Before the ink could even dry on our Constitution back in the late 1700s, attempts were already made at distorting its meaning or flat-out ignoring it. A prime example was the passage and enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts, part of which enabled the federal government to criminalize criticism against government officials. It flatly went in the face of the Bill of Rights, yet many of the same people who had a part in passing the First Amendment also supported the Sedition Act. Perhaps the clear words of the First Amendment sounded good to them at the time, that is until they themselves came to power in government. Then those words became a stumbling block to their agendas.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=stephen+breyer&iid=6650877″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/6650877/supreme-court-justices/supreme-court-justices.jpg?size=500&imageId=6650877″ width=”156″ height=”201″ /]The plain words of the Constitution have always been misinterpreted, stretched inappropriately or outright ignored over the years by government officials. With this background in mind, it maybe should come as no surprise that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recently told ABC News that the right of individuals in this country to burn Korans, which has been taken as a given by most in the recent media coverage of the cancelled plan to do so by a Florida pastor, is still something the courts may end up ruling on in the future.
It looks like efforts to ban the wearing of veils have finally succeeded in France:
The French senate approved Tuesday a law banning any veils that cover the face — including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women — making France the first European country to plan such a measure. The law passed by a vote of 246 to 1, with about 100 abstentions coming essentially from left-leaning politicians. The legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the lower house of parliament in July and will go into effect next spring.
In the ongoing debate over the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque,” those opposing it have often claimed that they are not arguing that government should have the ability to stop the construction of the site. They say that the other side’s constant criticism that the opposition to the mosque represents an attempt at restricting freedom of religion is false, because they are not advocating using government force — only persuasion — to prevent the construction.
But then came recent comments last week from one of the most vocal critics of the proposed construction, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich:
In a radio interview today, he said he wants the national government to step in and stop the developers from building the Islamic community center by whatever means necessary … And if that fails, he said, the state government should step in and use its considerable power to stymie the development. “The Attorney General of New York, Andrew Cuomo, could intervene because frankly he has the ability to slow it down for decades if he wants to.”
Government preventing the construction of a place of worship based primarily on the fact that a large group of citizens oppose that religion has no place under our system of government. It is becoming evident that several in the opposition to this construction are willing to use government force to prevent it. So much for that whole, “This is not about freedom of religion” thing.
Below is a recent CNN segment highlighting a fact largely lost in the “Ground Zero Mosque” debate: There have been Muslims worshiping in the existing building for a while.
So, what is the response from those opposing the construction of the new mosque? Kick them out? If not and the current situation is fine, how small does a mosque have to be for opponents to be OK with it near Ground Zero? Tricky little facts like this sort of make the heated rhetoric over the issue seem a little overblown.
This perhaps can be blamed partly on the prevalence of dubious chain emails with claims about political figures that are just too good to be true. But the real blame falls mainly on Americans all-too-willing to remain ignorant of facts.