Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17, 2010

     Congratulations, Mr. President!  You got it exactly right.  Of course, a day later, you got it all wrong, so I'm not sure where that leaves us.  All in a week's work, I guess.
     The issue, of course, was the proposal to build a mosque and Islamic Center two blocks north of ground zero in Manhattan.  In getting it right, the President recalled the First Amendment to the Constitution:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." 
Which means, I think, that a religious group can build a temple, mosque, church, whatever anywhere they choose as long as they afford the land and the
construction costs.
     But a day later, he backed off.  "I was not commenting and will not comment, on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there."  Aw shucks, Mr. P.--just when I was feeling hopeful about you.  Others of course were quick to comment.  What would we do without Newt Gingrich, who, according to Richard Cohen in the Washington Post, said it "would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum." 
Well, okay, Mr. Gingrich, I can live with that.  The sign would remind us of how easily evil can flourish in the world, of why World War II had to be fought and the Museum built.
     Cohen also quotes columnist Charles Krauthammer as saying it would be like building a convent outside
Auschwitz.  I can live with that too, but others couldn't.  Carmelite nuns took up residence there in 1984.  Their presence stirred up so much controversy that they were forced to leave.  I've been to Auschwitz and, coming out, you need to see something like a convent to remind you that goodness, too, exists here. 
     Anyway, I read somewhere that there's already a mosque in the neighborhood.  Why fuss about one

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