Consistency My Friends, Consistency

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You cannot read the paper or turn on the TV this past couple of weeks without hearing about the controversy brewing in lower Manhattan regarding plans to erect a Muslim community center/place of worship two blocks from the site of the fallen Twin Towers. I share the view of many of my fellow liberals that adherence to our American ideals of freedom of religion demands that the “Ground Zero Mosque”, as it has been called, be allowed to go forward.

However there is some consternation among my liberal friends concerning another exercise of First Amendment rights about to take place on August 28, in Washington, D.C. You see that date is sacred to a good number of people because on that day in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

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This year on August 28, gold coin huckster and Fox News carnival barker Glenn Beck will hold a gathering in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Beck will deliver a speech, supposedly updating King’s message for modern application. Also on hand will be former Alaska Governor and VP candidate Sarah Palin. Some liberals find this incredibly distasteful and while I haven’t heard anyone call for the event’s prohibition, there is considerable discontent regarding it.

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However, Princeton University Professor Melissa Harris Lacewell made a key point on MSNBC’s “Hardball” tonight. We cannot, on the one hand protect Muslim’s right to worship consistent with local law and zoning ordinances and in the next breath prevent Glenn Beck from airing his views in a public forum provided he has obtained the appropriate permits. To give the green light to Muslims but to block Beck because we find his message, and choice of venue and date offensive, makes us hypocrites, plain and simple. “Hardball” host, Chris Matthews seemed visibly irritated by Ms. Lacewell’s excellent analysis.

There is a simple bottom line folks. You either support the First Amendment or you don’t. One of the by products of living in a free democracy is hearing and seeing things that might disturb you. It’s the price you pay for getting the freedom to say things that might disturb others. It’s the American way.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

The Type Who Think Obama is Muslim

This cartoon by David Horsey nails the type of low-IQ fools who either believe President Obama is Muslim or are “not sure”.

Plot of Secret Muslim Obama

Wow I have to tell everyone!

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

The Real Losers in Election 2008: Muslims and Atheists

A near constant refrain of this year’s presidential election has been the persistent rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim. While many have protested the rumor, virtually no one besides Colin Powell, railed against the rumor for its anti-Muslim slant. Barack Obama is a Christian. But if he were a Muslim, so what? Most Muslims in this country are law abiding, patriotic Americans.

Now atheists, the “Godless” have come under fire in a way that echoes the Muslim smear. In North Carolina, Elizabeth Dole, in a desperate attempt to hold onto her Senate seat, approved the following underhanded ad:

The ad stoops so low as to include a voice over intended to be that of Democratic opponent Kay Hagan, an outright lie.

But perhaps the worse offense is that of Hagan’s response ad:

While you have to give Ms. Hagan credit for strongly denouncing Dole’s smear, the better response would have been “I happen to be a Christian, but what if I did not believe in God? So what? What does my religion have to do with job creation and fixing our economy?”

What has happened to our country that we have so softened the line between church and state? This election season has been plagued at every turn by religious litmus tests, whether it was Mike Huckabee’s pronounced faith, Mitt Romney’s defense of his Mormon beliefs, or Barack Obama’s constant need to remind voters of his Christian faith.

Faith has no place in our politics. If a candidate’s moral or political perspective is informed by his or her faith, that is fine but faith should in no way be a qualification for office. Dole’s ad was reprehensible for two reasons. First, it put words in Hagan’s mouth. Second, it attempted to apply a religious litmus test to Hagan. Instead of Hagan objecting to the litmus test, she objected to being characterized as an atheist. She missed the point.

This preoccupation we have with our political leaders being Christian is an insult to patriotic Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists and a host of other belief systems in this country. We have separation of church and state so that our citizens may freely practice the religion (or non-religion) of their choice. That freedom of worship is restricted if it carries the catch that you can’t pursue elected office if you belong to a non-Christian faith.

If we have learned anything from the 2008 political season, it should be that politics belongs in the state house and religion belongs in houses of worship. Period. End of story.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance