Ken Blackwell

President Obama’s Religious Freedom Day Proclamation displaces the Jews. He describes America as a nation of “Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, Sikhs and non-believers.” This may be politically correct, but it is historically inaccurate. In terms of numbers, the Jews in America have always exceeded the Muslims. In terms of their influence on American ideals, Jews have been foundational from the start.

Jews have lived among us from the time they first arrived on these shores. A small Jewish community came to New Amsterdam ( New York ) in 1654, then under Dutch rule. There has never been a time in American life as an independent nation when Jews have not been a part of our people.

President Obama’s single-minded determination to place Muslims ahead of Jews is having a deleterious effect on our foreign policy, too. He supports the so-called Two-State Solution for Arab-Israeli peace in the Mideast . This idea would ban Jews from Judea and Samaria , the heart of the historic Jewish homeland. The Palestinians make no secret of their demand for a region on the West Bank of the Jordan River that would be free of Jews. In Europe , this was called a Judenrein.

Yet, President Barack Obama continues to tax us to fund the notoriously corrupt “Palestinian Authority,” an offshoot of the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). These PLO operatives danced in the streets when the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11.

Mr. Obama also gives billions of our tax dollars to Mohamed Morsi, who was installed as president of Egypt . Morsi seeks the release of the Blind Sheikh, Abdel Rahman, a convicted terrorist who is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his role in the first attack on the World Trade Center . That 1993 strike left seven Americans dead.

When President Obama went to Egypt in 2009, he lauded the Muslim role in American history. He boasted that Rep. Keith Ellison had taken the oath of office on Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Koran.

The president conveniently neglected to mention why it was that Mr. Jefferson had a copy of the Koran. As a U.S. American diplomat in Paris in the 1780s, Jefferson appealed to an Arab envoy to stop seizing American ships and demanding ransom for their enslaved merchant sailors. The Arab diplomat told Jefferson it was the will of Allah, as expressed in the Koran, that “infidels” (Christians and Jews) should be kidnapped and put to forced labor. Incredulous, Jefferson bought a copy of the Koran to see if that could possibly be true. He was astonished to learn that it was true.

For the next twenty years, Thomas Jefferson resolved to use force and not to pay kidnappers. Some of Jefferson ’s colleagues favored paying them off. They thought it would be cheaper.

Jefferson believed our national independence and honor were at stake. And by 1800, paying ransom was no longer cheap. Fully one-fifth of the U.S. budget was going to pay off the Barbary Pirates of North Africa.

When Jefferson became president in 1801, he put an end to paying tribute and offering ransom. He fought a short, sharp, successful war against the Barbary Pirates, even sending the U.S. Marines “to the shores of Tripoli .”

Jefferson, along with Benjamin Franklin, identified strongly with the Jews’ fight for freedom. Both Franklin and Jefferson proposed making Moses leading the Children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt the official seal of the United States .

It is all this history that President Obama ignores when he displaces the Jews, when he mischaracterizes our country. He is trying to “fundamentally transform” America . It is a dangerous course.

We should welcome any step toward genuine religious freedom in Muslim majority lands. No one wants to fight a Holy War against the world’s Muslims. But we should not delude ourselves. There is not today a single Muslim majority land where religious freedom exists. There is not one where the rights of religious minorities have been protected—as they have been in America .

For President Obama to displace the Jews in his description of our country risks losing the very religious freedom we celebrate. He may be leading us all back into “Egyptian” bondage. What a terrible precedent on Religious Freedom Day.


Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
 
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