The relevant basis for our religious rights in this country stems from the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There is also the application of this amendment to what states have the right to do, courtesy of the Fourteenth Amendment, which is technically needed to apply the rights at a state level too. One might argue that municipalities are not restricted, which opens up a whole different can of worms than I wish to discuss herein.
What I wish to get at is this: President Obama’s primary responsibility is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
Now the meaty topic of the moment seems to be about a desire by some people to build a mosque near the site of the former twin towers. I have explicitly not been following the discussion because, to me, the issue is a simple one. If someone wishes to block the efforts to build the mosque, it has to be done without any reference to the religion that would be practiced therein. Otherwise, rights are infringed by those attempting to block the mosque. In short, as long as the people seeking the building of the mosque obey relevant ordinances regarding the construction of the building, fire laws regarding maximum occupancy, whatever, then it has every right to be there.
President Obama has, as I understand it, voiced the view that, while it may not be a wise choice, the right exists for the mosque to be built there. I believe that he is correct to do so, because that’s his job. Now there is news brewing that this is a perfect opportunity for the republican party, by blasting President Obama on this choice of his.
I submit that anyone who thinks such criticism of the president is reasonable is, by extension, declaring that the president’s job bears no relation what-so-ever to the laws of our country. Declaring that the president can act outside our laws, to the detriment of any particular religion, strikes to the very foundation of our country. And sacrificing our country is precisely what the republican party would be doing, if they choose such a course of criticism.
So, please take a moment to think through what I’ve written so far, then consider this. An attack against one religion in our country implies that no religion is safe. So, either the fact that the building is a mosque has zero bearing on its right to be built at the twin towers site, or you have zero rights in our country to worship your favorite religion, whatever it may be.
That’s the actual choice put before us.