As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And 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. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.And the next day, speaking to reporters:
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. That's what our country is about.For comparison purposes, Mike Huckabee's comments at about the same time:
Even if the Muslims have the right to build it, don’t they do more to serve the public interest by exercising the responsible judgment to not build it, given that it’s really offensive to most New Yorkers and Americans?Which brings me (finally!) to my point - we must acknowledge that there is a distinct difference between the RIGHT to build this project and the WISDOM of doing so... and stop acting like the best thing we could do to stop this unwise project is limit religious freedom because it makes us angry, uncomfortable and/or offended. That kind of manipulation of our laws will end biting us (evangelicals!) in the hindquarters someday. Hey, if President Obama & Mike Huckabee can both do this, why can't we?! Just Because You Have the Right To Do Something Doesn't Make It Wise (Part 2)... I hope it goes without saying that burning the holy book of another religion is an act of abject unchristlike stupidity.
- Want a Biblical book-burning buddy? How about King Jehoiakim burning Jeremiah's prophecies?
- Want a historical book-burning buddy? How about the Nazis?
- Indonesia - 202,867,000
- Pakistan - 174,082,000
- India - 160,945,000
- Bangladesh - 145,312,000
- Egypt - 78,513,000
- Nigeria - 78,056,000
There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia . The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.I understand the appeal of this argument - why doesn't everyone play by the same rules? It's the same impulse that leads to church meetings with the little red book (not Mao - Robert's Rules of [dis]Order!), the replay challenge in NFL football & the griping/whining about soccer refereeing at the World Cup every four years. At the same time, applying this kind of argument means that we as Americans are lowering ourselves to the religious freedom standards of a nation that has a history of religious oppression & persecution (even of various Muslim sects which are not in favor with those in power). Worse yet, it borders on a nearly-racist correlation of Muslims & Arabs which is not supported by the actual population data. (Told you that list of countries would be important in a minute.) I would suggest that this "tit for tat" logic does not become a nation founded on the principles of religious freedom - what Newt (and others) are saying is "We won't give you religious freedom if you won't give it to us." It sounds more like petulant children pouting in a sandbox than it does people who wish to be devoted to the better angels of our nature. Permit me one final problem with the argument - asking any nation to permit the building of synagogues & churches assumes something about the religious makeup of the United States. We are not simply a nation of Jews & Christians... almost 18% of the U.S. claims a non-Judeo/Christian religion or lack of religious faith. In Closing, Some Questions For Followers of Christ
- Do our feelings of anger & grief at the tragic loss of life at the hands of terrorists outweigh our obligation to follow the Great Commission?
- Have we, in our quest to honor those killed by criminals, become criminally negligent in how we present the Gospel to the Arab world and to the worldwide Muslim community?
- Are we slamming doors of opportunity shut for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ by our politicized vitriol and grandstanding?