Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

August 31, 2010

HATCH GETS IT RIGHT ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.... If anyone should be sympathetic to the problems facing Muslim Americans right now, it should be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After all, in many respects, Mormons have endured similar difficulties for many years -- resistance to building houses of worship, questions of whether it's a "real" religion, etc.

It's why, as disheartening as the anti-Muslim activism has been lately, it's been especially disappointing to see prominent LDS members remain silent, and in many instances, even embrace intolerance.

It's also why Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of the nation's most prominent Mormons, deserves credit for stepping up and supporting a principle that isn't popular right now. Here's what Hatch told the Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City yesterday:

"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."

Good for Hatch. It's easy to defend First Amendment principles when it's popular; one actually has to believe in First Amendment principles to defend them when the political winds blow in the other direction.

I'd add, by the way, that Hatch is the first high-profile Republican official to offer a strong endorsement of the Park51 proposal. My suspicion is, he's also likely the last.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I disagree with most of the things Hatch supports, but I also give credit where it is due. Supporting all the Constitution is tough. That is why the ACLU is the Republican target so much of the time. Many Republicans only support the parts they like.

Posted by: madstork123 on August 31, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Good for Hatch. It's of some interest to note that the LDS is deeply and rather evenly divided on this question, so Hatch's political butt is covered to some degree. But still, he's doing the right thing.

Posted by: MattF on August 31, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Park51 is a totally manufactured controversy- thanks to Fox and their ilk.

-No different than "Obama is a Muslim", or "Obama hates white people".

And, like drivers passing an accident scene, we rush to see the newest "controversy".

Posted by: DAY on August 31, 2010 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

OK, so there's one more person trumping an indisputable right with a faux moral underpinning: They can legally build the mosque if they want to play the letter-of-the-law game, but they are "insensitive" if they do. Sounds a lot like the ADL. Can't catch Muslims on the terrorist smear, but gosh, they sure are impolite.

Posted by: MartinOne on August 31, 2010 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

After all, in many respects, Mormons have endured similar difficulties for many years -- resistance to building houses of worship, questions of whether it's a "real" religion, etc.


How about fostering fringe elements who use terror as a weapon against their perceived enemies? There was a time when that was commonplace in Utah.

Posted by: cr on August 31, 2010 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

It still feels like a Moe Howard deal , a slap on the noggin , one for you two for me , or follow me go ahead . The depth of recent Hatch reasoning includes dependence on flimsy , nonexistent , connections . These marvels of IOKIFYAR star turn shamelessness , including appeals to either emotional non sequitur or regoonesque style raconteuring anecdote from deep within the wrinkles of heartfelt fantasy . These like a supermarket cash register , admittedly are routinely in error , and like the register it is all one way . Either in favour of the Supermarket , and for the one inch deep two miles wide Hatch anything opposing the "free" hands of the plutocrat . The errors always look like a cheap suit on an ill advised teenager , cringe worthy embarrassingly fake humility over a thoughtless jibe at a received truth .

Posted by: FRP on August 31, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Are you listening Harry? I can only hope that Reid is feeling some serious shame for being one-upped by another Mormon like himself who just happens to belong to the Republican Party.

Got a spine handy anyone?

P.S. You paying for all that ad space you're using up every day gaga94?

Posted by: Kiweagle on August 31, 2010 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

The Skokie model: 'bout time you caught on, Steve.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 31, 2010 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

ZZ Top asks, "Where can I get some cheap sunglasses?" -Preferably with PYAPAL. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 31, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

As Taibbi wrote the other day, Republicans and their media supporters have used anti-Muslim fervor to achieve a perfect storm of political cross-purposes: they’ve almost completely succeeded in distracting the public from the real causes of their economic misfortune (i.e. Wall Street corruption), they’ve re-energized a Republican party that was devastated by eight years of Bush-era corruption and incompetence, and have made people believe that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution. Quite a feat.

Posted by: terraformer on August 31, 2010 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

So the stick that's been up this man's butt for 20 years is right next to a real spine. Who knew? Good for him,

Posted by: JMG on August 31, 2010 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Hatch realizes that once the Christian "fundamentalists" have run Muslims out of America, the Mormons are next.

The whole thing feels like we are building to a religious war. There is nothing worse than a religious war. It has been long enough so a whole lot of religious politicians have forgotten just how ugly a religious war can be.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 31, 2010 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

"a whole lot of religious politicians have forgotten just how ugly a religious war can be..."

Um, did you sleep through the Balkans? Or, perhaps the word "Israel" rings a bell?

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 31, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

This strikes me as weak tea (sorry for the pun). He supports their "right" to build, but keeps dropping references to those who oppose the location.

However, in this regard, he is as supportive as most of the Democratic caucus.

The truly brave have strongly denounced the manufacturing of this controversy and its effect on the public discourse.

