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Ethical Controversy: Islam Center in Manhattan

One of the central themes of the BSA's Venturing program is to empower youth and young adults in reasoned, ethical thinking. One tool for this is the Ethical Controversy. An ethical controversy considers an issue where there are two fundamentally different ways of viewing a situation. Each individual attempts to explore as fully as possible one side of the issue, much like one would in preparing for a debate. However, unlike a debate, the goal is not to argue against the opposing side and "win" the argument. Rather, it is to ensure that both sides are as fully explored as possible.

This fall, our Venturing crew has chosen to explore the Ethical Controversy of the Park51, the Islamic community center proposed to be constructed a few blocks away from the site of the World Trade Center and Ground Zero of September 11. This controversy, at the very least, pits the ideas of religious tolerance and freedom of religion with the realities of painful feelings of victims of a…