I’ve had Obama’s press conference on for the past hour or so, and much of the talk has been predictable — we inherited economic problems, we never said we would solve it overnight, we never said the health-care bill would solve every problem immediately, etc.
Wendell Goler of Fox News asked Obama whether the mosque should be built at the site, two blocks from Ground Zero.
Obama’s answer meandered like the Mississippi River, but eventually he made it clear: he has no objection to the Ground Zero Mosque.
“If we say that their religion is somehow offensive . . . what are we saying to them? I’ve got Muslims fighting in the uniform of the armed services of the United States. They’re putting their lives on the line for us. . . . There is no us and them. There is only us.”
That’s actually the best answer I’ve heard from a mosque defender. On CNN, they’re noting that this was Obama’s most passionate answer.
It’s a compelling answer, but in the end I’m unconvinced. I would say to that Muslim serving in the Armed Forces, “First, thank you for what you do. Every American ought to honor your service. But on this proposal, I don’t want a self-proclaimed Official Mosque of Ground Zero any more than I want a self-proclaimed Official Church of Ground Zero or Official Synagogue or other institutions of faith. The events of 9/11 are too big, and too deeply meaningful to too many people, to be shoehorned into one sect’s interpretation, even if it turns out to be a good one. This is separate from questions of the Imam’s . . . well, good faith, no pun intended; his viewpoint seems to be that no amount of intense public opposition, distrust, and resentment will deter him from his mission of promoting unity, trust, and healing. No matter how counterproductive his actions get, he never seems to be willing to reconsider what he’s doing.”