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Redneck Georgia Town Bans Mosque, for Freedumb!

Let’s see, got my Bible right here… a lot of stuff in this thing about tolerance, loving each other, specifically love they neighbor. Hmm. They must be using a different version in Georgia, where a small town has used some odd twists on traffic laws to violate the First Amendment’s right to practice one’s religion and ban a mosque from opening. All together now — Freedumb!

Kennesaw, Georgia, a pus-filled, hateful ashtray of a city of about 30,000 people in north Georgia, voted down a Muslim group’s request to rent an unused retail space and open a mosque in the city.

The vote was 4-1 against as anti-Muslim protesters stood outside the meeting with signs such as “Ban Islam” and “Islam Wants No Peace!”

Mayor Mark Matthews forbade comment inside from the public about religion, so critics instead said they opposed the mosque on the grounds parking. This despite the fact that the Muslim group had already agreed to limit attendance to 80 worshipers at a time in the 2,200 square foot space. The group also agreed to build 40 new parking spaces well-away from the nearby shopping area.

The clever haters in Georgia figured they would get around that naughty old First Amendment to the Constitution (Note: the Constitution is that thingie that defines the freedom our troops are always fighting Muslims overseas to protect) by not, no sir, not in any way at all, making the mosque ban about religion. Nope. All the good white people of Kennesaw are concerned about is traffic issues in what no doubt is their busy and thriving downtown area.

“This is not intended to be a religious debate or a discussion about people’s religious beliefs. It’s a purely technical hearing on the appropriate land use for a piece of property in the city of Kennesaw,” the mayor said.

Oh wait, that’s bullsh*t.

At a public hearing last month that had no limits imposed on discussing religion, Kennesaw residents shared things like this: “I am first a Christian and then an American citizen,” resident Jo Talley said. “As a Christian I am to put no other God before my Lord, and I am also to love my neighbor. If you know me, then you know that I do my best to do those things… but I also have the right to protect myself. This project has to do with Sharia law.”

“You know, if Christianity were killing people, I’m pretty sure I would have a problem with it,” Pastor C.S. Clarke of the Redeemed Christian Fellowship Church added.

Ashley Haspel, who owns a beauty salon, said she is concerned people attending the mosque would use too many parking places, leaving no room for her customers. “A worship center has no place being in a retail center… It would hurt our business not having the parking for our customers.”

According to the application for the mosque, the daily prayer services would likely be attended by 10-20 people and the weekly prayer service 60-80 people. There are already 127 parking space, which would increase to 167 if the mosque is approved.

Resident Anthony Bonner said the debate was “bigger than just zoning and parking. This is bigger than right and wrong. This is not a religious debate. This is about a comment on the value and the merits of a community.”

A commenter added “Islam is a discriminatory religion so it is quite ironic to hear all the supporters of the mosque crying about discrimination.”

Here’s one: “Should we accommodate a religion aiming to convert or kill the infidel, including the citizens of the United States? Islam is NOT a peaceful religion based on love. Should we aid the enemy?”

An upstanding citizen stated “The scumbag lawyer for the terrorist organization says he will sue… good luck with that.”

Another says on video “A retail space is not appropriate to a house of worship,” though by some odd quirk, the city allowed a Pentecostal church to rent a retail space for exactly the same purpose in July.

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Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

Though this is his first book, Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.

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