Another Perspective

Greg Gutfeld for President

Mosque issue and Teddy Roosevelt. A Pope statue for Christopher Street.

By 8.17.10

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Is Greg Gutfeld the next Teddy Roosevelt?

Should Pope John Paul II's views on homosexuality be immortalized in the heart of New York's gay community?

Gutfeld, the host of Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld on Fox News, (and, we learn, an ex-intern here at The American Spectator) is in the news lately for coming up with a unique take to the controversial decision to place a Mosque near Ground Zero. The Mosque is a project of the Cordoba Institute, headed by

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Rauf insists the Mosque would help "bridge the great divide" that opened between the Islamic world and Americans after the murderous savagery of 9/11.

Fair enough, says Gutfeld.

In the spirit of tolerance sought by the Sharia -- favoring Imam and his liberal defenders, notably New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, President Obama and the New York Times -- Gutfeld proposed a bridge over the yawning chasm of Islamic radical credibility.

His idea? Install an Islamic gay bar next door.

Teddy Roosevelt couldn't have done better than Greg Gutfeld. 

Back in the days of yore (1895-1897) when a rising Roosevelt was the superstar police commissioner of New York, it seems that an anti-Semitic preacher named Hermann Ahlwardt was coming from Berlin to speak his anti-Semitic incendiaries in New York. A strong believer in the First Amendment, Roosevelt refused to accede to furious demands from the considerable New York Jewish community that Rector Ahlwardt (as he called himself) be prevented from speaking. But TR had what one might call a Gutfeldian idea.

Ahlwardt had no sooner arrived than he demanded police protection from TR. He needed to be safe from those hateful Jews while making his vitriolic anti-Jewish speeches around the city, don't you know. Ahlwardt well knew he was stirring controversy, just as today's Imam Rauf knows full well the hornets nest he is stirring with the idea of a Mosque on land so close to Ground Zero. Appraising the situation with a careful eye, TR agreed to supply the preacher the police protection as requested.

With a Gutfeldian twist.

Roosevelt went out of his way to arrange a protective detail of forty New York cops for Ahlwardt -- personally insuring every single last policeman in the detail was Jewish. So too he made certain the police sergeant who headed the detail was Jewish as well. The anti-Semitic German visitor, who had blustered about the need for protection to deliver his anti-Jewish harangues, was now quite publicly moved around New York under the protection of 40 Jewish cops and their Jewish sergeant. Ahlwardt became an instant laughing stock. "The proper thing to do was to make him ridiculous," Roosevelt later reflected. The future president succeeded spectacularly. In fact, the incident added to TR's growing fame and helped send him on to the presidency a few years later.

You might say Teddy Roosevelt succeeded in wonderfully Gutfeldian fashion. TR staunchly defended free speech while making Ahlwardt a laughing stock as he moved around New York protected by the very Jews he hated. Gutfeld has defended religious freedom by directing a torrent of ridicule at the left-wing Mosque backers busily supporting a faith that allows for the execution of gays. Not to mention that annoying ban on alcohol.

So if Gutfeld's idea of building an Islamic gay bar next to the Mosque is positively Rooseveltian in its imagination, it seems the GOP angst over 2012 is now solved.

The perfect Republican presidential nominee for 2012 is -- Greg Gutfeld.

At a stroke Gutfeld has grasped the web of serious issues Americans have with radical Islam. Sharia law, the insistence on executing gays and stoning women, the use of oil revenues to fund international terror, the shadowy relationships with outright terrorist groups like Hamas -- all have been slipped into the media spotlight by Gutfeld in precisely the same fashion Teddy Roosevelt dealt with Rector Ahlwardt. By using ridicule. You want tolerance, Gutfeld demands of a faith whose supporters rioted around the world over a few Danish cartoons of Mohammed, then let's roll into the new Islamic gay bar next to your Mosque and have a brew and chat.

Gutfeld has also made another contribution to his country. Not only has he made the Imam look foolish, Gutfeld has managed to do the same with the pieties of the American left.

