Saturday, August 14, 2010

Religious Freedom I Still Believe In

I may not be getting all the results I wanted out of the Obama Administration, but this one's big. Despite polling that suggests a majority of Americans would prefer emotional reactions to a controversey manufactured by national Republican leaders for political gain, the President of the United States shows up in a big way to defend religious freedom in America.

And contrary to all the talk from politicians more invested in winning elections than protecting the foundational civil liberties of our Union, this issue is only about religious freedom and legitimate property rights.

Rarely has there been such a clear-cut national issue demonstrating the difference between what is right, Constitutionally and morally speaking, and what is wrong-headed surrender to spur-of-the-moment emotionalism.

Thomas Jefferson helped put the code into our nation's DNA thusly:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.

- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Written 1777, Enacted 1786



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6 comments:

DADvocate said...

Too bad he doesn't believe in a lot of the other freedms and values Jefferson held dear.

Dante said...

What "result" did you get here exactly? You got someone who has absolutely nothing to do with new York City zoning taking a side in a New York City zoning issue. How is this talk any different than any other politician's talk geared towards winning elections? Not only does Obama have zero to do with the situation, but he waits until weeks after the initial uproar to take his side. If this was so clear cut, why the delay? If you really want to know where this Chosen One narrative comes from, it comes in part from the utter praise Obama gets for being just like every other politician on this earth. It's worth it politically for him to oppose this Mosque so that's exactly what he's going to do.

patsbrother said...

What the duece? Over at politico and on other sites, articles depict people of all spectrums having gone insane over this, with Democrats specifically mad at the president.

People need to calm down.

Of all the crazy things the president has said in the past year and a half, this ain't one of them. I don't understand the hubbub of the president of America saying: we have religious liberty.

As seemed clear to me during the dinner speech, and made clearer the next day, he was not talking about the wisdom of the Cordoba House group's decision to build at the site they have chosen, but about their right to do so.

That should not be controversial.

The only controversial issue here is the group's decision of where to exercise their rights. With its location and its banner date as the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the group has obviously chosen to make a statement of some kind.

Others have taken offense at what they believe that statement to be, and are exercising their rights by letting their opinion on it known.

To me, the only open question I have seen during this entire mess was not whether the group could build on the site but whether they should build it there. And I don't have a dog in that fight, as I can see reasons for and against it.

But the president's statements weren't on that. Unless I missed that part of the speech, he didn't wade into that issue, and his statement the next day tells me he did not. I am confounded as to why this is a big deal.

While I certainly do not make a point of highlighting every time I agree with an otherwise unenlightening statement someone makes, when someone gets so much flak for making it, perhaps I should.

So, on this: Geauxbama.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

How is this talk any different than any other politician's talk geared towards winning elections?

Because the country, from New York to Tennessee to California, is now dealing with several issues of anti-Islamic hysteria. Those issues are manufactured crises, and someone in high office needs to rightly push back against the nonsense.

The disgusting nonsense that has dominated the airwaves for quite sometime. I do not fault the President for A) either thinking this nonsense would have gone away by now or B) waiting until the Ramadan dinner to make this statement. This has become more than the tempest in a teapot where it started.

And let us not pretend it is in any way politically expedient for an individual already accused of being a secret alien Islamic plant to come down on the side of the politically and emotionally unpopular idea.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I don't understand the hubbub of the president of America saying: we have religious liberty.

I thought I had explained this in numerous posts before now: the "hubbub" is a specifically divisive and manufactured controversey designed to enflame religious and xenophobic tensions in this nation. It was marketed specifically to create an emotional response because in our current national atmosphere, emotion trumps intellect and reason.

The only controversial issue here is the group's decision of where to exercise their rights.... the group has obviously chosen to make a statement of some kind.

Riiight. None of that would be controversial if national Republican and Tea Party figures had not turned either of those decisions into fundraising marketing strategies.

And I don't have a dog in that fight, as I can see reasons for and against it.

You do have a dog in that fight if you respect foundational religious liberty, legitimate property rights, desire to see more real policy and less demagougery from the people who "lead" this nation, and the progress-resistant emotional reactionism of the American population.

As to the rhetorical equivocation, I have yet to hear any or sensible rational "reason" against replacing a Burlington Coat Factory building with a Community Center in lower Manhattan. We are a nation of laws, not of emotions.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Too bad he doesn't believe in a lot of the other freedms and values Jefferson held dear.

We could say that about so many politicians these days...

But Jefferson was also fairly complex: a champion of personal liberty who owned slaves, a framer of the Constitution who went ahead with the Constitutionally dubious Louisiana Purchase.

Tax policy and health care are negotiable, for good or ill. Religious freedom is one of the fundamentals, no pun intended.