Monday, August 16, 2010

Obama, The Mosque And Property Rights

President Barack Obama and family stuck their toes in Florida for 26 hours on their way to a ten day family stay at toney Martha’s Vineyard. Peter Nichols of the Tribune’s Washington Bureau explains the motivation for the trip:

“Having urged people to visit the Gulf Coast, the Obamas risked looking elitist, so White House aides arranged the trip to the Florida Panhandle. They got the pictures they wanted. Obama took a dip in the bay and high-fived his daughter, who made a hole in one at a miniature golf course.”
While in Florida, Mr. Obama stuck his toe, once again, into the New York mosque-cultural center controversy.

While he appeared have approved the building of a mosque and cultural center a little more than a stone’s throw from the place where, more than 9 years ago, jihadi terrorists had rubblized the World Trade Center Twin Towers, Mr. Obama now began to massage the message. The nineth anniversary of the terrorist incident in New York is coming around this September 11th.

The earlier message of the former constitutional law professor – that the U.S. Constitution makes no distinction between various faiths but extends the religious protections of the first Amendment to all alike – remained unchanged in Mr. Obama’s new formulation; however, the president wanted his critics to understand that he was not commenting on the “wisdom” of siting the mosque and cultural center so close to the crater where the towers once stood:

"I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there," said the vacationing president.”
Nichols supplies the obvious gloss:

“He was not necessarily endorsing ‘the wisdom’ of putting a mosque at that location. Rather, the former constitutional law professor said he was standing up for the landowners' right to put a mosque on private property, even if the building would be near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.”
Some of Mr. Obama’s fiercest critics would consider the president’s new found concern for property rights touching. Others on the left who favor those programs of Mr. Obama that impinge on property rights may well consider the emphasis Mr. Obama has placed on them dangerous and alarming.
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