Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obama honors his oath of office

Some have wondered (Republicans, gleefully) why Obama would take a stand in explicit support of the proposed Islamic center at 45-51 Park Place near Ground Zero when 70% of Americans say they oppose it.  I believe that the answer is simple. It comes as a coda to his affirmation last night that "our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable." It's this:
The writ of the Founders must endure.

The same warmongers who natter on about the President's sworn duty to protect the country forget that what the President actually swears on Inaugural Day is "that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same."


That writ, it seems we need reminding, includes the First Amendment provision that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"; and the Supreme Court ruled in this century, beginning in 1925 in Gitlow v. New York, that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to all state and local government. New York has remained faithful to "the writ of the founders' in its regulatory approval process for Park51.

Those who would abrogate what Obama yesterday called "the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances" are seeking, wittingly or not, to abrogate the Constitution as interpreted by our courts. Obama is sworn to defend it.

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