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Religious Freedom vs. Theocratic Dictatorships

August 15, 2010

Glenn Greenwald, typically a fierce critic of President Obama’s policies affecting civil liberties, rightly commends the president for his politically risky reminder that the United States is a country committed to religious freedom for everyone–Muslims included. Obama has since clarified his statement by noting that he was not commenting on the prudence of building a mosque and community center near Ground Zero, but his initial point remains. As I’ve written before, those who wish to practice their religion tomorrow would be ill advised to deny or limit the religious freedom of others today, fearing that the other’s religion looks poised to increase its sway within society. It does no good to diminish or remove another person’s freedom of religion fearing that the other will someday diminish or remove our own. We all share the same religious freedom–a freedom meant to protect the minority against the majority.

While media attention has focused on the proposed building near Ground Zero, we’ve seen protests against proposed mosques across the country. I’ve read comments ranging from an assertion that Muslims have the right to practice their religion in their own countries, but not in ours, to expressed concerns that Sharia law might one day supersede our civil laws. I agree with John Henry that the former is a very marginal view. The latter is more common and understandable, given events in other countries, though I don’t see that the demographics here warrant so strong a concern. Besides, building mosques doesn’t establish Sharia law, even if the builders wish to impose Sharia law using the coercive power of the state. We as a society can therefore welcome Muslims and their places of worship while also insisting that we remain now and always a country hospitable to people of all faiths and none. We should encourage respect for religious pluralism. By refusing to give Muslims their rights to assembly and worship, even in one instance, we encourage the denial of religious freedom for those we perceive as a threat. We do to them precisely what we fear they will do to us. That’s hardly a prudent course of action.

The wish to politicize religious laws isn’t spoken just by some Muslims, though. Michael Voris of RealCatholic TV has a new interestingly-timed video out in which he argues for a “benevolent dictatorship” ruled by a virtuous Catholic monarch. How Voris thinks we could possibly achieve his ideal political system he doesn’t say. I suppose he speculates that when democracy fails in a suicidal fall (like a vortex?), which he thinks is sure to happen unless worthy Catholics are the only ones allowed to vote, his shining wielder of absolute power will rise from the ashes of the cataclysm, bible and catechism in hand. Maybe Voris can be his Karl Rove. He’s already proven himself quite the apologist of power. Anyhow, I’m grateful that Voris’ political theology isn’t shared by most Catholics. I’ll take religious liberty, thank you.

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39 Comments
  1. Joe Hargrave permalink
    August 15, 2010 8:52 pm

    ” As I’ve written before, those who wish to practice their religion tomorrow would be ill advised to deny or limit the religious freedom of others today, fearing that the other’s religion looks poised to increase its sway within society.”

    When those “others” don’t acknowledge or appreciate the good will and expectation of reciprocity inherent in your benevolence and tolerance, what good does it do?

    Have you considered that it is possible that those who wish to enjoy their religious freedom tomorrow would do well to limit and contain those who have never, and show no indication of ever, respecting religious freedom once they are in power?

    If Islam undergoes a “re-Hellenization” as this interview suggests could occur, then I’ll reconsider my skepticism and caution towards Islam:

    http://www.insidecatholic.com/feature/when-islam-abandoned-reason-a-conversation-with-robert-r-reilly.html

    Until then, I will keep the historical experiences of my ancestors, the Maronite Lebanese, at the front of my mind, as well as the more recent developments in many European cities. And if this is offensive, “fascist”, and whatnot, well I suppose I’ll just have to live with that. Avoiding unpleasant labels is less important to me than expressing concerns that I think are legitimate and rooted in fact.

  2. Kyle R. Cupp permalink
    August 15, 2010 9:01 pm

    I don’t think it’s necessary to limit religious freedom in order to protect our society from religious tyranny. I don’t have a problem with creating safeguards against the implementation of Sharia, biblical, or any other religious law within our political system. Obviously I believe it’s legitimate to be concerned about threats to religious liberty. I just don’t think diminishing religious liberty is the right way to respond to those threats.

