Obama’s religious boosterism gets him into another mess.
By modern secularist standards, Barack Obama’s boosterism for Islam violates the “separation between Church and state.” Had George W. Bush held a rosary and modest fish dinner at the White House to mark the beginning of Lent, the ACLU left would have freaked out. But these same secularists didn’t mind Barack’s “Iftar dinner” last Friday night.
That is, until he wimped out on his endorsement of the Ground Zero mosque. Now his dinner looks to them more like the production of Ishtar, as finger-to-the-wind Dems cravenly scramble for cover. The search is on for a “compromise.” Perhaps the self-styled Solomonic Obama can convince the mosque planners to transfer their property rights to NASA. Administrator Charles Bolden could then turn the land into a satellite office for contractors who pursue the space agency’s “perhaps foremost” mission (as explained to him by Obama): “to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science…and math and engineering.”
The moment one thinks this presidency has hit the bottom of grim parody it finds a new one. It is hard to keep track of them at this point, but any list of the White House’s greatest Islamophilic hits would have to include: wanting a civilian jury trial for the 9/11 planners, refusing to identify radical Islam as a terrorist motive, endorsing the concept of jihad, fretting over the loss of “diversity” after the Fort Hood shooting, and vacationing through the fallout of an aborted Christmas day bombing over Detroit.
The White House’s ideologically willful self-delusion about radical Islam is staggering. Here, for example, is its self-reporting at whitehouse.gov about the Ramadan dinner: “Last night, President Obama continued the White House tradition of hosting an Iftar — the meal that breaks the day of fasting —celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room.” Continued a tradition? Exactly which White House tradition is that?
The answer: Obama was referring not to a White House “tradition” but to one distant event that he carefully left vague: Thomas Jefferson’s war negotiations with Tunisian envoy Sidi Soliman Mellimelli.
Jefferson, desperate to end the Barbary war with Islamic pirates, invited Mellimelli to Washington for negotiations. According to Gaye Wilson, the visit put Jefferson and his staff on the spot: James Madison, then the Secretary of State, had to field Mellimelli’s request for “concubines.” Jefferson told shocked colleagues to calm down; after all, peace with the Barbary pirates required passing “unnoticed the irregular conduct of their ministers.” Mellimelli, in his own way, was grateful. After hearing some gossip about the wan mood of the childless Madisons, he “flung his ‘magical’ cloak around Dolley Madison and murmured an incantation that promised she would bear a male child. His conjuring, however, did not work.”
The war negotiations happened to coincide with Ramadan. Consequently, a scheduled dinner at the White House had to be moved back from “half after three” to “precisely at sunset” in order for Mellimelli to show up.
While it is true that the basically agnostic Jefferson was an arrogant secularist in embryo (the type on display now who dislikes all religions save Islam), he was under no illusions about jihadists. The Obama White House makes references to the “Koran” Jefferson owned, as if he had purchased it for religious edification. The truth is that he purchased it for self-protection: he wanted to understand the attitudes and war tactics of the Barbary pirates.
The cocky frat-boy “Republican” on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, a hopelessly smug lightweight who tries to weigh in on the “big issues” of the day when not playing early-morning grabass with his equally shallow but self-important guests, has said repeatedly that the Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment to protect projects like the Ground Zero mosque. No, they didn’t. “Morning Joe” is mistaking Thurgood Marshall’s “living” Constitution for theirs.
While the Founding Fathers certainly didn’t want anyone coerced in matters of faith, they wrote it to protect the states from a future federal government that might swoop down and crush the public religious life of majorities in those states. (And, by the way, let’s cut the PC crap about Jefferson as the father of the First Amendment; he wasn’t even at the Constitutional Convention. He was in France as an ambassador, gazing with approval at budding French Revolutionaries.) For many decades after the Constitution was enacted several states still had religious litmus tests for public office and sent tax dollars directly to the churches of their choice.
In other words, it is the very First Amendment that Scarborough mangles which permits New Yorkers to block the construction of a mosque. The First Amendment was designed to protect the majority from the tyranny of a religious minority favored by the federal government. What radical Islam’s useful idiots in the White House and the press call “religious freedom,” the founders would have called insanely dumb religious relativism and self-hating stupidity.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online