Saturday, August 14, 2010
At a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan, President Obama proclaimed “as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” and announced his support for building an Islamic mosque just two block from the site of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Many people cheered the president for taking a courageous stand on a controversial local issue which has led to a national uproar over Islam, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., and freedom of religion in the midst of a hotly contested midterm election season. Mr. Obama’s enthusiastic support for construction of the mosque put him at odds with many New York City residents, a smattering of Republican politicians and even the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization, who opposes the mosque.
Whether you agree with the construction of the Islamic mosque just a stone’s throw away from the site of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history or not, you’ve got to admit President Obama did show uncharacteristic chutzpah on the issue. So, it’s all the more beguiling that this president is unable to marshal similar courage on the issue of gay marriage.
Less than 24 hours after a Federal judge overturned Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban, President Obama dispatched White House spokesman David Axelrod to placate the president’s Christian-base that while Mr. Obama opposed Proposition 8 as “divisive and mean spirited,” and would “continue to promote equality,” the president believes marriage is between a man and a woman. No exceptions.
The decision in California did absolutely nothing to help the president evolve on the issue.