Last week, if you did a Google News search for "Murfreesboro," you would've found the story on the town's new Islamic Center, particularly the story on comments made by Lou Ann Zelenik, Republican Tea Party candidate for Tennessee's sixth congressional district.
... Lou Ann Zelenik said she stands with those who oppose building what she calls "an Islamic training center." She says the center is not part of a religious movement, but a political one "designed to fracture the moral and political foundation of Middle Tennessee."
"Until the American Muslim community find it in their hearts to separate themselves from their evil, radical counterparts, to condemn those who want to destroy our civilization and will fight against them, we are not obligated to open our society to any of them," Zelenik says in the statement.
Interesting. I wonder how many Muslim friends Zelenik has? I wonder how many Muslims Zelenik has met, had dinner with, talked with? How many do you think? Maybe she doesn't remember the condemnations of 9/11 delivered by the Muslim community?
Some say the Tea Party has been given a bad rap. Members say it's about smaller government, lower taxes, less bureaucracy, etc... The opposition has pegged it the "Tea Klux Klan" - a mostly white Christian group that fears minorities, people who are different, and puts stock in conspiracy theories about the President, the US Government's move toward socialism/Marxism/communism, etc...
Thankfully, the national MSM has taken comments of Zelenik and her teabagger friends and exposed to the nation what a backward, ignorant and bigoted group Zelenik represents. Some of the other choice comments voiced to the press from Murfreesboro residents on the Islamic Center came from religious leaders - supposed role models for the community!:
"Everybody knows they are trying to kill us. People are really concerned about this. Somebody has to stand up and take this country back." -- Karen Harrell
"...we have a duty here at home to understand thoroughly the nature, the intent, the funding of any group that is being invited into our community under that general banner (of Islam)." -- Allen Jackson, pastor of World Outreach Church
"It is a genuine concern based on the fact that, while we believe and practice freedom of religion, experience has taught us that a segment of Muslims are very hostile toward anyone who is not a Muslim. Their Quran is very explicit about how they should treat infidels." -- Michael O'Bannon, senior minister at First United Methodist Church
(I guess Minister O'Bannon missed the part of the Bible that orders death for infidels, death to those who worship differently, death to non-virgins, death to gays, etc...)
It is ironic that the Tea Partiers are campaigning against taxes (TEA = Taxed Enough Already) at a time where taxes are at the lowest level in 60 years. Obama's taxes on dividends and capital gains are better than Ronald Reagan's. So, what are they really complaining about ... especially here in TN where this state GETS more in Federal dollars than they GIVE in taxes?
This controversy about the new Islamic Center in Murfreesboro has pulled the sheets off of the Tea Klux Klan, giving credence to those who have pointed out the ignorance and fear this group exhibits, giving credence to those who call the south, "Dumbfuckistan." Why are they so afraid? Yes, ignorance and lack of education breeds fear. The sign at the new mosque site has been vandalized again.
Fortunately, there are voices of reason, experience, and intelligence, even here in Middle TN. The University Community at MTSU has shown support as well as local church leaders. Congressional candidate, U.S. Marine, and Iraq War combat veteran Ben Leming expressed his disappointment with citizen reaction on this issue:
“What do we have to be afraid of? During my deployments around the world, I have worked, trained, and broken bread with Muslims. I have known their families and communities. I have fought with them and for them, as I have for this country and my fellow citizens, many of whom are also Muslims. The people that want to build a house of worship in Murfreesboro are not the enemy. Osama Bin Laden and his band of thugs and criminals are the enemy. During my fifteen years of service, I’ve studied and fought our enemies. I’m not about to stop now,” said Leming, who earned the Air Medal while flying helicopter combat missions under fire in Iraq.
“I see a lot of people quoting our Constitution these days, but only when it suits their agenda. You can’t have it both ways. I believe in the United States Constitution. I have fought and will continue to fight to uphold every single right guaranteed by it. This includes the right to worship freely. Just because we may not agree with someone’s religious views does not mean we get to decide whether they can have a place of worship in the community. This is simply un-American.”
Speaking of religious indoctrination and training centers, have you seen the size of the Murfreesboro World Outreach Church? This college-sized facility has 4 sanctuaries that seat thousands, 24/7 radio, TV broadcasts, and programs for all aspects of life - from birth to death. Their latest expansion alone, an addition of 125,000 sq. ft, is more than double the size of the propose Islamic Center. Wow!!! No wonder they call this area, "Jesusland." Can theocracy and religious tests for public office be far away, especially here in the south?
The Rutherford County Planning Commission has already approved the 52,000 square Islamic Center on Veals Road. The Muslim community in Rutherford County has doubled in size in recent years and they have out grown their current mosque in Murfreesboro. Their statement of the recent vandalism to their sign:
We have reported this incident to our local authorities as well as the FBI. We place our trust in our law enforcement personnel and judicial system and feel that this incident will be dealt with accordingly. Our community and supporters will remain vigilant and will not tolerate any abuse. We would like to remind everyone that we are contributing members in this community as doctors, businessmen, professors and workers. We have been in this community for many many years.