This is not a religious freedom issue. No one has ever understood the freedom of religion as granting an untrammeled license to build any structure anywhere, as long as it’s religious. If the KKK announced plans to build a shrine at the site of the 16th Street Baptist Church, would Obama be talking about religious freedom?
“Obama to back religious freedom at Islam dinner,” from AP, August 13:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday will speak up for religious freedom at a dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, emphasizing that point just as New York City is immersed in a deeply sensitive debate about whether a mosque should be built near ground zero.
Obama has not yet spoken about the mosque controversy. The White House has been calling the matter solely a local one.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs would not directly say whether Obama would address the mosque when he hosts the iftar dinner that breaks the holiday’s daily fast. But Gibbs quickly added that Obama believes strongly in the tenet of religious freedom and would be speaking out on that….