The United States and specifically New York City is in heated debate over designs to build a Muslim place of worship near Ground Zero. The attacks at Ground Zero on September 11th caused about 3,000 deaths in the hours immediately surrounding the plane attacks. The after effect of the September 11th attack could also be considered the catalyst for numerous other deaths connected to the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and numerous other military and covert operations to quell terrorist activity. So it is understandable why so many stand opposed to a mosque being built in the vicinity of the incident.
It is surprising though that the same argument isn’t used in opposition to the construction of houses of worship for other religions or public schools. Approximately 6,700 allegations of sexual abuse against about 1,900 Catholic Priests were investigated and substantiated in the US alone through 2002. That doesn’t count the number of US allegations that were not investigated because the priests were deceased and all of the allegations that occurred in other countries. Surprisingly, several studies estimate the proportion of abusive Catholic Priests (somewhere between 2 and 6%) to be no larger than the proportion of abusive Protestant Ministers or individuals involved in public education.
It is somewhat simple to compare the coordinated attack of 9/11 by a terrorist group that considers itself a sub-group of Islam to individual bad apples in the Catholic Church or any other organization. But the magnitude of the offenses are both mind-boggling and the parent organizations have not spoken out nearly enough against the sub-groups that committed such heinous crimes. So the interesting question is: Does the Catholic Church have a right to build and the developers of the Muslim mosque in New York City do not? While Protestants and Catholics in the United States currently outnumber other forms of religion that might not always hold true. So, where does that take religious freedom in the United States in the future?