  3. Joe Hargrave permalink
    August 15, 2010 9:13 pm

    For the record, I reject the idea of Catholic monarchy in the United States as well. I certainly don’t agree with Voris, if that’s really what he is arguing for.

    But as I said back at TAC – insisting upon a mosque at this location is neither wise nor prudent. The argument, “I’m doing this because I can” isn’t reasonable, and sounds more like the glee of a sociopath who has found a loophole in the law.

    If the goal here is to foster understanding and tolerance between the two religions, then these particular Muslims have failed miserably. This is not a one-way street. Respect doesn’t exist if it isn’t mutual. And the back-up chorus of American liberals who snicker, sneer, and rant about those who have a genuine problem with this venture aren’t helping matters either.

    Please understand that I do not place you in that group.

  4. digbydolben permalink
    August 15, 2010 10:15 pm

    I’m not sure that this is–or ever has been–the right country for a Maronite Christian who has any affinity whatsoever for a “benevolent Christian monarchy.” Please harken to what John Adams wrote into the Treaty with Tripoli of 1797, which–as a treaty ratified by the U.S.Senate–has the force of Constitutional precedent:

    “As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion–as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquillity of Musselmen, and as the said states never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    There are almost as many different varieties of Islam as there are of Christianity, and some of the varieties of Christianity have been just as fanatical and intolerant as certain varieties of Islam.

    There are some sects of Christianity that have, historically, favoured subversion against and attacks upon states which “established” other confessions. The support given by the hierarchies of these sects–and, of course I’m speaking of the Counter-Reformation papacy–have been used as justification for persecution and suppression of those sects. One would think that Catholics, especially–even “Maronite Catholics”–should attempt to learn something from the barbarities committed against Roman Catholics in the British Isles, on EXACTLY the same “basis” as these calls for suspicion of Muslims.

    One would ALSO expect Catholics to realize that, in each Abrahamic religion, there have historically been provisions for public acts of penance. I cannot conceive of why CATHOLICS shouldn’t be willing to give these Muslims the benefit of the doubt–until proven wrong, with ringing triumphalist cries from the muezzins of the mosque–and assume that this is an attempt to make REPARATION for what was done by their co-religionists, in the NAME of what al-Qaeda falsely calls “Islam.”

    After all, if there ARE such insults to public sensibilites, some kind of “zoning regulation” could be used to CLOSE DOWN the mosque as not being a true “mosque” at all. Meanwhile, however, it would behoove the yahoos who can’t seem to understand the AMERICAN idea of “separation of church and state” to close their mouths and take a gander at what these vile mouthings of zenophobia are causing to appear in the foreign press; their words are being repeated WORLDWIDE, and they must be encouraging Osama Bin Laden, and further endangering the lives of our servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  5. shane permalink
    August 15, 2010 11:51 pm

    Pius XI, Dilectissima nobis (03/06/1933); Encyclical on the oppression of the Church in the Spanish Republic

    3. Nor can it be believed that Our words are inspired by sentiments of aversion to the new [republican] form of government or other purely political changes which recently have transpired in Spain. Universally known is the fact that the Catholic Church is never bound to one form of government more than to another, provided the Divine rights of God and of Christian consciences are safe. She does not find any difficulty in adapting herself to various civil institutions, be they monarchic or republican, aristocratic or democratic. Speaking only of recent facts, evident proof of this lies in the numerous Concordats and agreements concluded in later years, and in the diplomatic relations the Holy See has established with different States in which, following the Great War, monarchic governments were succeeded by republican forms. Nor have these new republics ever had to suffer in their institutions and just aspirations toward national grandeur and welfare through their friendly relations with the Holy See, or through their disposition, in a spirit of reciprocal confidence, to conclude conventions on subjects relating to Church and State, in conformity with changed conditions and times. Nay, We can with certainty affirm that from these trustful understandings with the Church the States themselves have derived remarkable advantages, since it is known no more effective dyké can be opposed to an inundation of social disorders than the Church, which is the greatest educator of the people and always knows how to unite, in fecund agreement, the principle of legitimate liberty with that of authority, the exigencies of justice with welfare and peace.

