The American Center for Law and Justice, Pat Robertson’s blunt-weapon answer to the American Civil Liberties Union, headed by the creepy and ubiquitous Jay Sekulow, is not just about preserving antiquated social mores anymore. Long enforcers and defenders of “traditional values” like women baring all the kids God gives them and carrying slippers to their husbands at the end of the day or teachers instructing students on creationism in public schools, the ACLJ has proven to be on the “old ways” side of anywhere government and religion intersect. Now, they’ve apparently got a penchant for old buildings too.
After the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the demolition of a building near Ground Zero to make way for a Muslim religious center*, the ACLJ vowed to file suit against the ruling, as Rob Boston reports, because they want to preserve the building:
In a press release, Sekulow calls the building, which dates to the 1850s, “historic and hallowed” and claims that his group’s opposition is “not based upon fear, hostility or prejudice, but rather the unique architectural and historical characteristics of the building and the public’s interest in preserving the history of the September 11th events.”
But in fact, the public has shown little interest in preserving the building. It was severely damaged during the attack and sat empty until its purchase in 2009. The building was not especially iconic before the attack: It housed a Burlington Coat Factory store.
*Much has been made of conservatives’ successful efforts to rebrand the proposed Muslim religious center as a “mosque,” the objective being to use the scary term to generate opposition to it. While calling the proposed facility what it is — a Muslim religious center — we’re being accurate. Still, mosque should not be a dirty word and battling with opponents over what to call Cordoba House is really just another distraction (like the building cited to be demolished) from the primary issue: religious intolerance and Islamophobia.