Posted by: chrisbo on August 31, 2010 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Insensitive" would be the very last word I'd be throwing out accusatory with there, Mr. Hatch.. How anyone can give half a snap to this asshat is beyond me. Religion is poison, always has been and will continue to a.) Delude the populace to total irresponsibility for their planet and fellow inhabitants. b.) Make it okay to practice openly hate against someone else and walk around spouting things that are by lack of proof, positively false.

Posted by: Trollop on August 31, 2010 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure he said it because he's not running for re-election this year.
But, I thank him for saying it. I wish some other 'adults' would do the same.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on August 31, 2010 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Should we be happy with a position that places religious expression above all others?

Posted by: Michael7843853 on August 31, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

How courageous would Hatch be if he were up for reelection this year? My guess is he'd be right up on that bandwagon condemning the Cordoba Center with everyone else.

It's not courage if nothing's at stake.

Posted by: jonas on August 31, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

After all, in many respects, Mormons have endured similar difficulties for many years...

...Except that they can think of themselves as innocent victims while blaming all Muslims for terrorism.

Posted by: Grumpy on August 31, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Ron Paul also issued a statement not only directly supporting the project and framing it as a religious freedom and property rights question, he also explicitly called out mosque opponents on their intolerance and Islamophobia.

Not trying to be a Paulbot here. I guess the question of whether Hatch is first boils down to whether or not you consider Paul a prominent Republican.

Posted by: tbrookside on August 31, 2010 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you Senator Hatch. I've been observing this man for a couple of decades, and even though he's infuriated me more times than I can count, I know that he's a decent guy.

Posted by: t case on August 31, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Nope...no credit. This man has sat back while the crazies are running the asylum. He is only speaking out because he's a MORMON that just recently is getting crap for being a 'cult of Christianity'. Look at Glenn Beck's crusade and the fighting behind the words of the Republican Party.

Posted by: SYSPROG on August 31, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK
I'd add, by the way, that Hatch is the first high-profile Republican official to offer a strong endorsement of the Park51 proposal. My suspicion is, he's also likely the last.

Yea, Right. What's the line on how soon he walks back that "Strong Endorsement"

Posted by: cwolf on August 31, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

As one of Hatch's constituents, I called his office to thank him for his principled stand. The aide said that they had been getting a lot of calls on this issue and that most callers were angry with Hatch, so we'll see if he caves.

Posted by: Pheo on August 31, 2010 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Hatch is the first high-profile Republican official to offer a strong endorsement of the Park51 proposal."

HUH?

Mr. Benin either doesn't believe that Ron Paul is "high profile" or he has been living under a rock. Kudos to Hatch, but Ron Paul beat him to the punch 2 weeks ago, and far more eloquently.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100820005843/en/Ron-Paul-Left-Demagogue-Mosque-Islam

Posted by: OscarDeGrouch on August 31, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Um, did you sleep through the Balkans? Or, perhaps the word "Israel" rings a bell?"

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 31, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Of course not, but I fear a whole lot of fundamentalist politicians have.

There is no hate like religious hate. Here in Independence, MO we had an ugly episode involving Mormans about 150 years ago. People still talk about it.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 31, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative Mormons have the same right to their cognitive dissonance as any other conservatives.

Posted by: Chris S. on August 31, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

How bad are things when Orrin Hatch starts to sound like the voice of reason? How bad are things when the person you applaud, half-heartedly because the effort was half-hearted, for doing the right thing is Orrin Hatch? How bad are things going to have to get before Obama starts kicking some ass and taking some names? Because reason and bipartisanship are way, way down the list of things that aren't going to work. You have to remember that these people are ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. Am I scaring you yet? They're not just voting and speaking their beliefs. They're voting and speaking the way a majority of their constituents want them to vote and speak. It should be as simple as saying "Look, people - the president is not a Muslim. He was born in the United States. He does not want to impose sharia law on the world, and he's not going to take away your guns. You've been listening to crazy talk."

But it isn't. How did America get so crazy?

Posted by: Mark on August 31, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

That "for Islam to build that mosque there" line is a bit weird, though; it perhaps projects Hatch's sense of LDS hierarchy on Islam, when it isn't structured like that at all.

It's not as if the Park51 development is being dictated by Islamic Pope Ayatollah Osama from his cave, no matter how much some ignorant Americans would like to think so. Mosque projects have much more in common with Protestant churches in the USA: they're set up by local communities, sometimes with outside funding, sometimes not.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc on August 31, 2010 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

It is an open question how well they will do it, but it's nice at long last to see somebody else take up the excellent advice I keep offering here -- first Hatch (finally!) adopts the Skokie model of saying they have a First Amendment right to build (except they don't have the money), while respecting the concerns of folks who have a negative reaction.

And now I see that CAIR -- nine years late! -- is finally going to take a page from Japanese-Americans in WW2 and advertise the patriotism of American Muslims with a series of PSAs about Muslims who were first responders on 9/11: cops and firefighters and EMTs, etc

LOL -- makes ya wonder when you guys are gonna catch on, huh?

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 31, 2010 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly