The right wing and the Republican establishment have done with this story what they have done with thousands of stories before it. Their appeal is to conservative-minded, generally Christian, generally white Americans. A threat is depicted as coming from some group that is either non-Christian, non-white or, in the worst-case scenario, neither Christian nor white. What is being threatened exactly? Follow their explanations and reasoning down the rabbit hole and you'll pass through a fairy-tale version of America as they imagine it was in the 1950s or earlier. Follow a little further, and I think what you finally arrive at, what they feel is being threatened, is white protestant privilege. The funny thing is, they're right. They--the right-wing, the GOP establishment, and the folks they appeal to--long for an America that is less pluralistic and less democratic, like it used to be in those "good old days" that they're kinda vague about. They either want you to be just like them, or they want to be able to look down on you. But they're fighting against the current of American history and losing. And that's part of why they're so angry and confused.
There is no good reason why the government should step in and stop the construction of the Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center. Does anyone on the right seriously think there is? Or is this entirely a ploy to peg Democrats to a feared brown-skinned 'other' while wrapping the GOP in the flag? For how many blocks from Ground Zero should certain religions be prohibited? If we're going to call the whole area, for blocks around, "hallowed ground," do we demolish the strip clubs, sex shops, bars, liquor stores, banks, and pizza shops? Or how about the mosque that's already in the area, or the Hare Krishna facility, or the Buddhist center? Who gets to be the one to decide what is and is not allowed inside the hallowed-ground zone? Are there any other First Amendment protections we should suspend inside the zone, or should we just suspend freedom of religion, or just Islam?
This whole issue is utter nonsense, and the Right should pay a heavy political price for it. The president should do more than say he supports Muslims' freedom of religion; he should blast Republicans for such cynical and dishonest tactics. Progressive groups should do the same, and they are to some extent. The problem is that the rebuttal and retort need to have the same punch that "Mosque To Be Built At Ground Zero" does. If you can think of that bumper sticker-type comeback, let me know.