An Exercise in Hypocrisy

So yesterday, Obama came out and “implored” the Gainesville, Florida preacher that plans on burning a bunch of Qurans on Saturday.  In his interview on Good Morning America, Obama stated:

“I hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans. . . . [T]his country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.”

Now, Obama’s statement right there is actually pretty interesting.  Because isn’t our country also built just as much on the notion of freedom of speech?  Doesn’t Rev. Terry Jones have just as much of a right to burn the Quran as anti-war protesters have the right to burn an effigy of an American soldier as well as the American flag? Doesn’t he have as much of a right to burn a Quran as any other American has the right to burn the Bible or the Torah or any book by L. Ron Hubbard?  Amid all of this talk from Obama and his administration do they even realize that there are competing interests going on here?

They have to, don’t they?  It was less than a month ago that Obama came out and said that our “notions of freedom and religious tolerance” as well as the “right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country” almost necessitated the building of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.

Who would have thought two years ago that Barack Obama, the Democrats’ poster child of progressivism and change, would twice in less than a month wax poetically about our country’s foundation of religious tolerance?  This from the same side of the political coin that seeks to eliminate the mentioning of God from our money, our pledge of allegiance, our courthouses; to remove Christian images from the public square, be it a nativity scene or Easter bunny; to use Orwellian double-speak to change our Christmas trees into “Holiday trees” (or were they Holiday bushes?)?!

That sounds really tolerant to me?  But, that is the latest political exigency adopted by Obama as he seeks to be everything to everyone kowtow to the Islamic world.  In each of these “controversies,” Obama has mounted his steed of flighty rhetoric and tilted his teleprompter lances in the hopes of currying the favor of the Fair Maiden Islam by vanquishing the twin dragons of Ignorance and Bigotry.  Unfortunately for Obama, his dragons are really windmills.  Even Don Quixote could see that.

This is because these controversies were never really about who has what rights to do what.  Just as much as the Park51 developers have the right to build a place of worship (or community center or whatever they’re calling it) according to local zoning laws just as much as Rev. Jones has to burn as many books as he wants (Quran or Torah or, perhaps, The Audacity of Hope?) only subject to local safety laws.  All this was about was whether these actions were really a good idea.

Obama seemed to recognize this though as he talked about how “as a practical matter . . . this stunt” was a bad idea.  Obama refused to go that far when talking about the GZM, but you can kind of glean him hinting at it when, in his statement on his statement on the GZM, he said that he wasn’t going to speak on the wisdom of the site chosen.  (Man, this makes Clinton’s “That depends on what your definition of “is” is” sound like Shakespeare/Theroux/Stephen King in comparison)  But, whether or not these two “controversies” (can it really be a controversy if most people are opposed to it?) were good ideas were questions that didn’t really concern Obama.

So, in his ever pressing desire to “improve relations with the Islamic world,” a logical straw-man has been erected in both: the rights of religious freedom and free speech and our “tradition” of religious tolerance.  For the GZM, it was Park51’s right to practice their religion that called for the construction of the mosque.  Everyone who opposed was just an ignorant bigot who was depriving them of their rights.  (And this is ignoring the red herring arguments about how far away the site is from Ground Zero proper, the fact that Muslims were killed too, and that mosques already exist closer to Ground Zero than the proposed one).  But, I thought Obama was a Constitutional Law professor?  The First Amendment says, in relevant part:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Further, the Fourteenth Amendment makes the First applicable on the states as well.

“Of course, that’s what President Obama just said – their right of freedom of religion was being denied by the people who opposed the Park51 community center.”  Thank you liberal drone.

What has been missing from this entire argument is the fact that the only thing we are guaranteed regarding religious freedom in America is the promise that the government (either federal or state) cannot hinder our free exercise thereof.  A citizen, if he’s not acting on behalf of the state, can oppose whatever religion he wants however he would like, within the law.  Don’t believe that Mormanism is right?  Feel free to protest their yearly conference.  Think Catholics in office will take orders from the Pope?  Don’t vote for them.  The Left, in its new found embrace of religious freedom and perceived tradition of “tolerance towards religion” has slipped a new right in – the right to practice Islam as you please, free from criticism from anyone.  This was the problem with the “religious freedom” arguments thrown around for so long over the last month – everyone knows that they have the right to build the mosque there.  The government didn’t do anything to abridge that right.  But there is a difference between having a right to do something and it being the right thing to do.

Yes, they have the right to wear it. That doesn't make it right.

This is what is so telling in regards to Rev. Jones’ plan to burn a bunch of Qurans.  Obviously he has the right to do so, but it’s just a really, really stupid idea.  “Wow, that’ll show ‘em, burn those Qurans good.  Take that al-Qaeda, maybe next time you’ll think twice about attacking us”.  Or maybe they could get a little threatening with it: “With the next attack against America, it will rain burning Qurans.  No Qurans will be left as we will spend millions of dollars to burn them.  We’ll do such a good job that we’ll burn down the printers that print Qurans.”  Idiocy, plain and simple.

But idiocy may be something, but it doesn’t justify everyone from the President and his Secretary of State to the general overseeing operations in Afghanistan denouncing it.  In fact, by even talking about it, the administration may have made things worse.  I guess sometimes things really are worse when exposed to the light of day.

But, where are the civil libertarians?  Where is everyone decrying the “fascist” attempts to silence free speech?  Nowhere, of course, because it’s just some crazy, Southern Christians that are being ridiculed.  Now, if it were some lesbian, Muslim minors being forced to have their headscarves searched, that would be something else.

Whatever Obama’s motivations may have been, his handling of these two incidents has proved hypocritical – even though they both have the right to do something in bad taste, he came down in favor of one Park51 in the GZM issue while against Rev. Jones concerning burning Qurans.  Meanwhile, those (like me) who are against both Park51 and Rev. Jones are forced to explain why we’re on Obama’s side on burning Qurans, but not on his side on building mosques.  It’s all about freedom of religion right?

No, and to borrow a phrase from the Clinton campaign:

It’s all about stupidity, stupid.

One Response

  1. Ottoyo13 says:

    Wow, I beat Andrew McCarthy on this point – http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/246447/how-obama-gets-our-first-principles-wrong-andrew-c-mccarthy

    Favorite quote:
    “Freedom means allowing stupid people to do stupid but legal things without government interference.”

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