Politics & Policy

Portman and Fisher Showdown on Ground Zero Mosque

Democrat Lee Fisher has made it clear that he has no desire to take a position on the issue, and that vaporous rhetoric will have to suffice:

Democratic Senate candidate Lee Fisher says it’s important to protect religious freedoms — but is withholding his endorsement of plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.

“Given the horrific nature of the 9/11 attacks, I believe this is an issue that should be decided by the people of New York,” Fisher said in a statement released after The Daily Briefing asked for his position. “But let me be clear — we must continue to protect the constitutional right to religious freedom that makes America a great nation and a beacon to the rest of the world.”

Not to be eclipsed by this feeble attempt at deferring the issue, Rob Portman has fired back:

“It’s not a question of whether or not they have a right to build it. It’s a question of whether or not they should,” Portman said in a statement today, after being asked for his position by The Daily Briefing. “I think building a mosque at this site is the wrong thing to do. It is disrespectful to the families who have lost loved ones on 9/11 to build a mosque on that sacred ground. (New York) Gov. Patterson’s solution to build at an alternative site has the right balance, which is respectful of religious freedom and is not offensive to families who have born the terrible sacrifice and tragedy of 9/11.”

Portman’s got the better answer — it’s less equivocal and probably sums up the feelings of most Ohioans on the subject (local news channels have been trumpeting the fact that most Americans oppose the mosque).

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