Atheists on the NY mosque

This item from 3 Quarks Daily caught my eye:


…We atheists are particularly well placed to speak to public matters concerning religious tolerance.  As we have no religion of our own, atheists are especially well practiced at tolerating religion.  More importantly, atheists are also keenly attuned to the importance of religious tolerance and freedom of conscience for a democratic society.  And the controversy over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque is a clash over these very principles. Our view is that those who oppose the Mosque have abandoned fundamental principles at the core of the form of constitutional democracy originated by the United States…

By calling the terrorist acts of 9/11 “extremist,” we in part affirm that they were based on a distorted conception of the Muslim faith.  People who oppose the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” deny this; again, they accept the terrorists’ conception of Islam.  In doing so, they adopt a crucial component of the terrorists’ view of the world, namely, that a just and peaceful society of persons of different, and even opposed, religious faiths is not possible.  Once that position is accepted, the foundation of constitutional democracy is abandoned, and theocracy– the view that social justice and peace is possible only among a people living under a single religious authority– is embraced.  Popular opposition to the so-called Mosque, though most frequently portrayed as an expression of uncompromising patriotism, actually requires a betrayal of core commitments of American democracy.  What a disgrace…

Eminently sensible.