‘Right’ vs. ‘Should’

Why is it that so many people cannot distinguish between a right, and doing what’s right?

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution clearly protects our freedom to worship and freedom to associate. Our founders and those before them came here to the New World in an attempt to eschew religion-based discrimination, and pointedly telling any group–Muslim or otherwise–where they can and cannot congregate absent a truly compelling government interest would be reminiscent of the behavior that drove the exodus from points abroad four hundred years ago.

Furthermore, to enjoin by act of law the Muslim group from constructing its “community center” in lower Manhattan would be improper.  Such an action could even be construed as an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment, though the fact that the regulation would not deprive the building site of all economically viable use would lean against such a determination.

Therefore, when President Barack Obama said on Friday that Muslims “have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country” and that they also have the right “to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan,” he’s absolutely right. Was Obama technically correct when he said that “our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable” and that “people of all faiths are welcome” and “will not be treated differently by their government” here in America?  Of course he was. Forget for a moment that this president has consistently shown himself to favor Islam at the expense of other faiths, that the statements were made at a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan, that he sent $900 million to Hamas in the wake of its terrorist attacks against Israel, or that this administration and others like it have rarely held respect for the notion of private property — standing alone, such a statement is absolutely, positively correct.

But that doesn’t make it right.

Three thousand Americans lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  Thousands more American families were directly affected by the terrorist attacks, and all of us felt it to one degree or another.  Everything changed on that bright, crystal clear Tuesday morning.  Barack Obama, as president of the United States, as chief executive for all Americans and not simply those still uninformed or embittered enough to vote in his favor, needs to understand that.  A better response to the question of whether or not he and his office supports the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan may surely have come from someone that a great many people do not feel is qualified to fill the office of the bumbling fool from Chicago.  Sarah Palin had this to say:

Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3,000 people?  Please tell us your position.  We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they? And, no, this is not above your pay grade. If those who wish to build this Ground Zero mosque are sincerely interested in encouraging positive “cross-cultural engagement” and dialogue to show a moderate and tolerant face of Islam, then why haven’t they recognized that the decision to build a mosque at this particular location is doing just the opposite? Mr. President, why aren’t you encouraging the mosque developers to accept Governor Paterson’s generous offer of assistance in finding a new location for the mosque on state land if they move it away from Ground Zero? Why haven’t they jumped at this offer? Why are they apparently so set on building a mosque steps from what you have described, in agreement with me, as “hallowed ground”?

This isn’t a matter of “right,” as much as it is a matter of “should.”  But President Obama has often found himself in political trouble when offering up his personal opinion.  The police officers in Cambridge, Massachusetts “acted stupidly.”  The people of western Pennsylvania do little more than “cling to their guns and their religion.”  Sometimes, it seems, people “at a certain point” have “made enough money.” So I can understand his reticence to explain his personal perspective.

In fact, a piece posted just this morning from Bloomberg shows that said reticence is 100 percent intentional.  From his family vacation along the Gulf Coast–where the president says that the water is safe but refuses to swim in it–the president reinforced the “right” but stated unequivocally that he would not comment on the “should.”

“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there,” Obama said yesterday in Panama City, Florida, during a trip with his family to the Gulf of Mexico. “I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That is what our country is about.”

The problem, however, is that without express explanation otherwise, we can only assume–and safely so–that this president stands in opposition to the will of the people he governs and hopes to rule.  As it stands now, 64 percent of Americans oppose the construction of the mosque, far more than the 43 percent who strongly disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance as a whole.  What reason should we have that President Obama’s personal opinion would fall otherwise with regard to this particular issue?

Despite having the right to do so, and aside from all questions of forensic accounting and inflammatory statements, the Muslim group should not build its mosque and community center in lower Manhattan.  Congressman Peter King calls it “insensitive” and “uncaring,” and maintains that the group is “needlessly offending” a great many people in New York City.  I agree.  And so should this president.

I understand that President Obama has made it so much a part of his mission to reach out to the Islamic community that he even has NASA on the job.  I understand that.  Instead, by not explaining otherwise, he finds himself standing firmly in favor of an act of defiance which will inevitably push deeper a wedge between Islam and the west, and will in the process spit in the face of those who lost their lives and those whose lives were changed forever on that crisp fall morning in 2001.

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Comments

  1. I feel like this president is just continually giving the American people the finger.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this boils down to a lawsuit and standing will be the detrimental.

    http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/08/14/will-the-prop-8-case-end-on-a-technicality/?test=latestnews

    The enemy within is my own precedence of law.

