President Obama spoke out in support of the proposed Ground Zero Mosque Friday night at a White House dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
“This is America,” Obama declared, “and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our founders must endure.”
But he missed the point, or at least he did not acknowledge it. The people’s call to stop the Ground Zero Mosque is not directed at the government; it’s directed at the American Muslim community.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) responded to Obama’s remarks: “It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero. While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque, they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much.”
The mosque would be just part of a $100 million Islamic center to be built two blocks from where nearly 3,000 people perished when hijacked jetliners in the name of Islam slammed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
Tolerance has been the buzz word in America for some time now. Our children are taught to “tolerate” those different from them, which basically means they are to keep their opinions and beliefs to themselves. Now hear the subtle shift in language from our current President last night:
“Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect to those who are different from us – a way of life that stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.”
Obama attempted to persuade Americans that the best way to honor the “hallowed ground” where the twin towers once stood was to demonstrate respect for “those who are different from us”. “Us” who? Since we don’t see religion as defining who is an American anymore than we would consider race a defining factor, then who is Obama referring to as those who are “different from us” – non -Americans? Or is he referring to the Islamic extremists of 9/11? Is Obama calling for us to not only tolerate these radicals, but “respect” them as a “stark contrast” to their lack of respect for us?
I don’t get it. Neither do the 200,000 people so far who have responded to an AOL News poll: 88% give Obama’s stance a thumbs down, and 89% are “completely against” the building of the mosque at that location. A CNN/Opinion Research poll released this last week revealed that nearly 70 percent of Americans opposed the mosque, while just 29 percent approved. Just like the current Proposition 8 situation in California, more and more of those who reign from high perches don’t give a hoot about what the “little people” of America want or say.
This is an issue of compassion, not of constitutionality. Obama is right about one thing: it is an issue of respect, but not for those who are “different from us” Americans, but for us Americans. Let’s respect the wishes of our own people and promote harmony among us, rather than furthering discord.
“Live in harmony…do what is honorable…live peaceably with all.” -Romans 12:16-18