This week's column:
"By the command of the sultan, the churches and fortifications of the Latin cities were demolished; a motive of avarice or fear still opened the holy sepulchre to some devout and defenceless pilgrims; and a mournful and solitary silence prevailed along the coast which had so long resounded with the WORLD’S DEBATE." – Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Thus the master historian recounts the Fall of Acre, a pivotal battle in the story of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. While crusading to the Holy Land ceased after Acre’s fall, crusading itself continued. And while Islam retained ascendancy in the Middle East, fighting between its adherents and Christendom proceeded for centuries. The world’s debate was far from over.
Two stories this summer have assured us that the debate rages still. First, there was the issue of the ground zero mosque. As the building was being erected two blocks from the twin towers, and whereas there were already mosques—to say nothing of strip clubs—within a two block radius of ground zero, the fervor seemed far and away over the top. To a libertarian, it’s simply a matter of property rights. The owners of the property should be fit to build as they choose.