    4. The Government of the new Republic could not be ignorant of all this. Nay, it knew well Our good disposition, and that of the Spanish Episcopate, to concur in maintaining order and social tranquillity. With Us was in harmony the immense multitude not only of the clergy both secular and regular, but likewise of the Catholic laity, or, rather, the great majority of the Spanish people, who, notwithstanding their personal opinions and provocations and vexations by adversaries of the Church, kept themselves aloof from acts of violence and reprisals, in tranquil subjection to the constituted [republican] power, without having to resort to disorder and much less to civil war.

  6. shane permalink
    August 15, 2010 11:56 pm

    Leo XIII, Au milieu des sollicitudes (16/02/1892); Encyclical on Church and State in France

    14. Various political governments have succeeded one another in France during the last century, each having its own distinctive form: the Empire, the Monarchy, and the Republic. By giving one’s self up to abstractions, one could at length conclude which is the best of these forms, considered in themselves; and in all truth it may be affirmed that each of them is good, provided it lead straight to its end – that is to say, to the common good for which social authority is constituted; and finally, it may be added that, from a relative point of view, such and such a form of government may be preferable because of being better adapted to the character and customs of such or such a nation. In this order of speculative ideas, Catholics, like all other citizens, are free to prefer one form of government to another precisely because no one of these social forms is, in itself, opposed to the principles of sound reason nor to the maxims of Christian doctrine. What amply justifies the wisdom of the Church is that in her relations with political powers she makes abstraction of the forms which differentiate them and treats with them concerning the great religious interests of nations, knowing that hers is the duty to undertake their tutelage above all other interests. Our preceding Encyclicals have already exposed these principles, but it was nevertheless necessary to recall them for the development of the subject which occupies us to-day.

    [...]19. Consequently, when new governments representing this immutable power are constituted, their acceptance is not only permissible but even obligatory, being imposed by the need of the social good which has made and which upholds them. This is all the more imperative because an insurrection stirs up hatred among citizens, provokes civil war, and may throw a nation into chaos and anarchy, and this great duty of respect and dependence will endure as long as the exigencies of the common good shall demand it, since this good is, after God, the first sand last law in society.

    20. Thus the wisdom of the Church explains itself in the maintenance of her relations with the numerous governments which have succeeded one another in France in less than a century, each change causing violent shocks. Such a line of conduct would be the surest and most salutary for all Frenchmen in their civil relations with the republic, which is the actual government of their nation. Far be it from them to encourage the political dissensions which divide them; all their efforts should be combined to preserve and elevate the moral greatness of their native land.

    21. But a difficulty presents itself. “This Republic,” it is said, “is animated by such anti Christian sentiments that honest men, Catholics particularly, could not conscientiously accept it.” This, more than anything else, has given rise to dissensions, and in fact aggravated them…. These regrettable differences would have been avoided if the very considerable distinction between constituted power and legislation had been carefully kept in view. In so much does legislation differ from political power and its form, that under a system of government most excellent in form legislation could be detestable; while quite the opposite under a regime most imperfect in form, might be found excellent legislation. It were an easy task to prove this truth, history in hand, but what would be the use? All are convinced of it. And who, better than the Church, is in position to know it – she who has striven to maintain habitual relations with all political governments? Assuredly she, better than any other power, could tell the consolation or sorrow occasioned her by the laws of the various governments by which nations have been ruled from the Roman Empire down to the present.

  7. August 16, 2010 12:03 am

    Strange as it may sound, I may be closer to Voris on this one. I’ll try to write-in this week to explain more…

  8. Kyle R. Cupp permalink
    August 16, 2010 7:59 am

    Looking forward to it, Sam.

