Protesting for government prohibition of a community center containing a mosque in Manhattan, one woman declares that the presence of a mosque inside a community center would be “like a knife in our hearts”. She echoes the earlier weaponish sentiment of the erstwhile-something-or-other Sarah Palin, who insists that a mosque should be banned by government because “to build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart” (someone tell Palin there is no plan to build a mosque at Ground Zero). A third protester in favor of banning mosques holds a sign reading “A mosque at ground zero spits on the graves of 9/11 victims.”
Not one of these statements is literally true.
Mosques do not spit. They have no salivary glands.
The act of building a mosque does not stab anyone in the heart unless in the process some rebar goes flying astray.
The presence of a mosque inside a community center on Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York is not a knife.
Not one of these statements is literally true. They are figurative declarations using violent metaphors that stand in the place of a more awkward meaning:
“When I think about this mosque existing, my feelings hurt. Government must ban the mosque so my feelings won’t hurt any more.”
In America, there is no right to squelch constitutional freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, or freedom of religion in order to prevent hurt feelings. You don’t have the right to not feel bad inside. On the contrary, the First Amendment constitutional rights of free speech, free assembly and free religion expressly prohibit government from squelching expression in order to stop feelings from being hurt.
There’s a solution much more simple than banning mosques: If you don’t want to have your feelings hurt by the idea of mosques, stop obsessively thinking about mosques.