Monday, August 16, 2010

Cordoba House vs. St. Patrick's Cathedral

Once upon a time in New York City there was an immigrant group determined to show the powers-that-be that they were a force to be reckoned with.

No, I am not talking about Muslims and the Cordoba House project led by imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. I am talking about the Irish Catholics led by Archbishop John "Dagger" Hughes.

John Hughes was an immigrant gardener at the gardener and stonemason at Mount St. Mary’s College and seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Then, through the intercession of Mother Elizabeth Bayley Seton--canonized later as America’s first native-born saint--he went to the seminary, became a priest and the first Catholic Archbishop of New York. You can read his story here. In the 1850s Archbishop Hughes conceived of a project to build a new cathedral in New York City. Here's how William J. Stern wrote about it in City Journal.

As the 1850s wore on, the archbishop began to conceive a plan that would give magnificent, concrete expression to the rise of New York’s Catholics. He would build a great cathedral, financed by the Catholics themselves, as proof to the Protestant elites that the Irish, too, knew how to make New York the premier city of the world.

And he would build it right on Fifth Avenue, right where the Protestant swells and the Astors and the Vanderbilts lived and right where they could see it every day.

Fast forward to 2010 and the Cordoba House project. Imam Rauf, like Archbishop Hughes before him, wants to show to the world that Muslims are a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately the project is not right where the the dominant liberal swells couldn't miss it. It is right next to the hallowed ground of 9/11's Ground Zero.

The Cordoba Project might have made sense when the Twin Towers were standing, when they represented the cultural power of the United States. But not now, not after 9/11. The Cordoba project doesn't represent the ability of Muslims to contribute to the glory of New York City. It just shows the tone-deafness of America's elite Muslims.

There are other differences too. Back in the 1850s the rich New York Protestants clearly represented the cultural elite heart of New York City. But now the cultural elite is the educated progressive elite of liberals. Thus the Muslims are not an insurgent group of dirt-poor Irish laborers and "nymphs of the pave" desperately working their way up from famine and indigence. They are, on the contrary, the darlings of the liberals. Liberals are pontificating up and down the land about the "right" of the Muslims to put a mosque any where they want. (Do not spend too much time waiting around for liberals to assert the right of Christians to put a church anywhere they want.)

What we are seeing is liberal street theater with the usual rent-a-mob. Also, it appears, Cordoba House is not getting funding from dirt-poor Muslim cab-drivers in Manhattan but from rich Saudi and Kuwaiti princes. Next thing we'll learn that George Soros is a contributor!

In the 21st century, if you want to prove you have hair on your chest, it's absurd to come into the public square as a liberal darling. You need to be a real grass-roots movement that must overcome every day with the scorn of the liberals. You know, like the Tea Party.

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