First Obama said this:
...as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable..
Then Obama's toadies started saying things like this:
Obama didn't just stand up for the legal right of the group to build the Islamic center. He voiced powerful support for their moral right to do so as well, casting it as central to American identity. ... Obama went much further than [to acknowledge the legal rights of the project's backers]. He asserted that we must "welcome" and "respect" those of other faiths, suggesting that the group behind the center deserves the same, and said flat out that anything less is un-American.
But just when the professional left thought they had something to cheer about, Obama "clarified" his stance with this:
I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding.
We really didn’t need Obama to tell us that we have freedom of religion in this country. If a message of religious freedom was the essence of what Obama meant to communicate on Friday, his statement was entirely superfluous. We Americans will cherish and defend our First Amendment rights whether or not Obama chooses to acknowledge or to “believe” in them.
Does anyone seriously believe that religious freedom will have been abrogated when the fight over the GZ mosque is finally settled? I, for one, know of no one who wants to violate the Bill of Rights with their opposition to the GZ mosque.
Bottom line: The conflict over the GZ mosque is NOT a fight over religious freedom. The dispute over the GZ mosque is a fight about abuses of that freedom. It’s a high-stakes debate about a group that claims that it wants to foster forgiveness and reconciliation, but has chosen to do so with an irresponsible, self-defeating approach that has alienated 70% of the country.
Put this in perspective. When someone like Fred Phelps shows up to disrupt and desecrate a solemn memorial, do we mark the occasion with a cheer for First Amendment rights? No, if we have a shred of decency, we recoil in disgust when we observe that kind of behavior.
Obama could have chosen to point out how stupidly the Cordoba House supporters are acting. Alternatively, he could have quietly ignored their antics. Instead, he chose to go off on a tangent about the importance of our First Amendment rights. If that’s really what Obama thinks this Ground Zero debate is about, then I submit that Obama has all of the sophistication and leadership skills of a third grader.
Cross-posted at Left Coast Rebel