Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prominent Republican finally speaks sense about Park51

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
[source: The Daily Hurricane]

Well, slap me three times and feed my ’nads to the dogs. Here I was, thinking that the GOP had collectively eschewed any shred of integrity and respect for the Constitution in favor of constant demagogy, when Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) steps up and goes on the air to proclaim that, yes, Muslims have every right to build their proposed Park51 Islamic community center two blocks north of Ground Zero in Manhattan:

HATCH: Let’s be honest about it, in the First Amendment, religious freedom, religious expression, that really express matters to the Constitution. So, if the Muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a mosque there, they should have the right to do so. The only question is are they being insensitive to those who suffered the loss of loved ones? We know there are Muslims killed on 9/11 too and we know it’s a great religion. … But as far as their right to build that mosque, they have that right.

I just think what’s made this country great is we have religious freedom. That’s not the only thing, but it’s one of the most important things in the Constitution. [...]

There’s a question of whether it’s too close to the 9/11 area, but it’s a few blocks away, it isn’t right there. … And there’s a huge, I think, lack of support throughout the country for Islam to build that mosque there, but that should not make a difference if they decide to do it. I’d be the first to stand up for their rights.

This may be the first commendable act made by a Congressional Republican that I’ve heard of in months, and I’m not even kidding. Sure, there are still many bones to be picked with Hatch’s legislative record, which is a mixture of hits-and-misses with highs including leaning towards looser immigration policy and support for stem cell research, and lows such as a truly Draconian stance on copyright enforcement and helping asshat Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) filibuster to defeat unemployment benefits that left nearly a million jobless Americans without any sustenance at all. But regardless of his history, this stance in favor of Park51 was the right one to make and I commend him for it (though not without some lingering incredulity).

(via Right Wing Watch)