* Some restrictions may apply. Not valid for muslims within a two-block radius of specific construction sites.
Oh no! The president has stated matter-of-factly that our constitution means more than the paranoid ramblings of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and everyone else who thinks that allowing a muslim community center to be built (and really, do they need our permission?) is tantamount to treason.
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And 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. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable."
Really, in a sane society this would be about the most non-controversial thing a president could say. And all of you "strict constructionists" out there may want to stop and think how you feel about this. But, as much as a non-issue this should be, the people on the news seem to have another thing that they can milk for ratings. Controversy!
"Will this be an issue for Obama and the Democrats in the fall?" Crikey, I hope so. Let's have them point out just how bigoted and non-strict-constructionist the knuckleheads on the right are being here. Can we please please please have this debate with the tea party people who are soooo in love with our constitution? I'd love to see them attempt to defend their position on constitutional grounds. That'd make a fine and tasty pretzel, I'm sure.
Listen, people. There is nothing remotely controversial about saying we should follow the law and let private citizens build a legal building on a site that they own. And do not bring up the sensitivity thing. It shouldn't come into play. That's not a legal argument. If we need to be sensitive then should we knock down the existing mosque (not community center, like this new "controversial" thing, but an actual mosque) that sits just four blocks from the "sacred ground"? And what should the sacred perimeter be? Ten blocks? Twenty? Slippery slope, anyone?