23 Aug 2010

The Mosque Controversy: I Am in Awe of Jon Stewart

Humor 43 Comments

Wow, look at what Jon Stewart and his writers did with this piece. Besides blowing up Fox News (and oh man the first clip is embarrassing), he actually admits his own participation in political tribalism in the past. Then he closes with an actually moving homage to Charlton Heston…and then a joke. Perfect.

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43 Responses to “The Mosque Controversy: I Am in Awe of Jon Stewart”

  1. Contemplationist says:

    Americans can’t actually object to Islam qua Islam due to the strictures of political correctness, hence the anger and fear of Islam is coming out on its tangible symbols – mosques. The same thing is happening in Europe. Fearful of cries of “racism” “islamophobe” “bigot” “fascist” they do things like ban more minarets on mosques (in Switzerland) or ban the face-veiling in France, Belgium etc.

    The real problem is Islam itself, and concurrently the importation of millions of Muslims into the West. No one has the balls to say that in the mainstream. So we will continue talking about property rights and religious freedom.

    • bobmurphy says:

      I would have the testicles to say that, if I thought it were true.

      So by your last statement, are you admitting that the “right” thing to do is ignore property rights? (I’m not trying to trap you, I’m genuinely trying to understand why “talking about property rights” is, in your mind, a distraction.)

      • Contemplationist says:


        I don’t know if its a “distraction” in the proper sense. In a sense, its a cover. Of course the libertarians and liberals are right about property rights and religious freedom.

        About the wisdom of building it there, I’m with the Republicans on this. But anyway that too is incomplete and a dodge.
        Americans are fearful and scornful of ISLAM, proper. Not “terrorism”. They see (rightfully) the level of violence, oppression, medievalist barbarism around the world wherever Muslims rule and use their heuristics. Of course this will also condemn them to be labeled various nasty things by our present establishment.

        So thats the ‘distraction’ – not talking about the UNDERLYING palpable fear, disgust and distaste of ISLAM proper, as its out of bounds of “respectable” conversation.

      • Contemplationist says:

        sorry i didnt answer specifically about property rights in libertarian context – yes i believe the mosque should absolutely NOT be curtailed by zoning etc etc. But i believe there shud be no zoning period absent voluntary ones established by Coasian bargains.

        The REAL underlying problem is Muslim immigration.

    • Jeremy Sapienza says:

      Islam is stupid and so is your religion. Christians have and do kill for their beliefs, and currently I think the score card for Christians aka the US Military is beating teh scary islams by orders of magnitude. You wouldn’t even notice if they put a cross on top of the new WTC, partly because I suspect you never go to NYC, the city in which I live.

      • Gene Callahan says:

        Ah yeah, although every single civilization that has ever existed in the world has had a religious basis, Jeremy happens to know that they are all “stupid.”

        In the face of massively willful ignorance, there is no response.

        • bobmurphy says:

          Why is this “williful ignorance,” as opposed to “supreme hubris”? Jeremy wasn’t saying, “Every religion is stupid, and that’s why most societies don’t have religious people.”

  2. Hermonta Godwin says:



    Seriously? Stewart clip is what you get when one drinks a little too much libertarian ideology and not enough history and research.

    • Knox Harrington says:


      So your response to religious bigotry is the tit for tat? Muslims discriminate and in order to show them how wrong they are Christians get to discriminate in turn? Whatever happened to turn the other cheek? Voluntary conversion over inquisition? You seem to champion the persecution of Muslims because they (purportedly) are persecuting others. I say purportedly, not because I don’t think there is persecution in predominantly Muslim countries, but I read the American Thinker piece and I found it incredibly over the top. For example, I know personally of Christian missionaries in Morocco sponsored by a church in Missouri so I tend to take the hyperbole with a grain of salt.

      Having said all that the Stewart piece was brilliant in the parts dealing with guilt by association and the overreaction of Americans to things which they could not have stopped. As to what is driving Muslims to persecute Christians and Jews I think you could probably get a straight answer in about three seconds on any street in Gaza, Baghdad or beyond. They don’t hate us for our freedom – they hate us because we open a wound and keep poking it with a stick. That is the Muslim “street” in answer. The religious “fanatics” who killed the likes of Theo van Gogh are the equivalent of abortion clinic bombers in the US. They don’t indicate the sentiment or support of the vast majority of those holding similar religious beliefs.

      With all that the world would be better off if religious worldviews were seen as a quaint anachronism rather than something to justify whatever actions you undertake to soothe your troubled soul.

      • Hermonta Godwin says:

        The post above is not about bigotry. It is about what is clearly and openly known about the history etc of this “religion of peace”.

