The President of the United States of America is a dishonest man. He is also a poor excuse for a constitutional law scholar. Both of these accusations can be supported by looking at his handling of the recent controversies involving the Ground Zero mosque and an unhinged pastor’s planned burning of the Koran.
When the Ground Zero mosque controversy broke out, President Obama had this to say about religious freedom:
“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 unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.”
A few weeks later, when the Koran-burning controversy broke out, President Obama had this to say about religious freedom:
"If he's listening, I hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans. That this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.”What the President should have said was that Muslims a) Have a legal right to engage in offensive religious expression by building a mosque near Ground Zero but that b) It would be a very bad idea to do so because it would make Muslims look like uncouth barbarians.
The President could have then maintained consistency by saying that Christians a) Have a legal right to engage in offensive religious expression by burning the Koran but that b) It would be a very bad idea to do so because it would make Christians look like uncouth barbarians.
Instead, Obama took the position that the Mosque building is a form of free religious expression while the Koran burning is an attack on free religious expression. Is there any explanation for holding these two positions simultaneously? Sure there is.
The common thread between Obama’s two positions is favoritism of Islam. Barack Obama was educated in a Koranic school as a child in Indonesia. He subsequently claimed to have rejected Islam in favor of Christianity in what some consider to have been an insincere political move. That may sound harsh but consider this alternative: If Obama actually did convert to Christianity, the document he defends, The Koran, would call for his execution.
But Obama does not invoke allegiance to Islam as justification for his opposition to the burning of the Koran. Instead, he invokes fear of Islam. He suggests that Muslims may kill our troops in response to the Koran burning.
There are real reasons to question whether the burning of the Koran in Florida would actually endanger our troops by pushing potential extremists over the edge. But the real flaw in Obama’s rhetoric is not factual. It is legal.
The mere suggestion that a potentially violent action in response to free speech can actually negate free speech is old. It is a notion known as the heckler’s veto. As a constitutional law scholar, Obama knows that the constitution does not allow a heckler’s veto over free speech. The idea that there might be a violent response to free speech cannot be allowed to negate free speech. To rule otherwise would be to reward violence.
That is why Obama was wrong to say that Koran burning is contrary to our American values of freedom. Islamic violence in response to offensive speech is contrary to our American values of freedom.
I've read the Koran. It is an incoherent piece of garbage written by a lunatic who courts six years old girls. But I don't burn books because I don't want to look like a lunatic who burns books. It has nothing to do with respect for Islam. It has more to do with self-respect.
But the attention-craving pastor in Florida – whose name I refuse to mention – has no self-respect. He has to burn books in order to get attention from the national press. So I would suggest that the pastor satisfy the president by refraining from burning the Koran. In order to satisfy his book-burning desires, I would suggest that he simply burn another book, The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama.
If that doesn’t satisfy the unhinged pastor’s desire for fame then, by all means, let him burn the Koran. But just make sure he does it at the groundbreaking ceremony of the mosque at Ground Zero. Maybe then, lunatics on both sides could save us some trouble by killing one another before the mosque is actually built.
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