First, it must be noted that this is an issue of property rights more than anything else. As a constitutionalist, I do not budge on this issue. A private developer/property owner has the right to do whatever he wishes with his property as long as it does not infringe on upon the rights of others. (Btw, there is no right to not be offended.) Therefore, it does not mater what the project is. Some say it is a mosque. Some say it is a cultural center. Some say it is both. What the project is should not matter. Rights should not be conditional.
Moreover, anyone weighing in on this issue should be careful to consider it from all possible perspectives. Imagine if this where a Christian project. Would you be just as offended? Would you be offended that others were offended? The point here is that we must be willing to defend the same rights for all, especially the unpopular.
I belong to an increasingly unpopular religion--conservative evangelical Christianity. My faith is already under attack by the politically correct crowd who want to legislate what can and cannot be said from the pulpit. When we start to pick winners and losers in religion, it is a slippery slope. A Muslim center may be stopped in New York City today, but a conservative Baptist church may be stopped in San Francisco in the future.
I have little problem with social influence affecting construction of this or any other project, but when we start talking legal action, that is where we should take issue. The way that our politicians in both parties have politicized this issue is unacceptable.
Whether the decision to go ahead with the center is tactful or not, there is no denying that those proposing construction have every right to go ahead with the construction and to use the building as they see fit. At this point it probably is in poor taste to go ahead with the project, but is also in poor taste to stand against it. If we are to take the high ground and be the land of the free, let's truly be the land of the free and protect the rights of all.
My personal opinion is best summed up by Young Americans For Liberty founder Jeff Frazee's facebook status a few days ago:
I wish Muslim leaders would choose to abandon their plans for the "ground zero mosque" just as a symbol of sensitivity and friendship with neighbors. I think it would go a long way in inter-religious relations within the US. But, I will defend their right to property if they unfortunately choose otherwise.