  9. August 16, 2010 9:09 am

    I have had this premonition that the doctrine of religious liberty has little to do with actual Catholicism. In other words, I don’t care what “Dignitatis Humanae” says, the Church isn’t in the business of awarding abstract political rights, even if it is trying to found them on some newfangled theological anthropology. Case in point: the Church’s stance against gay marriage, or its defense of marriage in general. In many countries still, Catholics are fighting more liberal divorce laws. But what if my religion allows and even commends divorce in certain circumstances, like Judaism and Islam? What if I belong to a religion, like Islam and fundamentalist Mormonism, that allows for polygamy. Or what if I belong to a religion that allows homosexual marriage? Arguably, no one is getting hurt here except for the parties involved, sort of like the Hialeah case against the santeros sacrificing goats in their services. What is the basis of religious liberty in those sticky cases where people aren’t hurting others but are doing things that we might find morally objectionable, like marrying girls off at fourteen?

    We can argue “natural law” arguments until we are blue in the face, but the last fifty years in this country have proven that “natural law” isn’t so “natural” after all, or at least not so obvious. We still have people who think that marrying between the races is “unnatural”.If you ask me, even if just on a rhetorical level, the Church’s rhetoric about “rights” is just the old Constantinianism continued by other means.

    On Voris, I have to say, he’s crazy, but at least he’s honest. If there is anything that “liberals” and “conservative” ideologues share in the context of a democratic republic, it is the utter disdain for the stupidity of the people come election time, and the inability of the democratic herd to vote according to “their values”. It’s like playing dice, really. You get all psyched up to roll a hard six, but you get snake eyes every time. Now you know why I gave up on politics. Being a Trotskyist screaming at people on a picket line greatly tries your confidence in the possibility of collective action amongst modern people.

  10. Kurt permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:21 am

    If the goal here is to foster understanding and tolerance between the two religions, then these particular Muslims have failed miserably. This is not a one-way street. Respect doesn’t exist if it isn’t mutual.

    I need to call foul on the above statement. Joe speaks to fostering “understanding and tolerance between the two religions” and suggests it has failed because of the discontent from the other side.

    Well, I do not surrender the right to speak for “the other party” –. i.e. the Christian religion — to the opponents of the renovation of the mosque in lower Manhattan. I’m a Christian and I find among many of the opponenets bigotry rather than an expression of Christianity. I am joined in my support of the Mosque renovations by my church’s local presence, the Archdiocese of New York. In fact, I am not aware of one official of my Church who has taken up the cause of opposing the renovations.

    If the parties in question here are Islam and Christianity, there is no feud.

    However one might describe the mosque opponents, they in no way have the right to claim for themselves the mantle of speaking for Christianity.

  11. David Nickol permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:50 am

    Sam,

    I will be interested to hear your defense of this:

    Voris:The only way to prevent a democracy from committing suicide is to limit the vote to faithful Catholics. Only a true Catholic nation, in fact, will survive — can survive — because only truly Catholic people will be the ones looking at God and not staring in the mirror. When they cast their votes, they cast them with an eye to what God desires, not fallen human nature.

    Who gets to decide who the “faithful” Catholics are?

  12. August 16, 2010 12:00 pm

    The Voris piece is really funny, in part because when he’s busy deriding “rights” he conveniently omits the all holy “right” to bear arms; and also because “low taxes” makes a surprising appearence in the video where one would least expect it. It just so happens that “looking at God” equates in principle to signing on to the Republican party’s positions in toto.

  13. shane permalink
    August 16, 2010 12:27 pm

    What really strikes me about these videos is the parochial Americanism of it all. Obviously Mr Voris is trying to triangulate an authentically Catholic social vision – and while he’s to be commended for that – he ends up looking like a parody reactionary.

