent of Americans are Muslim. Of those who are
Muslim, most just want the same rights
that everyone else has to practice their faith under the U.S. Constitution.  Does anyone really believe they will succeed in convincing the other 99 percent of people in this country to follow their religious beliefs? And if they try, how does that make them any different from any other religious group that tries to convince people to change their thinking? This is called “evangelism” or “proselytism” or “mission work.”

As for imposing a worldview through government means, in the United States, that’s the job of the Christian Right. So let’s see, conservative
groups believe it’s okay if fundamentalist Christians push their narrow
worldview on all Americans and be granted government approval,  but no one else should dare follow their

We don’t even need to look further than this past weekend to prove that.

As you are probably aware, Fox News Channel personality Glenn Beck was
in Washington this weekend, along with Sarah Palin and faux historian
David Barton. They held a rally to “reunite” Americans and honor “our
heroes, our heritage and our future.”

What was plugged as a patriotic and celebratory event turned out to be
mainly an evangelistic rally where Beck told the crowd, “Something that is
beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God.”

Beck went on and on about taking “back” America’s Christian heritage.
Then, the next day, on national television, he questioned President Barack Obama’s religion and accused him of not being a “real” Christian. (The
irony is that Beck, a Mormon, has been accused of the same by fundamentalists who think his faith is a “cult.”)

It’s not surprising that this rally was all about attacking religious
liberty in order to push Christian nation propaganda.  That’s what
Beck, Barton and Palin do regularly.

The Religious Right (and Glenn Beck) can weep all they want that building a
“mosque at Ground Zero” is a way for Muslims to impose their beliefs on
them. However, they should realize that’s something fundamentalist Christians do every
day. Beck and company even take it a step further and insist government funds and public land be used to propagate their religious beliefs. At least the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan is being built with private dollars on private land.

This “mosque” debate is not likely to end soon; Glenn Beck is not going to eat locusts in the desert and get off television, and Sarah Palin won’t stop fanning the flames of hatred. Beck believes the end of human history is getting closer, perhaps imminent. If the new world gets rid of the hypocrisy over the mosque, and gets Beck and Palin to stop ranting, that might not be a completely bad thing.  

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