Counterfactual Richard Land Un-Mosqued
The head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission doesn’t let the facts confuse his opposition to the Park51 Islamic center.
Land began an interview with EthicsDaily.com by quickly asserting that the site stands too close to Ground Zero and therefore is inappropriate for housing a mosque. Land argued the site is “at best two blocks away, depends on how you calculate it.” He proposed that moving it “four or five blocks” would make the site acceptable.
In reality, the proposed center would sit more than two blocks from the closest corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex that includes many buildings that survived the attack nearly nine years ago. The center actually would be about six blocks from the closest of the two main towers hit by airplanes. Such distance from the towers fits with Land’s desired distance, but he remains opposed to the site.
When Land complained during the interview that the site was within eyesight of Ground Zero, it was pointed out to him that there were actually tall buildings that prevented the site from being seen from Ground Zero. Yet, he still maintained that the site was too close.
Later on the radio program “Interfaith Voices,” Land took a different position that was more expansively confused:
There shouldn’t be one [a mosque] within, uh, eyeshot or earshot. And if it weren’t for the interference of buildings, this would be within the, what’s being proposed would be within eyesight.
Whatever he meant in that case, counterfactual positions aren’t new to Richard Land. He has also been persistently counterfactual on health reform. Indeed, he deserved an honorable mention for Sarah Palin’s PolitiFact Lie of the Year Award, which she received for elevating the fictitious “death panels” to a topic of frenzied national debate. Nor should it be forgotten that his false health reform/Holocaust comparisons were elevated to the level of international scandal.
Why expect a new and different Richard Land to step forward for Park51?
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