    There’s so much focus on upward mobility in America that workers lack the same class consciousness found in Europe. Any video purporting to explain Catholic social teaching without delving into issues of class isn’t worth the effort. Given that this is a traditionalist network it might be worth mentioning that just before the Second Vatican Council a disaffected proleteriat was one of the main concerns of the Church in Europe. In France the problem accelerated to the point of desperation : the Vatican gave authorization to ‘worker priest’ apostolates (a failed experiment) where priests would undertake manual labour in factories to help re-connect the Church with the alienated working class.

    The main focus of European Catholic political activity since the Catholic Action movements has been its attempts to ‘baptize’ the liberal democratic order inaugurated by the French Revolution (to make it as authentically Catholic as possible) and propose an alternative social vision to Marxism that would still have the capacity to appeal to the working class. The Christian Democrat parties of post-war Europe guaranteed extensive, if not lavish, social provision. Voris shows very little appreciation of Christian Democracy or the works of people like Maritain or Robert Schumann. I can’t see how proposing a return to the pre-1798 order is going to appeal to the working class and it may well drive them into socialism.

    I support a confessional Catholic state but I don’t see that as being irreconcilable with democracy. Pre-60s Malta, Quebec, Ireland etc furnish examples

  14. phosphorious permalink
    August 16, 2010 12:45 pm

    Jow Hargrave:

    When those “others” don’t acknowledge or appreciate the good will and expectation of reciprocity inherent in your benevolence and tolerance, what good does it do?

    Benevolence and tolerance are intrinsically good, regardless of their effect on the recipient.

  15. Pinky permalink
    August 16, 2010 2:41 pm

    Exactly, Phosphorius. The same as in the last article on the subject, the argument is basically consequentialist.

  16. August 16, 2010 5:01 pm

    I am not an expert on Catholic theology by any means nor on politics left or right – but my take on the Mosque is this: the Muslims have a legal right to build a Mosque near ground Zero – but it is in bad taste to do so….and the fact that those who wish to build it in this location seem to be insensitive to the opposition’s thoughts on the matter is well…troubling…
    In the end I pray I am wrong and that the Mosque will represent a healing statement of mutual respect to Americans and the world but as of now I am not convinced.

  17. phosphorious permalink
    August 16, 2010 7:30 pm

    How is this mosque in bad taste?

    Can any opponent of this mosque tell me if it is Sunni or Shia?

    That’s the difference between Catholic and Protestant. . . and you’re not claiming that the Catholic church is on the hook for any wrongdoing by a protestant church, or vice versa.

    Are you?

  18. phosphorious permalink
    August 16, 2010 7:34 pm

    Pinky,

    “Exactly, Phosphorius. The same as in the last article on the subject, the argument is basically consequentialist.”

    No the problem with the arguments against the mosque is that they are hysterical. A mosque at this site does NOT mean “victory for the terrorists,” or “the advent of Sharia law in the USA,” or any of the other nonsense that has been floated by conservatives.

    As for the “feelings” of the families of survivors, for one thing, not all of them are against it, and for another, I don’t see how their feelings weigh more than the preservation of religious freedom.

  19. August 16, 2010 10:47 pm

    Recall that Benedict’s frequent call for religous freedom (most famously at Regensburg) is that religious freedom is grounded in reason. I don’t see much reason in “I can’t build a Church in Mecca, so those bastards are not getting a mosque here… and they’re murdering terrorists anyway”.

  20. August 17, 2010 1:13 am

    Phosphorious: “How is this mosque in bad taste?”

