Man, is this ever mean, and stupid:

Plans for a cemetery for Muslims on the outskirts of a small North Texas town have sparked a backlash among some local residents who said they fear it will bring radical Islam and terrorism to their doorsteps.

The Islamic Association of Collin County purchased 34 acres to develop a cemetery in the sleepy burg of Farmersville because the closest Muslim burial ground is rapidly running out of space.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area already has three Muslim cemeteries, all developed and run for years without incident.

Residents in this town of 3,400 about 45 miles northeast of Dallas packed a community meeting on Tuesday night arranged by Farmersville city officials, who tried to convince locals there was nothing to fear and the planned religious burial ground will meet state standards.

Many were doubtful.

More, from a local NBC report:

“I don’t like your religion, and I don’t even classify it as a religion,” said one man who spoke at the meeting.

“Sometimes evil comes in sheep’s clothing, so that kind of bothers me,” a woman announced.

Awful. No one who read the things I wrote and reported about radical Islam in north Texas back when I was at the Dallas Morning News can plausibly accuse me of going soft on Muslim extremism, but this is knot-headed, cruel, and embarrassing. Denying people a place to bury their dead? Who does that? Seriously, what kind of person do you have to be to protest people trying to buy ground to have a place to commit their deceased loved ones to the earth in an honorable way? For shame.

Happily, the cemetery is planned for unincorporated land, so there’s almost certainly nothing the community can do to stop it. But what sad spectacle. “We hate you so much that we don’t even want you stinking up our land with the bodies of your dead.” That’s not quite fair to the opponents, who no doubt see the establishment of an Islamic cemetery as a sign that the Muslim community is here to stay, and that freaks them out. Well, they are. Many, probably most, of the Muslims who will be buried there will be American citizens. It is inhumane to try to keep them from having a cemetery. A cemetery! Honestly, what gets in to people sometimes…

UPDATE: Alan Cross points out that opinion is not at all uniform in Farmersville, and that people on the left who use this to say, “See, all those conservative Jesus Land Christians are haters” are simply wrong. Bart Barber, a Southern Baptist pastor in Farmersville, lets his congregation know why they ought not to stand against the proposed cemetery. Excerpt:

We are telling the government that we think they ought to choose between religions they like and religions they don’t like and then use city government to make life impossible for the religions they don’t like. And this is a particularly foolish time for us to be articulating that point of view so persuasively. We’re less than a month past a Supreme Court decision in which four justices warned us about serious threats to religious liberty that are coming our way. Tell me, please, how do you expect us to argue at the national level with a straight face that we believe in religious liberty for all people while at the local level we’re running the Moslems out of town on a rail? I’m spending all week this week studying and collaborating with the top lawyers in the United States in the field of religious liberty. We’re trying to figure out how to preserve for our children and grandchildren the freedom to follow Christ. Meanwhile, back home, Christians are going to City Hall seeking to become religious oppressors.

I tell you, my friends, whatever the city government does against an Islamic training center today, they’ll be doing it against Bible-believing, Bible-preaching churches in twenty years. Mark my words. And if you tell the City of Farmersville today that you want them to have and to exercise this sort of power, your objections on that day are going to ring pretty hollow.

As for me, I think the First Amendment is a pretty good thing. I’m in favor of Religious Liberty for all Americans. That means anywhere I can build a church, the Moslems can build a mosque. Anywhere I can put a Baptist campground (which is pretty much a Christian training center, and we have one on Lake Lavon already), Moslems can build an Islamic training center.

Otherwise, if I didn’t affirm that, I’d be saying, “I want religious liberty for ME, but not for anyone else.” Fair-minded judges are not going to be disposed favorably to that self-centered bit of doctrine. Like our spiritual and national forefathers did, we need to take a stand for EVERYONE’S religious liberty. Doing so will tell a watching world that we’re not just looking out for our own interests, but that we really do believe in the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty for all Americans.

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