ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing August 19, 2010, on The Huffington Post.
By embracing the mosque at Ground Zero, President Obama made it his own. And as his own, it will be an albatross around his neck. At a glittering White House dinner marking the end of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, Mr. Obama made a strong appeal for religious liberty and tolerance.
Religious liberty for whom? Is there one region in the world — even one — with a Muslim majority where religious liberty is enjoyed by anyone? Right after 9/11, Michigan political science professor Muktedar Khan confronted his fellow Muslims. He said they all knew that the U.S. was the best country in the world in which to practice Islam. If they doubted that, he challenged his fellow believers to accept his offer of a one-way air fare to the Muslim-majority country of their choice. He got no takers.
Religious liberty in California? When 5,836,072 Californians voted — including millions of Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons and Lutherans — to uphold marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman, President Obama opposed them. He did not think they should express their religious convictions in this way. When a single federal judge overruled those millions of voters, President Obama did not step forward to defend religion and democracy.
Religious liberty for Jews? When American Jews showed their deep concern over the right of Jews in East Jerusalem to build apartment houses for their fellow Jews, Obama stiff-armed their concerns. He did not call it a “local issue.” He jumped into the controversy against the Jews building homes for Jews in a Jewish state.
Religious liberty for Catholics? President Obama’s administration received urgent appeals from the nation’s Catholic Bishops. Please, they said, pass national health care but don’t force us to subsidize abortion, don’t force Catholic practitioners to compromise their consciences. Did President Obama yield an inch to the Bishops? Not one.
Religious liberty for Evangelicals? When the Hastings Law Center kicked the Evangelical Christian Legal Society off campus at Berkeley, California, did President Obama stand up for those Evangelicals’ religious liberty? Did he support their freedom of association? Not at all.
What we see in this administration is the most selective defense of religious liberty in our history. Only Muslims’ religious liberty is being protected. Only their beliefs are respected by President Obama.
What about the deeply held convictions of tens of millions of Americans? President Obama claims to understand the “feelings” of Americans who have suffered “trauma” as the result of 9/11.
There you have it: Muslims have religious principles and beliefs which we are all called upon to respect. But the rest of us have only emotions, feelings. We are, in short, not being reasonable.
Professor Obama appears to be ever-so-reasonable. He constantly looks for ways to lecture us about our constitutional obligations.
Justice Robert Jackson did not agree. The Constitution, Justice Jackson famously wrote, is not a suicide pact. Apparently, Mr. Obama thinks it is.
To allow a mosque within spitting distance of Ground Zero is to allow a triumphal arch for our jihadist enemies. It will be a recruiting poster for jihadists worldwide.
Imam Rauf is not the “moderate” Muslim he pretends to be. Even now, as he tours the Mideast on a junket paid for by our State Department, he is seeking funds for his Ground Zero mosque from some of the same sources that have incubated jihadism.
Imam Rauf has named the 13-story, $100 million Islamic “cultural center” he wants to build Cordoba House. That should be a hint. Cordoba was the capital of Moorish Spain. For seven hundred years, Spanish Christians lived under the Muslim yoke. For seven centuries they were mere dhimmis, lacking all religious, civil, and economic rights. Could we have a clearer indication of what Imam Rauf wants here?
Do we want sharia law here? That’s the law they have in Saudi Arabia. If Imam Rauf succeeds in his life quest, Americans will lose every liberty — starting with our religious liberty.
No, Americans have every right to object strenuously to using religious liberty as a cloak to destroy religious liberty. No, they do not have a right to build their Cordoba House near Ground Zero.
Every candidate for the House and Senate, every candidate for state and local office, should be required to take a stand on this critical issue. If you are willing to bring Cordoba House to Ground Zero, there is no place in America that is safe from sharia law.