        Everyone discriminates, the question is after that has occurred, then what?

        Islam’s history (also the reading of its sacred texts) shows that Islam did not turn violent because others were messing in their affairs, instead it was violent from the word, Go. Since this is true, why do you believe that if we ignore it, it will somehow turn peaceful?

        Lastly, the secular worldviews have shed the same amount if not more blood than worldviews that believe in a god of some sort.

        • Matt Flipago says:

          So that period over a millennium where Christians lived under Muslim rule, and were respected more then most Christian rulers, and lived in relative peace is completley ignored. Now i understand. Although I still can’t figure out why only now Christians are massively fleeing their homelands, considering they are still too poor to afford transportation.

        • Knox Harrington says:

          The really ironic thing in your statements – and particularly with the Cordoba House – is that Muslims, the capital of the Muslims in Spain was Cordoba and hence the name chosen by Rauf who is the FBI sensitivity trainer BTW, treated Jews and Christians with near complete tolerance and when the Christians took over the Muslims and Jews were treated to the Inquisition (“what a show!” – for the Mel Brooks fans).

          Because one has a “secular worldview” doesn’t mean that one must embrace Stalinism or Maoism. I am an anarchist and think that any coercive organization is unjust by definition. I find the rhetorical “trick” of trying to blame atheists for the crimes of communism – common among Christians – as a way to get out of their shameful history by saying “See, those atheists did it too – and worse!” – that kind of moral equivalency is not one you should embrace, for obvious reasons.

          Your post is about bigotry, sorry you don’t see that. Christianity is a “religion of peace” except for all the non-peaceful stuff Christians acting in the name of Christ are guilty of. That argument against Islam doesn’t get you very far. As to the Koran being violent I won’t pretend to speak to that as I haven’t, and will not, take the time to read it. I don’t know why allowing them to build on their own property is “ignoring it.” The US government is bankrupting the nation by fighting two wars – I hardly think that is ignoring it. Quit listening to these idiotic right wingers who are hiding the ball. They want to divert your attention from the real issues by focusing on these tangential non-issues like building a mosque at Ground Zero. At the end of the day my children are not going to be coerced into supporting this mosque – they are, however, going to be forced to pay the tab of fighting two stupid and pointless wars.

          • NOTAL says:

            Knox, let me use your own argument against you.

            Because one has a “Christian worldview” doesn’t mean that one must embrace American Imperialism or the Inquisition or the Crusades. I am an anarchist and think that any coercive organization is unjust by definition. I find the rhetorical “trick” of trying to blame Christians for the crimes of theocracies as a way to get out of their shameful history by saying “See, those Christians did it too – and worse!” – that kind of moral equivalency is not one you should embrace, for obvious reasons.

          • Knox Harrington says:


            Unfortunately, I never made that argument. Hermonta made the initial shot across the bow about “secular worldviews” being responsible for more bloodshed than religious ones. In fact, here is the quote:

            “the secular worldviews have shed the same amount if not more blood than worldviews that believe in a god of some sort.”

            I was just pointing out the danger – which I think you recognize – in painting everyone who believes a certain thing or idea – i.e., atheists, Christians, Muslims, etc. – as believing all the evil things done by someone who claims to believe the same thing. In Hermonta’s example atheist is equivalent to Mao, Stalin, etc.

            I don’t embrace that moral equivalency argument and I think evil can be quantified as evil regardless ot the rationale – whether it be religious or secular. That is the problem – by allowing whomever to disregard evil acts committed in the name of their chosen idea by pointing to the greater evil of someone opposed to their idea they can dissemble. Atheism does not equal collectivism. Muslim cultural center does not equal terrorist command post. Catholic inquisition in Spain does not equal priests molesting children worldwide – sorry couldn’t resist.

          • NOTAL says:

            You are right, you didn’t make that argument (although I thought you were hinting at it by mentioning the Inquisition).

            In my experience it is often the atheist who makes the first collective condemnation of Christianity based on evil historical acts done in the name of Christ. When I use the “look at what Maoists/Communists/(Nazis?) did in the name of atheism” argument, I am trying to make the same point you did: Evil is done in the name of every group, but that does not mean that everyone in that group does evil or supports the evil that is done.

            It’s equally wrong to blame all atheists, all Christians, or all Muslims for the crimes of a few done in the name of a religion/worldview.

          • Knox Harrington says:


            I couldn’t link my comment to yours in order but what you said is extremely well-taken – and well-said for that matter.