  3. Dee says:

    I heard a caller on a local talk radio show suggest that if they are allowed to build this mosque near Ground Zero that it would be interesting to see what would happen if someone built a “Hooters” restaurant on one side of it and a Pork Barbecue place on the other side and maybe a Frederick’s of Hollywood across the street. Would that be insensitive? Would they even be allowed to build next to the mosque? I’ll bet BO would be very upset at such a suggestion. I personally think he is a Muslim but like all other aspects of his life (grades, work history, etc) we will never know.

  4. I work in clay says:

    It would be our right to build a statue in the likeness of Muhammad, but it wouldn’t be right.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Preparing flyers with Muhammads likeness, and plastic statuettes of same to leave on windshields there along the new mosque. Yeh, Freedom of Speech. So similar to Freedom of Religion.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bet AFLAC won’t insure that place.

  7. Off to next vacation says:

    I think Obama ‘SHOULD’ resign. That would be so ‘RIGHT’.

  8. chuck harrison says:

    Jeff,

    It sure sounds like you are saying “lets forget about the Constitution because a recent poll shows that 64% oppose the building of a mosque”.

  9. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Glad you brought that up, Chuck. Because that’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m glad that he and others have acknowledged that the Muslim group has the right to build that mosque. But knowing the sensitivities surrounding the whole situation, it would be neither inappropriate nor unconstitutional for the president to urge them to reconsider.

    I have the right to do a whole lot of things that common decency should enjoin.

    Besides, that the building site is still economically viable, and that the government has offered to find another, more suitable location, really helps this matter when it comes to compliance with the constitution.

  10. nana3 says:

    Does one person’s ‘right’ supercede another’s right? In my opinion, the families and victims of 9/11 have the right to a peaceful site where all Americans can honor those who were lost there. It should not become a battleground because some insist on building an Islamic center there just because they have the ‘right’. They only have that right because they are in America…the victims had a right to live their lives without the fear that some would fly planes into their buildings but their rights didn’t matter. Those who are promoting this building know very well that it will inflame and antagonize most Americans and certainly the families of the victims. They could build the center at another location because as our President knows full well, there are mosques all over our country. How dare him insinuate that we are not ‘tolerant’ of all religions. Our tolerance allowed these murderers to be in our country and walk our streets and train at our flight schools and board our planes and destroy thousands of innocent people. Tolerance is one thing but stupidity is another. They don’t respect our laws and freedoms…they use them against us to push their religion down our throats. If our politicians had the interests of the American people in mind, this matter could have been resolved before now.

  11. Anonymous says:

    4:46, not to mention a bc.

  12. Sam says:

    nana for President 2012

  13. Anonymous says:

    4:17, finger, then a twist.

  14. Bob Upton says:

    Freedom of religion means we have a right to freely practice our respective faith within this great nation. It does not mean we have any right to build a mosque, temple, church or synagogue any place we choose to. Every community in America makes its planning desires known through the permitting processes. Many places of worship have been built in the part of town they were “allowed” to build in. If New York forbade the building of mosques within the city they would violate the First Amendment. Just because you have the “freedom of speech” does not mean there are places and times you don’t have to be quiet!
    “A Right” is indeed “A Right” however “right” is also “right”

  15. Tory says:

    Since politico-legal Sharia and Islam are conjoined…the orthodox practice of Islam is contingent on Sharia…why isn’t that issue being explored as a means of denying Islam the classification of a religion? Imam Feisal and the developers, as well, have a demonstrably firm trail of personal and financial associations that link them to terrorist groups, such as Hamas ( which has predictably endorsed Obama’s endorsement of the Ground Zero mosque, adding that the mosque “must be built”.) Obama was certainly, during the campaign, none too considerate of the “unshakeability” of religious freedom when his cabal of lawyers rabidly and systematically threatened to strip churches of their tax-exempt status for daring to mention the unsavory aspects of his character, past, and policies.

    For those familiar with Greg Gutfeld’s serious proposal to open a gay bar adjacent to the Ground Obscenity Mosque, he was chastised by mosque associates…”If you won’t consider the sensibilities of Muslims, you’re not going to build dialogue.” Confirming what we know…Islamic sensibilites always supersede those of every other group.

    Another facet to this is one that I find foreboding. Shortly after the mosque site (well… half of it; turns out Con Ed owns the other half)was purchased, along comes that infamous U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that ONLY mentions Islam, regarding a global prohibition on public defamation of religion. Again, Islam is the only religion mentioned in the resolution…”to take resolute action to prohibit the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement and religious hatred, hostility, or violence.” Now, hold that up against the debate over the 9/11 Victory mosque…the resolution was adopted by the 17 Islamic nations on the on the 47-nation Human Relations Council; bolstered by their alliance with China, Cuba, Russia and most of the African members means they can almost always achieve a majority.

    Why do I have the urge to listen to Creedance Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon on the Rise”?

