When I write blogs, I am to some degree “myself” and to another degree a “character” that tries to be interesting every time you stop by. Some entries require a bit of passion to be, in my mind, readable. To be sure: simple, short statements with bullet points would have been more accurate, but also inherently boring and pretty much the same thing you can find on Twitter and Facebook comments. As Tessa always says when we tackle scripts, “clarity is the enemy of drama.”
So when I discuss touchy subjects on here, I tend to go into character – it’s a place to let old feelings and ancient biases burst to the surface, because I figured it was my little concert hall and my precious drum solos could last as long as I pleased. Lately, since about 2005 or so, I’ve viewed the blog more as a choir, where I sing the first verse and then you guys invent your own chorus and take it from there.
In that light, I’ve tried to be mindful when it comes to religion, but it remains a bugaboo. And it’s impossible to describe my resentments against “organized faith” without people thinking I’m talking about them, even though I really mean “the collective influence of organized faith”. I mean, I frickin’ LOATHE what the Mormon Church stands for, but I absolutely adore and love love love my cousin Wendy.
I’ll save that line of thinking for later. When it comes to the Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, I will have to resort to bullet points:
• Many of you are confusing the belief that it should be built with the emotion that goes with it. It’s right here in the Siena poll of New Yorkers: 63% don’t like the idea of the center, and 27% support it. But at the same time, 64% believe that Muslims have a Constitutional right to build the mosque and develop a community at Ground Zero (as opposed to 28% who don’t). Which leads to…
• In the comments section, Scott wrote something that many people also thought: “to oppose the construction for any reason, indeed to be opposed to it at all, is a sign of internal bigotry.” I agree to some extent. But the world is an analog place, not a digital one. It’s messy, and we’re animals, and things get complicated. You’re asking someone to feel something they don’t feel. That’s why we have laws, to keep our demons in check, and the law (thank goodness) is clear on this one.
• I personally don’t care if the Islamic center is built or not. I simply have very complicated feelings about religious institutions and very complicated feelings about 9/11. That’s a personal issue that I chose to disclose on the blog for reasons stated in the first paragraph.
• To answer once-a-heel’s excellent question: No. I don’t think admitting that you’re a dick absolves you of being a dick. To me, the proclamation is a road sign on the way to healing that part of yourself. But I openly admit that religion still fills me with anxiety and anger, and it’s proving very hard.
• I’ll say it again: that mosque-interfaith community center will have to have the best baba ghanouj kebabs and 3D Imax Koran experience in HISTORY to make up for all the interfaith enmity this brouhaha has caused.