An Immodest Proposal for Ground Zero

August 26, 2010

Build the Center for Inquiry- New York on the site of the World Trade Center land instead of an Islamic Center.

No really, it makes sense.


CFI represents many of the Enlightenment ideas that formed this country in the 18 th century, namely: an informed populace, the open discussion of ideas, secular government, and inalienable rights held by individuals, to name a few. Religious fundamentalists may not support those notions, but what better way to make a statement to the world that we’re still behind the ideas that made us great in the first place than to erect a CFI building there?

We (Inquirers) rise above the historical fighting among the world’s holy zealots and so side with neither dog in this fight. With neither a church nor a mosque on the site, no one can gloat and fan centuries-old flames even further.

Secularists had no hand in fomenting the fundamentalist Islamic fervor that convinced the terrorists that flying planes into buildings would please Allah. Secularists also had no hand in the historical “Let’s bring Jesus to the unwashed” attitude that may have threatened Middle East Muslims in the first place. Our record in the Muslim-Christian feud is clean. We are neither Montague nor Capulet.

As secular humanists, we don’t have to worry about the political correctness or the Constitutionality of whether or not to build a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple at Ground Zero. All those buildings would all be near the bottom of our desired list of buildings to erect anywhere . I don’t have to think twice about whether I’m being fair to Muslims vs. Christians, because my answer is the same to a Southern Baptist Chapel as it is to a Scientology Center: Better something else.

There are over a 1000 billionaires in the world according to Forbes . Maybe one of them can clear the air and solve this Islamic Center issue by buying a piece of Ground Zero and funding the new CFI- New York .

Wouldn’t it feel right to occupy that space with an organization that promotes the idea that we can rise above the animosity that caused it to be available in the first place?

James Underdown
Executive Director
Center for Inquiry- Los Angeles