            I don’t think it is reasonable to blamed “collectivities” for evil actions done by individuals. For example, it is spurious to blame Americans for actions of the American government just as it is spurious to blame the Catholic Church for the actions of priests. The Pope may have sought to actively cover-up pedophilia which is a moral evil done by the individual Pope and, again, not “the Church.” When it gets down to it blaming Muslims for the actions of certain radical individuals is like condemning Christians for the moronic actions of that Baptist church whose name escapes me that pickets soldiers funerals or for the claims of Pat Robertson who says that 9/11 was a response by God to our liberal acceptance of homosexuality. I know you get the point so I won’t belabor it more here.

  3. HayeksHeroes says:

    We should allow show “religious tolerance” and let the mosque be built if we can get reciprocal tolerance from the other side.

    1. All Fatwas against artists around the world are rescinded.
    2. Israel and Palestine sign a peace agreement
    3. A Church is built in Saudia Arabia
    4. The top Imams condemn radical Islam.
    5. Christian and Jews and other religious groups are shown tolerance in Islamic countries.

    • bobmurphy says:

      Do you hold the same view on tariffs?

      • ChristianTrader says:

        I think HayeksHeroes point is that it is not about tolerance or healing divisions. It is instead about domination and control. He is simply saying, if one is truly acting in the spirit of tolerance, let us see some proof.

        If it is not about tolerance, then why should it be allowed to be built?

        • Jeremy Sapienza says:

          Well, for one, I’m not aware of the people behind Cordoba House themselves being the ruling regime in any one of the Muslim-majority countries of the entire plant Earth. In fact, in Pakistan, their kind (Sufis) are routinely attacked by the very same kind of extremists who attacked the WTC and the Pentagon. That’s just a handful of refutations I could offer even given your extremely narrow view of this issue.

          It should be “allowed” because we are in an advanced civilization and it is not up to us to allow or disallow such things. If you want to live like a religious barbarian move to Yemen.

    • Jeremy Sapienza says:

      As I pointed out below, this is a backwards view of Muslims and an ignorant view of this specific group, which has specifically satisfied your #4 point here (though of course you could simply say they are not “top,” but then, of course, what’s the big deal if they want to build a Muslim YMCA if they’re not important?). Demanding that Americans act reciprocally with the barbarism of Saudi Arabia sickens me. I do not want to live under the type of regime you prefer.

    • Matt Flipago says:

      I for one think civilians shouldn’t be held accountable for the actions of their rulers. Especially those who fled those very governments. Once you start holding citizens accountable for the actions of their rulers, especially rulers they did not chose, you claim all Americans are accountable for the atrocities in the Middle East and the rest of the world, making radical Islam, and Islamic Terrorist reasonable people. After all you don’t support terrorist I assume.

    • Michael J. Green says:

      …Umm, I believe the Imam in charge of the community center, Feisul Abdul Rauf, has met your qualifications (at least the few he is able to meet). Or are all Muslims supposed to agree before an Islamic community center can be built in NYC? Does this include both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims?

      And funny you mention Saudi Arabia, considering there are US military bases which many Muslims consider to be sullying sacred ground.

  4. bobmurphy says:

    BTW from my post and comments above, it might look like I am, say, taking a David R. Henderson, this-is-so-ridiculous approach. Not necessarily; I think it’s a bit weird that the pro-mosque people are saying it’s supposed to heal divisions, when of course that’s not what it’s doing.

    But the Fox stuff, and HayeksHeroes remarks, don’t seem like good objections to the mosque, in my book.

    • Contemplationist says:

      Yeah Fox is ridiculous. But you need to learn about Islam. Its the exact opposite of the Christianity you seem to profess. For the record i’m an atheist but not an idiot who claims all religions are the same.
      You should start with Jihadwatch

      That documents all the violence, and barbarism carried out everyday under the name of Islam.

  5. topcat says:

    What’s the point?

    Stewart quotes different people saying different things, selected over time to “prove” a point. This could as easily be used to argue that there is no party line on Fox.

    Try to remember that traditional American sensibilities are important too.

    You seem to be very naive on Islam.

    • bobmurphy says:

      You don’t think that Laura Ingraham clip is cringeworthy? Fox is like a little kids’ soccer game; they just run around and follow the issues in a big stampede. (Of course Rachel Maddow et al. do the same, on the opposite side.) Instead of nets on either side of the field, one of the goals is “Republican federal government” and the other is “Democratic federal government.”

      • ChristianTrader says:

        It would be cringeworthy if you have another clip of her later on saying, the mosque is the worst thing ever (without explaining or admitting a change of mind). As it stand, I think she is just wrong.

