That silly mosque

In all the coverage I’ve seen on the proposed New York City mosque (and that’s virtually all that’s been covered lately it seems), what sticks out to me the most is the religious-fueled xenophobia. Worst of all, it can’t merely be chalked up to politics. Of course, the Republicans only care about the ‘issue’ for political reasons, but much of the country has bought straight into the political fear-mongering (a classic tool of Republican…well, tools).

The real issue here isn’t that Muslims are going to be allowed to build a place of worship. It’s that any religious group is being allowed to build a place that is tax-free. Aside from being plainly unconstitutional (despite its wide-spread and even welcomed acceptance), not taxing religions implies, perhaps outright says, that religion has something worthwhile to offer society. Given that religion is entirely impotent to inform us anything about the world (if not, then what has it ever said that was not trivial?), society would be better served taxing religious institutions and investing that money into education, infrastructure, and bringing people out of poverty.