When Gov. David
Paterson of New York stepped into the breach to offer a resolution to the
exploding controversy over building the Ground Zero mosque, he quite
deliberately offered to grant Islam a favored status under New York public
policy that is denied to Christian churches.
Here’s what the
governor said (emphasis mine): "If the sponsors were looking for property
anywhere at a distance that would be such that it would accommodate a better
feeling among the people who are frustrated, I would look into trying to
provide them with the state property they would need."
He added some
mumbo-jumbo about a competitive bidding process, but that was obviously just
for show. If he wants to provide state land for a mosque, trust me, he will
find a way, and his liberal friends will back him to the hilt.
Offering to provide
government property for a house of worship normally would provoke howls of
outrage from our hypersensitive friends on the left, who see grotesque breaches
of the wall of separation between church and state even where the wall of their
fevered imaginations doesn’t exist.
Can you imagine the firestorm
that would have erupted had the good governor offered to find state property
for a Christian church? He’d have been dragged into court by the ACLU so fast
it’d give him a nosebleed.
The First Amendment,
remember, only prevents Congress from the “establishment” of religion, by which
the Founders meant granting one Christian denomination preference in law and
directing taxes to its support.
This means, of
course, that states are free to “establish” a state religion if they wish,
meaning they remain free to select one Christian denomination and give it
official preference in law. At the time of the founding, nine of the 13
original states did in fact have an established church, that is, one Christian
denomination that was the official church of that state.
Wisely, in my view,
all states had abolished state establishment by 1833, but they remain
constitutionally free to do so if they wish.
But our secular
fundamentalist friends, with no regard for original intent, are quick to see
First Amendment violations in things as benign as the Pledge of Allegiance and
our national motto.
Thus it is
noteworthy that the left has been strangely and totally silent on this offer by
the governor of New York to give official state sponsorship and support to the
religion of Islam.
Most likely, secular fundamentalists are easy on Islam for the simple reason
that they share with Islamic fundamentalists a deep and abiding hatred for
America and its traditions and values.
But the Muslims
behind the Ground Zero mosque turned down Gov. Paterson’s offer
instantaneously. They remain determined to build their monument to the great
victory of Allah over the infidel on 9/11 no matter who it offends, no matter
who it insults, and no matter who it provokes. Are these the actions of a
religion of peace? I don’t think so.