So let's take the ball and run with it.

Let's Go Gutfeld, borrowing a little TR to see just how tolerant liberal America really is now that it has walked itself out on this particular limb.

The New York Times, but of course, has weighed in on this subject. Says the Times:

It has been disturbing to hear and read the vitriol and outright bigotry surrounding the building of a mosque two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. So it was inspiring when New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9 to 0 on Tuesday to reaffirm one of the basic tenets of democracy: religious tolerance.

Instead of caving in to the angry voices -- many but not all of them self-promoting Republican politicians -- commissioners paved the way for construction of the mosque and Islamic center. It was not just the right thing to do, it was the only thing to do.

OK, OK. Message received. The New York Times and its liberal friends are tolerant. How tolerant? Let's see.

In the world of gay and lesbian history in America, the "Stonewall Riots" in New York's Greenwich Village in 1969 are seen as a defining moment for gays. Long story short, the riots at the Stonewall Inn were the first open rebellion of gays at their treatment by the government, which up until that point generally treated homosexuality as a prosecutable perversion. The rebellion began at a bar on Christopher Street called the Stonewall Inn, which catered to the then closeted homosexual community. The riots made the front-pages of the day in New York. They are seen today as one of the opening shots in the gay rights revolution which is now raging in the form of the same-sex marriage issue. On June 1, 2009, President Obama cited the Stonewall Riots in a declaration designating that June "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month." The Stonewall Inn is not only restored and still there, it comes now replete with official designation by the United States government as a National Historic Site. A monument in the fight for civil rights.

Nearby is a small park, the Christopher Street area seen today as the heart of New York's gay community. The park, unsurprisingly, is called Christopher Park. It is the property, says this website, of the City of New York -- "Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor." There are statues in this park, of the Civil War-era Fire Zouaves and General Phil Sheridan. It also has four statues called the "Gay Liberation Monument." Sculpted by the late George Segal, Bloomberg's Parks Department tells us the four statues -- representing two gay men and two lesbian women -- "honors the gay rights movement and commemorates the events at the Stonewall Inn opposite this park that gave rise to the movement."

Got it? A lovely bucolic park with statues celebrating various moments and points of view in New York City from the Civil War to gay liberation.

New York has lots of Catholics. Lots. Catholics who loved Pope John Paul II, the "Polish Pope" whose stern anti-Communism helped win the Cold War. But as the leader of the Catholic Church the Pope had views on other issues. As a matter of fact, in 1986 John Paul II approved a "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons." As fate would have it, the Cardinal who drafted this letter and whose name is affixed to it was one Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, today's Pope Benedict XVI.

Now, in the name of tolerance cited by the mayor, the president and the New York Times, isn't it time for a statue of Pope John Paul II in Christopher Park? To share space with the faith of liberal secularism? The statue would need an inscription, and perhaps this section from John Paul's Ratzinger-drafted "Letter to the Bishops" would do:

Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed to those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.

What better place to communicate this tolerance for a freely expressed religious belief than in the heart of the gay community of New York? What's good enough for the Muslims can surely work for the Catholics.

Surely the New York Times, the mayor of New York and the President of the United States will jump to defend this idea. Yes, Christopher Park is a public park, but a building in the Mosque controversy turns out to be owned by Consolidated Edison -- a company publicly regulated by New York. We don't want to shimmy on religious freedom, do we? Oh sure, a statue of a famous Pope and his stern beliefs on homosexuality might offend a gay person here or there as they quaff a cold one at the Stonewall. But as the New York Times points out, there is no room for "vitriol and outright bigotry." Surely this applies to Catholics just as it does to Muslims.

So let's bring the Pope to Christopher Street and an Islamic gay bar to the Cordoba Center.

Then let's do something else.

Let's put someone in the White House who has a demonstrated Rooseveltian ability to deal with the issues of our time.

Replace the O-man with the G-man. Tolerance! Understanding! Peace! Love! Bridge that divide!

Go Gutfeld in 20012.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.