        The rest of your comment about Fox may be true, but Stewart’s clip does not prove it.

        • bobmurphy says:

          I don’t have her saying those exact words, but watch this clip from about 2:00 onward.

          And c’mon, was this really in doubt? Do you actually think Laura Ingraham on her show in the last month or so has been saying, “No folks, call me crazy, but back in December of 2009 I said the mosque was a great idea, and I stand by that.” ?

    • Jeremy Sapienza says:

      Islam is not an organization, it is an extremely diverse religion with over a billion adherents, the vast, VAST majority of whom never commit acts of violence. So, I’d actually say it’s you who are naive about what “Islamic” means.

      • Contemplationist says:

        It is not “an extremely diverse religion.” Infact it may be the LEAST diverse major religion of all. Let’s not get into essentialism debates. The following heirarchy holds:

        1) Whats in the Qur’an.
        2) Whats in the Hadith’s (Sayings and doings of Muhammad)
        3) Sharia law evolved and interpreted by Muslim scholars by reference to 1) and 2)
        4) What Muslims actually believe.

        In the above, 1) has many violent passages but is ambiguous but is also exhortative in tone and not descriptive (as the Bible..as in Job did x,y,z as opposed to DO WHAT JOB DID)

        The content of 3) based on 1) and 2) is EXTREMELY UNIFORM in 99% of followers – Sunni or Shia.

        Please, for goodness sake stop repeating cliches.

  6. Ash says:

    Hey Bob, I think it’s time for a new mascot/slogan for your blog


  7. Woodrow says:

    The problem with the Islam-baiting above is that it leads to conclusions very different than what the Islam-baiters endorse.

    If Islam is really so dangerous, the remedy is not telling them to build their mosques on the north side of Manhattan instead of the south side. At best, this sort of petty harassment has no effect. At worst, it makes the Muslims more irritable.

    Instead, if Islam is really so terrible, the only viable remedies are (1) expulsion or (2) extermination (as in gas chambers etc.)

    Do the Islam-baiters really want to go there?

    • bobmurphy says:

      Right. That’s what’s so absurd about the Fox News take (and yes I’m sure there are subtle nuances between the various people on Fox). If they really think this is going to be HQ for the next attack, sending funds to Iran and vice versa in order to build a suitcase nuke, then the “hallowed ground” has nothing to do with it. And moving it two blocks isn’t going to make it fine and dandy.

    • Contemplationist says:

      How about 1 third option: Stopping all further Muslim immigration?

      Oh, i’m sorry you weren’t looking for a sensible discussion just Nazi-baiting. ‘

      • bobmurphy says:

        So the danger of the mosque is just from newly immigrating Muslims?

        • Contemplationist says:


          There is no “danger” from the mosque. Thats hyperbolic bullshit. I do agree that its insensitive and basically a big FU to America. But thats fine, as a libertarian I have no desire to interfere with that using the hand of the state.

          I was describing the feelings UNDERNEATH – that Islam is a menace and does not belong in American society that most a majority of Americans probably have (a negative view of Islam at least). This can’t openly be stated due to PC strictures, hence people are going after VISIBLE SYMBOLS of Islam. Not just in America but across Europe.

          To actually solve THAT problem would not require barbaric neo-con bloodthirstiness but simple separation – a divorce if you will from the Muslim world – stopping all Muslim immigration.

          Sorry if that wasn’t clear

  8. Gringo says:


    Have you ever tested your IQ? I am curious. Your logic is so penetrating that I am beginning to have inferiority complex the more I come here.

    • bobmurphy says:

      I tried it once, but they couldn’t give me a result. And then nobody else wanted to test me after what happened to this guy.

  9. NOTAL says:

    Stewart’s follow-up clip here is even more damning of FOX news.

    Face-palm FOX

  10. Wrenn says:

    It’s not a mosque, it’s not at Ground Zero. What is being built at Ground Zero are 6 high rise office/commercial space high rises, a 2 story underground shopping mall (the largest in Manhattan) a performing arts center, and underground museum and a memorial in and around the footprints of the twin towers.

    No one’s complained about the shopping center. These plans have been easily findable online since 2002-2003. Everything except the performing arts center (they haven’t started on it yet) is currently being built .

    But you can’t built a community center run by muslims 2 blocks away. For a community that has been in the area since before 911, some since before the WTC was originally built.

    If you don’t LIVE in lower Manhattan, it is none of your business, and you really have no say. Your opinion doesn’t matter.

    Manhattanites can’t tell you what you build in your towns, right? Why should you have the ability to tell th em what they can build in their city?

    (full disclosure, I live in the Bronx.)