August 15, 2010

On Toleration

Washington Post September 2009:
President Obama is distancing himself from the National Day of Prayer by nixing a formal early morning service and not attending a large Catholic prayer breakfast the next morning.
All Mr. Obama will do for the National Day of Prayer, which is Thursday, is sign a proclamation honoring the day, which originated in 1952 when Congress set aside the first Thursday in May for the observance.
Jump ahead to August 2010 and we find the President wasn’t satisfied sitting at his desk issuing Ramadan proclamations but was hosting a White House dinner with distinguished members of the Muslim community celebrating the Islamic holiday of Ishtar and proclaiming his support for the construction of the controversial mosque/cultural center near Ground Zero. This hypocrisy really should come as no surprise; Obama has always displayed a not so subtle Occidentalism which probably played a part in his decision to change his name from Barry to Barack.

It also comes as no surprise that those supporting the mosque think that tolerance for the mosque should be a one way street. Certainly as the President pointed out we have a history of tolerance in this country which says that any religion can build a place of worship whenever and wherever it's heart desires without intervention by the government. On the surface this argument tugs at the heartstrings of any red blooded American but it ignores the fact that liberalism (like Christianity from which is sprang) has the obligation to speak out, to fight if necessary, to preserve those ideals which it holds dear.

That is the paradox of liberalism that the Left would have us ignore. The liberal should be tolerant of other cultures to the extent that they operate in the private sphere (in this case the church) but that does not mean that every difference, particularly ones that are illiberal or are in this case a deliberate blow to the sensibilities of those still grappling with the horrors of 9-11, should be tolerated without question. The presidents demand for tolerance without reciprocity from the other side of this controversy is really just multiculturalism at its very worst.

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