Am Proud Of President Obama Visiting Mosque This Week
Readers of history know that Thomas Jefferson wanted to be remembered in part for authoring the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. He even wanted this mentioned on his tombstone. That most important writing helped move Virginia from having a strong state-established church to a place where the noble idea of freedom of conscience and separating church and state were demonstrated as the ideal. It was in this legislation that Jefferson specifically mentioned Muslims when describing the broad scope of protections he intended. The purpose of writing about Muslims was to show how broad and complete our nation’s religious liberty was to extend.
It is not up for debate if Muslims have a right to practice their religion or seek elective office anymore than one can question a Methodist or Episcopalian. American Gospel by Jon Meacham which has earned high praise on this blog, and a book which is proudly kept on my shelves, digs into this issue and is most worthy of your time.
The reason this all percolates up for discussion again is that this week President Obama will travel for the first time as leader of this nation to a mosque. The only fault I have with this trip is that is did not take place years sooner.
Obama will visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore, located in Catonsville, Maryland, to “celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life”.
At a time when there is far too much bigotry, xenophobia, and outlandish nationalism there needs to be a strong source of common sense to stand up and speak out. Much akin to Lady Diana holding babies infected with HIV so too can Obama transmit a message of tolerance and place facts over the shouts and invectives from a certain demographic in this country.
The level of disgusting attitudes against Muslims is not in question. Public Policy Polling found that among the GOP in Iowa this caucus cycle the voters were simply unhinged on this topic.
Do you think the religion of Islam should be legal or illegal in the United States? 49% Legal…….. 30% Illegal ……… 21% Not sure. Clearly civics has not been taught in Iowa for a long time and certainly not taught in a manner designed for an enlightened citizenry.
The anti-Muslim sentiment needs to be brought under control and the best way to achieve that is to have strong leaders make moral and well-reasoned arguments as to why bigotry is wrong. More and more we need to stress to the conservatives what one of their own stated.
President Bush (43) summed it up precisely. “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam.”
That again will be the required tone and theme of President Obama this week as he visits a mosque.