Right leaders driven to extremes in Ground Zero mosque debate

The Cordoba Initiative community center and Mosque proposed for Ground Zero is continuing to inflame the passions of right-wing leaders and to set them against Constitutional freedoms. A deep sense of outrage has lead to all kinds of elisions, where the mosque and Islam are melded with al Qaeda and the 9/11 terrorists but also with the all variety of aggressors and law breakers.

Republican thought leader Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post equated the Ground Zero mosque with putting up a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor. The comparison has been taken up widely in the blogosphere and it is revealing. The Ground Zero mosque is not a symbol of al Qaeda or anti-American theocratic politics, no matter what its detractors say. Many Americans who would oppose a Japanese national cultural center at Pearl Harbor would welcome a Shinto or Buddhist shrine. There is a difference.

This weekend, Erick Erickson at RedState took the anti-mosque argument one step further, writing that in supporting the right for Cordoba to build its mosque, President Obama by extension was offering support to religious expressions such as jihad and polygamy and satanic human sacrifice.

Barack Obama last night came out forcefully in favor of the Ground Zero Mosque. He said he believed our nation’s founding principles demanded it.

[…]

There is, in fact, a difference between the exertion of a legal right and supporting the use of a legal right that is offensive.

Under Barack Obama’s logic, the President of the United States now supports jihad apparently. After all, jihad is an Islamic teaching and our founding principles of freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof must compel Obama’s support for jihad.

Likewise, all those religious sects still practicing polygamy can go to town. After all, there is a more solid historic foundation for polygamy than gay marriage and if we can have one, surely our founding principles now compel we have the other.

Oh — what about the Greater First Church of Satan wanting to do human sacrifice of a willing victim? I guess our founding principles demand the President support that too. After all, it is a religious belief and only willing participants.

Republican politicians are now saying that, on the mosque matter, Obama is lecturing to Americans and not listening to them.

Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee John Cornyn said Obama was demonstrating that “Washington, the White House, the administration, the president himself seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America… people sense that they’re being lectured to, not listened to, and I think that’s the reason why a lot of people are very upset with Washington.”

What Cornyn might have said is that the president is refusing to cave in to misguided public opinion. Building a mosque at Ground Zero may be offensive to Erickson and millions of RedState readers but it is not illegal. It infringes on no one’s rights.

As Constitutional attorney Ted Olson told Fox News host Chris Wallace on the matter of gay marriage, we don’t put rights guaranteed by the Constitution up for a vote. Being offended is not grounds for denial of rights.

“If 7 million Californians decided we should have separate but equal schools or that we should send some of our citizens to separate drinking fountains or have them be at the back of the bus, that would be unconstitutional….

“We have a Bill of Rights and it is intended to protect us.”

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