must REALLY like the Burlington Coat Factory.

the only logical explanation I can come up with for why the American Center for
Law and Justice, which claims it’s all about preserving Americans’ religious
freedom, would file a lawsuit today to preserve a building in lower Manhattan
that once housed the retailer.  I mean, I never really thought of the
Burlington Coat Factory as a historic landmark, but to each his own.

this isn’t at all about the Burlington Coat Factory, but rather a desperate
attempt to make a legal argument (and a very weak one at that) to stop the
building of an Islamic Community Center — a center that would be built with
private funds on private land in Manhattan.

that would be religious discrimination, don’t you think? It would especially be
unbelievable for a group such as yours, which claims its mission is to preserve
religious liberty for all, to get in the way of Americans who want to practice
their faith.

this morning, you sent an e-mail to your members headlined,  “Not on Our
Watch: No to Islamic Mosque at Ground Zero.” Then I thought, what if the ACLJ
isn’t for religious liberty for all, but rather only for the religious liberty of
the religious groups it approves of?

know that’s not how our Constitution works, Jay. In the United States, religious
groups are free to erect meeting spaces on private land as long as they comply
with land-use laws.  Yesterday, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation
Commission voted unanimously to allow construction of an Islamic center in
lower Manhattan. If the owners of this building are complying with the law, why
can’t you? 

Mayor Bloomberg said in a speech yesterday, 

“This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never
choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site
will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be
untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and
Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.

that reason,” he continued, “I believe that this is an important test of the
separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetimes, as important a
test. And it is critically important that we get it right.”

I believe our country will get it right. Your opposition to the private
construction of this house of worship is shameful. It goes against our
country’s spirit of tolerance, respect and acceptance, and I’m convinced
without out a doubt, that your frivolous lawsuit will fail.

More from Beliefnet and our partners