No Mosque for You!: Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Speech?

Sugarcreek Township, Ohio has decided, based on traffic and sewage impact, that they will not allow a mosque (smaller than the one pictured) to be built near an existing Baptist church. The reason for denial might be accurate, but it sounds like--regardless of other impacts--the mosque would not have been built anyway. Opponents are celebrating a supposed victory for freedom of speech. But what about the most important freedom--religion?

The first question I ask Boy Scouts whenever I teach the Citizenship in the nation merit badge is "What is the first freedom protected in the Bill of Rights?" What do you think? Speech, right? No, actually. The first part of the First Amendment to the US Constitution says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...
In the past couple of days, it appears that a group of Muslims' freedom of religion was thwarted. I don't know for sure, because a supposedly valid reason was given:
The board of zoning appeals in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio, insists its 5-0 vote against a variance request that would have permitted the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton to build the mosque was not influenced by the local First Baptist Church. The rejection, officials say, was based only on the expected sewage and traffic impact, the Dayton Daily News reported.
But here's the interesting part. The pastor of the Baptist Church had this to say:
"We just feel that Christianity is right and that Islam is wrong," Jude told the Daily News. "Therefore, we take a stand to see (a mosque) not in our community. The wonderful thing about our American culture is that you have the right to speak out against something you don't support."
You know what? When I read a quote like that, I'll just bet that the impact on the traffic and sewer system wouldn't have been that overwhelming after all.


  1. The capacity for some Christians to so easily justify UN-Christian behavior never ceases to amaze me.

  2. Last time I checked, ALL religions believe they are right. So by their reasoning we should go tear down their church.

  3. Jason the,

    I agree. I'm sure there's some fear of being gradually outnumbered in that area, but the better solution would be to make friends, rather than entrench our pre-conceived enmity.

    R & J,


  4. A number of years ago, a group of monks from a non-Christian religion wanted to build a facility in a rural community in my county. It was to be a farm along with residency and worship facilities. A number of residents went nuts and tried to stop it. That really burned my toast. These people should have been out there helping their new neighbors build their facilities instead of protesting against them.

  5. My most recent article talks about how some people think that non-Christian prayers in government meetings should be banned.

    Go figure... ;-(


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