Saturday, August 14, 2010

Religious Freedom

Of all of Thomas Jefferson's achievements, the three he selected to be inscribed on his own tombstone were authoring the Declaration of Independence, founding the University of Virginia, and authoring the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.  This is the main paragraph of that statute:
We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
People who are trying to restrict the establishment of a mosque anywhere in America would do well to remember that religious freedom is one of the founding principles of this republic.  Anyone who criticizes the president for standing firmly for the right of Muslims to build a mosque in lower Manhattan is taking a position that is fundamentally un-American, or at least anti-Jeffersonian.  And anyone who thinks the president was being inconsistent by making clear that he was not commenting on whether this is a good place to situate a mosque is not paying attention to what Obama actually said.  There is no inconsistency in standing up for people's rights while remaining neutral, or even questioning, whether they are acting wisely.  If that is inconsistent, then the First Amendment is inconsistent, because it says exactly the same thing.


  1. I am neither a Progressive, a Republican or a Tea Party guy. I pride myself on trying to be open minded and well informed. As an objective, I continually see some intersection on some hot topics between Progressives, Independants and the Tea Party.

    However, when I point this out to those who may support parts of each group's opinions, they almost unanimously prefer to point to where they disagree. People in general tend to focus on the things we disagree about. In fact, most us agree on the most important issues (they are not political).

  2. As for the President himself; in my opinion he shows a distinct lack of leadership Friday to Saturday. Whenever the President says "let me be clear" I am sure to be confused a few days later.

    As for Harry Reid -- he just blows me away. A fierce politician for sure; but he will say anything to pass a bill or get re-elected. He never ceases to amaze me.

  3. So like Bill Clinton to hedge his statements.

  4. Im am so troubled that Obama is saddled with sillyness. Pelosi asking for investigation of funding for opposition of the mosque? There is no question of lagality. Who will she investigate, Harry Reid?! Howard Dean?! Most of us moderates want to know what planet is she from.

  5. Pelosi said there should be transparency about the funding behind the mosque construction. But she also said there should be investigation into whoever is providing funding for the demonstrations, etc. against the mosque. Wouldn't you be even a little bit curious to know if there is an organized group or corporation paying for signs and demonstrations against the mosque? Astroturf is a legitimate issue I think, because oftentimes supposedly spontaneous public demonstrations are not what they appear to be. It may not be a question of legality, and I recognize that a majority of people who respond to poll questions are against the mosque (of course I also remember polls where the majority of people are against quite a few provisions of the bill of rights), but it would still be interesting to know whether protests that are sometimes presented by the media as grassroots demonstrations are actually staged events that are subsidized by special interests and wealthy conservative donors. To say that we should not investigate such connections would give astroturf organizers a free pass to manipulate public opinion.

  6. I though for sure you were going to say subsidized by Acorn, unions or and The Anti-Defamation League :-)

    We should be concerned about astroturf. Facts have a way of coming out. Ask Tyler "I'm a Rand Fan" Collins about that. This guy is low.

    Then we could check in with John Krupa and some Dem unions in PA after the Pittsburg Tribune reports. He's since dropped out of the race for governor. Politics is a nasty game. I keep threatening to stop following because it makes me ill sometimes. But if folks like you and me don't follow we risk failing to shed some light!