8/15/10

Obama's two-step 'round the mosque

OK ... so Obama has come out - at least before he changed his mind - rather forcefully in favor of building the mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.

Obama backs the mosque

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama told an intently listening crowd gathered at the White House Friday evening to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"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," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."

Everything he says is true. It is true insofar as government action is concerned in the mosque question. It is not true regarding the personal opinions and beliefs and viewpoints and legitimate counter-actions of non-government entities, including individuals, objecting to and trying to stop the mosque's construction.

We cannot allow the city government of New York to circumvent existing zoning laws so as to prevent the construction of the mosque.

We cannot allow the committee of old buildings maintenance or whatever it is, to designate the building question as some kind of 'landmark' as a pretext to prohibit the mosque's construction. The committee is a government entity.

It's quite simple.

But Obama wasn't very clear on that, was he. For a Constitutional scholar, he sure seemed to shoot from the hip on that one.

So we have this:

"President Obama is wrong," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. "It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero."

King is correct. Obama screwed the pooch, catering to, pandering to, his Muslim audience. So now he finds himself in the position of two-stepping on the mosque problem. He has backed off his original statement, and now says that while Muslims have the right to build their mosque, he doesn't think it's the right thing for them to do.

The Muslims do not have an inviolable right to build their mosque. They have the right to be free from government interference in the construction of their mosque. There is a big difference there, one which Obama seems to be missing.

The 68% of Americans who are incensed about the mosque's construction, and who don't want it there, are entitled to do everything they legitimately can to prevent its construction. If they can prevent its construction, good on them.

Obama has pandered to the Muslims, now he is trying to pander to everyone else. He can't have his cake and eat it too.