  16. Boston Blackie says:

    anon 6:30
    Maybe not AFLAC but certainly Progressive since it is owned by George Soros, not that I think there is a construction worker out there that would work on this mosque.

    The most articulate commentary I heard against the bulding of this mosque was by Raheel Raza, a Canadian interfaith advocate. She was on the O’Reilly Factor on 8/9/10, If you check his achives you will be able to read her comments. She said muslims should be sensitive to our feelings as the Koran teaches.

  17. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Blackie — Raza wrote a great piece about it somewhere. I was going to include it here, but for some reason did not. Boooo.

  18. Boston Blackie Blackie says:

    To those who think this mosque is no big deal, read this link
    (full disclosure – Matt is a personal friend of mine). I think we all need to walk in the families’ shoes before we say it is no big deal.

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1275412

  19. nana3 says:

    Blackie…my heart goes out to Matt and his family and to all the families whose lives were so cruelly destroyed by terrorist fanatics on 9/11. They deserve the utmost respect from our government and the American people. I don’t care if you are Muslim, Buddhist, Baptist or Catholic, if you dare to call yourself an American, you owe these families every consideration. They should not have to suffer the pain of seeing a monument which commemorates a victory for Islam built near the site which is so special for them. The families deserve better than patronizing politicians slobbering about their phoney concern for the victims. I hope the families understand that the babbling idiots like Bloomberg, Pelosi and our President don’t represent the feelings of the American people. I am ashamed that our government has stood by and allowed this situation to become a source of further pain and sorrow for the victims. Apparently, until they actually experience such a horrible loss in their own family, they will remain blind and insensitive to the feelings of those directly affected by the tragedy. I pray to God that such pain will never be inflicted on our country again. If we are to guard against that, we must recognize the TRUTH and confront it with strength. We must preserve our freedom and not allow political correctness to force us into submission to an evil philosophy.

  20. Roadrunner says:

    Here we go again. Having to listen to the Politically Correct bunch of left wingers who think that objecting to the location of a mosque for Islam is just unfair and Un-American is wearing me out. The reference to the 9/11 attacks by “Radical Muslims” rather than muslims following the Koran is exhausting me. Read the Koran and see that nothing that happened on 9/11 is anything different from the preachings of the Koran. It’s all there and anyone who claims to be a faithful muslim knows that his mission in life is to beat his wife and kill the infidels. That’s what they believe. So get it straight and understand that all GOOD muslims believe in the Koran and they are the enemy. This is not a religion. Islam is a method of life, religion, economic structure and government with the preachings of overthrowing all governments of the world and killing all the infidels, you and me. I know we all have a hard time getting that through our Christian and Jewish upbringing, because we would never attack any other person from another religion simply because of their religion. So understand that this is not simply a religious movement with a few nuts running around killing people. It is what they have all been schooled in. If they are muslim, they will kill you. That’s their mission in life and belief, no matter how pleasant they might appear to you. It is also the preachings of Islam and the Koran to deceive and lie to you to attain their goals. Calling the Muslim faith simply a religion is rediculous. The religious aspect is the cover. The true agenda is the Devil!

    As far as the location of the mosque in NY is concerned, it is an insult to all Americans and all those in N.Y. to propose a mosque in this location where no one lives. It is simply a monument to the defeat of America by Muslims, all muslims. I can still hear the cheering on 9/11 in muslim businesses and neighborhoods all around America and elsewhere in the world. Have you forgotten that?

    Now try this on for size. Let’s assume that you live in a lovely neighborhood, carefully selected by you and your family, quiet, safe and convenient. You have a lot invested in this home and it is your castle. One day the house next door goes on the market and gets sold. You haven’t met your new neighbor yet, but shortly after the property is closed on and the new owner has taken control, you find out that this new owner is going to take down the house and build a monument to Communism. It will be 13 stories high and communists from all over the world will come to visit it. Are you OK with that? Because some in government think that Communism is a religion, they decide that it is OK to build that monument and you will now have this new neighbor and floods of people you object to parking in front of your house day and night to visit this new monument.

    Well, that’s the kind of thing that is going on with this new mosque in NY. Do they have a valid reason to object? Absolutely! Should it be stopped? Absolutely! This is not about religion. It’s about a thumb in all our faces, every one of us. We allow anyone here to practice their religion without interference, but we can also tell them where they can and can not build a church or a mosque. That’s what zoning rules do and they should also be applied to this Hamas supported project.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] a few spots, Krauthammer’s piece echoes the one I wrote yesterday.  Obviously, however, he’s Charles Krauthammer and I’m not. Hence, it’s worth [...]

  2. [...] being said, just as I noted on these pages almost exactly one year ago today, this is a matter of “right” versus “should.”  There are viable alternatives for the site–the Mosque building is so close to Ground Zero [...]

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