    Rubbing salt in a wound comes to mind…..and though these folks who want to build their Mosque at this site may not have any hand in the terrible event of 9/11 it does seem somewhat impolitic to build on this location….they have to a legal right to do it – I don’t dispute that…I happen to think its heavy handed and not very sensitive to the community….but that’s just my opinion which doesn’t count for much and in the long run its up to the individuals involved to make the best of the situation…and I hope that is exactly what happens…

    • August 17, 2010 2:34 am

      Melinda:

      1) the community is not outraged about it, people outside of it are
      2) the victims of 9-11 are not outraged about it (though they have been mocked and abused by Americans like Rush when they said they didn’t want war in their name)
      3) the mosque would also be for victims of 9-11

  21. August 17, 2010 7:56 am

    Melinda,

    You may not be aware of the following items:

    1. The “mosque” in question is in fact a community center, named Park51, which has a prayer space able to fit around 40 people, which will be open to all.

    2. Park 51 is NOT located at “Ground Zero” but is actually two blocks away, and is not even visible from the WTC site.

    3. The owner of Park51 has a long history in the community, and has worked with law enforcement post 9-11 to combat militant islam.

    Knowing these facts, which are widely available, do you still think this is in bad taste?

  22. digbydolben permalink
    August 17, 2010 12:44 pm

    I did not realize, until I read William Dalrymple’s column in The New York Times this morning that the proposed “mosque” is actually a Sufi centre.

    This changes EVERYTHING, as far as I’m concerned, and I now believe that the community centre MUST be built:

    http://publius-aelius.livejournal.com/677208.html

  23. Bruce in Kansas permalink
    August 17, 2010 1:08 pm

    When we refer to “the victims of 9/11″ it is prudent to recognize this is more than a single, like-minded group. There are those killed, those who survived, the families of those groups, and the intended audience (citizens of the US). These groups of victims have very different opinions.

  24. phosphorious permalink
    August 17, 2010 2:18 pm

    “1) the community is not outraged about it, people outside of it are”

    This can’t be emphasized enough. A communtiy board has approved the building, as has the mayor.

    Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich disapprove. Well, the next time they’re in Manhattan, they can stay above 23rd street. Problem solved.

  25. August 17, 2010 5:38 pm

    A Sufi Center??? Why wasn’t this mentioned in any of the reams of copy on this story….that puts a bit of a different spin on it…Well happy day build away….

  26. August 17, 2010 7:11 pm

    Yes thanks WJ – No I did not know these facts but it definitely puts the center in a different light…So hopefully this will be a positive step towards understanding then…

  27. phosphorious permalink
    August 17, 2010 7:26 pm

    I’m not sure why its being Sufist should make a difference. The rationale for opposing the building was “A muslim is a muslim.”

    They’re all the same and all equally culpable for 9/11.

  28. Kurt permalink
    August 17, 2010 8:44 pm

    Why wasn’t this mentioned in any of the reams…

    Why ruin a good auto-de-fe by introducing facts?

  29. August 18, 2010 2:16 am

    phosphorius:”I’m not sure why its being Sufist should make a difference. The rationale for opposing the building was “A muslim is a muslim.”

    They’re all the same and all equally culpable for 9/11.”

    what utter hateful rubbish …!!! It most certainly does make a difference and “they” are NOT all equally culpable…the Sufi are traditionally outsiders to orthodox Muslim communities and have always stood for peace rather than violence..they could potentially be a voice for reconciliation and understanding in our increasingly polarized world…

  30. phosphorious permalink
    August 18, 2010 12:44 pm

    Melinda T.

    I was merely paraphrasing the standard conservative argument. And My paraphrase is accurate. The opposition to the mosque only makes sense if you believe that ALL muslims are terrorists, that any random mosque is a “symbol of terror.”

    Don’t tell me about the Sufi’s. . . I supported the mosque without knowing what kind of muslims they were. Religious freedom and all.

    Your mission now is to persuade other conservatives that there are muslims who “have always stood for peace.” I recommend you start with Sarah Palin.

    Good luck.

  31. August 18, 2010 4:30 pm

    ahh I see you put all conservatives into one bag of tricks so to speak – how typical – it may interest you to know that not all conservatives believe lock step in one platform – I am not a Sarah Palin supporter..so convincing her of anything isn’t something I would do even on an especially “conservative” day..LOL…
    The debate over the NYC ground Zero Mosque is not a debate about religious freedom – many cities and towns can prohibit certain types of buildings for various reasons – NYC has pronounced it legal for the Mosque to be built and so it will be built – the argument(at least from my point of view) has been over the prudence and intentions of the Mosque builders…the fact that they are Sufi puts my mind at ease…if they were a terrorist supporting group my support would be withdrawn – to support Muslims who are identified in any way with this philosophy under the umbrella of allowing religious freedom would be stupid in the extreme…

  32. digbydolben permalink
    August 18, 2010 4:49 pm

    Phosphorius, Sufi literature is EVERYWHERE; it’s in every Barnes and Nobles, every Borders, every damned bookstore in America! The leading translator of the most famous Sufi poet, Jalalud’Din Rumi, is a poet from GEORGIA, U.S.A. This certainly DOES make a difference!

    Are you saying that no “conservatives” in America read BOOKS?!

  33. phosphorious permalink
    August 18, 2010 5:26 pm

    …if they were a terrorist supporting group my support would be withdrawn – to support Muslims who are identified in any way with this philosophy under the umbrella of allowing religious freedom would be stupid in the extreme…

    And this is my problem: did anyone, conservative or liberal, democrat or republican, New Yorker or “Real” American, actually think that the community board and the Mayor approved a terrorist run Mosque?

    Seriously? People thought there was an even or better chance that Bloomberg okayed the deal without checking to see if the mosque has ties to terrorism?

    That’s not mere stupidity. That’s a desire to believe the absolute worst of your political enemies.

    Also, Melinda. . . it doesn’t really matter if you are a “follower” of Sarah Palin or not. She is perhaps the most prominent opponent of the mosque, because she is unaware of its Sufist pedigree. If you now think the mosque is a good idea, then she is exactly the kind of person you will want to persuade.

  34. phosphorious permalink
    August 18, 2010 5:27 pm

    Are you saying that no “conservatives” in America read BOOKS?!

    I take it your objective was to leave me speechless.

    Well played, sir. Well played.

  35. August 18, 2010 6:07 pm

    Phosphorius, you have much more “faith” in our political representatives than I, my friend – because yes I think politicians are subject to knee jerk reactions without taking proper precautions – as regards to the Mosque I think our politicians are motivated by their public image – bending over to embrace their Islamic constituency without putting much thought into the negative consequences should their judgment be faulty…40 years of observing American political life has taught me this….It is occasionally from folks like yourself that I may learn facts not revealed by the media and so I study many points of view and critique on the internet…

  36. phosphorious permalink
    August 18, 2010 6:41 pm

    Melinda,

    “– bending over to embrace their Islamic constituency without putting much thought into the negative consequences should their judgment be faulty…”

    So you assumed that this episode was just the latest in a long line of cases where muslims were given preferential treatment?

    Your first reaction was “there go those muslims, getting everything their own way?”

    Seriously?

  37. August 18, 2010 8:57 pm

    Please don’t put words in my mouth – the fault is with our representatives who pander to what they assume is their constituency – it is not the fault of the Muslims – sorry but you don’t get a pass on your deliberate attempt to denigrate my view – I’m now done with this thread – see ya:)

  38. phosphorious permalink
    August 19, 2010 12:18 am

    Please don’t put words in my mouth – the fault is with our representatives who pander to what they assume is their constituency – it is not the fault of the Muslims –

    You didn’t blame muslims (nor did I say that you did). But you did claim that this mosque kerfuffle was caused by politicians pandering to muslims.

    But the only reason we are talking about the mosque (sorry, the only reason I am talking about the mosque; you’ve moved on) is that politicans were attempting to deprive muslims of the rights that every other American enjoys.

    In no way has anyone in this situation pandered to the muslim constituency. But the insane Americo-christian demographic has been well pandered to. . . and they may yet get what they want:

    The suspension of religious freedom for muslims.

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