Ron Paul is wrong, GZM
is not a Muslim right
by Alan Keyes
August 24, 2010
According to Newsmax “Ron Paul unleashed a lengthy and at times angry statement on his website Friday that supports the rights of Muslims to build what’s become known as the “Ground Zero Mosque.” As they read about it, I’m sure not a few of his admirers will disagree with him. But as usual they’ll dismiss it as another aberrant outburst from someone whose views they otherwise applaud.
If Newsmax is right about his feelings, though, it makes sense to ask why he feels anger at the people opposing the GZM project. I think it’s because he accepts the view that “this is all about hate and Islamaphobia. We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.”
It’s clear that Paul sees the issue as a test of the sincerity of one’s dedication to freedom. Therefore it involves what is the Holy of Holies in his political creed. His views on the GZM are not an aberration. They rise from the very core of his political identity, impelled by the same deep sense of principle that gives him strength to stand against the tide on issues like the Federal Reserve.
I understand his strong feelings at least in part because my stand against the GZM has a similar origin within me. For me, liberty comes close to being as sacrosanct as freedom seems to be for Ron Paul. The difference in our views reflects the profound difference between freedom and liberty, a difference that Paul either doesn’t see or simply rejects.
Human freedom is the objective fact of our natural capacity for self-conscious choice. Liberty, by contrast, exists in relation to our determination to use that capacity in a way that respects the God determined standard of right on account of which He made us free. Freedom reflects God’s intention with respect to us (that we be made in His image.) Liberty reflects our intention with respect to God (that we act according to His will.)
Liberty therefore leads to actions that self-consciously respect God. Because God is the principle of the whole, this necessarily involves making sure that our decisions take account of our obligation to the whole. Freedom may simply be selfish or self-regarding. Liberty, by contrast, is bound to have regard for the community, and for the effect our actions may have upon it.
The first amendment’s language is consistent with this understanding. It forbids the Federal government from acting by law to prohibit “the free exercise of religion”. The word exercise has to do with practice, and in its Latin origins referred specifically to the training required to produce an effective military force. Military training is all about discipline, and the routines whereby individuals develop the habit of acting in conformity with what is required for the army (in Latin, exercitus) as a whole to do its duty.
But religion has to do with man’s duty to God, his obligation to act in conformity with what is required in order to fulfill God’s intention for mankind. Actions that contradict this intention are therefore no part of the free exercise of religion.
Opponents of the GZM project contend that, contrary to the protestations of its progenitors, it is intended to be a focus of triumphant inspiration for the Islamic forces of terrorism. The practice of terrorism violates the unalienable right to life. It therefore contradicts the God ordained standard of right that is the basis for liberty. Hence, if the GZM serves the purposes of the terrorist forces, it cannot involve the exercise of any religious right.
In particular, if it serves their purposes, it is part of an ongoing threat to the life and liberty of the American people. At every level, government in the United States has the duty to look out for the safety of the people. Because liberty must take account of what is right for the whole community, no action that maliciously endangers the public safety, or aids and abets those who do, qualifies as an exercise of right. This is especially relevant when the whole nation faces a persistent, organized threat as it does in war, or when dealing with organized attacks that are tantamount to acts of war.
Respect for unalienable rights and liberty does not require surrender to forces systematically making war upon right and liberty. As a matter of fact, these forces may be free to do such wrong. They do not have the unalienable (and therefore constitutional) right to do it.
My difference with Ron Paul in this matter is substantially the same as the difference between us when it comes to the unalienable right to life, or the unalienable rights of the natural family.
Government at all levels is obliged to secure our God-given unalienable rights. This includes respecting the standard of right from which they are all derived. Neither the local government in New York, nor the government of the United States, can legitimately disregard this obligation.
So this is the question facing office holders who wish to do their duty: Does the available evidence substantiate the view that the GZM project will give aid and comfort to the practitioners of Islamic terrorism? If it does, insisting that it go forward violates the standard of right that is the indispensable foundation for republican liberty.
If he were a “libertarian” in the root sense of the word, Ron Paul would at least be open to considering this. Instead he angrily dismisses it. Apparently, freedom is his Holy Grail even when the use of it may involve giving license (or in this case a building permit) to deadly evil.
Does Ground Zero Mosque reveal elitists'
politically preferred religion?
by Alan Keyes
August 25, 2010
In chemistry a reagent is defined as “a substance used to detect or measure another substance or to convert one substance into another by means of the reaction which it causes.” With this in mind, the Ground Zero Mosque (GZM) project is turning out to be an effective political reagent. In their reactions to it America’s political and other public figures are taking stands that reveal their core priorities and motivations.
In my last posting I discussed this in regard to Ron Paul’s slashing attack on the GZM’s opponents, among them the families and friends of those murdered in the 9-11 attacks, or who died in the aftermath.
Paul’s view of the issue suffers from an understanding of freedom that ignores the fact that a God ordained concept of natural right is the basis for every claim to liberty, including the claim to religious liberty. Paul is blinded by the idolatry of freedom. But what of others, including Barack Obama and Michael Bloomberg, who feelingly evoke America’s tradition of respect for human rights. What explains their eagerness to pretend that the mantle of religious liberty must be extended to every activity that wears the label of religion, whether it actually serves right or wrong?
On this issue the Bloomberg/Obama faction seem pathetically anxious to make clear to the world that in America all religions are equal; that Islam will not be given some kind of second class status. However, they are like the suitor who aims to please a rich widow with paeans of admiration for her flawless countenance. His anxiety leads him to protest too much. The more overwrought his poetical comparisons to limpid pools and lilies softly shining in the moonlight, the more plainly it appears that the only real attraction is her money.
Thus, the more they insist that in America Islam can be treated as a religion like any other, the more we are invited to compare its practices with what, in other contexts, these same people condemn as cardinal wrongs. Islam routinely insists upon invidious distinctions between men and women even when it comes to the protection of the laws. Islamic law routinely limits free expression, in dress, speech, art and sexual behavior. Islamic justice routinely imposes what these leaders would condemn as cruel and unusual punishments, including sanguinary public executions. Islamic politics is predicated upon a role for religious authorities that blatantly rejects the doctrine of separation of church and state the Bloomberg/Obama faction otherwise insists upon as a tenet of American political and governmental practice.
Imam Rauf, the key public figure among the GZM’s progenitors, recommended that Obama “support the Islamic revolution in Iran”. He counseled “against the U.S. aiding the pro-democracy protesters who were being violently repressed by the Iranian regime….He also hailed the Islamic revolution of 1979 that brought to power Iran’s Shiite theocracy. He wrote: ‘After the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took the Shiite concept of the Rightly Guided Imam and created the idea of Vilayet-i-faqih, which means the rule of the jurisprudent. This institutionalizes the Islamic rule of law.’
Whether its the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the political and governmental practices in practically every other country where Islam is the predominant religion, the Islamic religion seems most often to engender political regimes that plainly contradict the fundamental principles of the American republic.
Does the fact that the practice of Islam consistently gives rise to such regimes, mean that they represent the type of government most consistent with the practice of Islam? If so, Islam cannot be consistently practiced in America unless its political impact is appreciably curtailed. But then, what becomes of the American tradition of religious liberty?
The Bloomberg/Obama position thus leads to a contradiction between the assertion of religious rights for Islam, and the contradiction of right that routinely results from the practice of Islam. This contradiction points to and arises from a more fundamental one-between the principle of right at the heart of Islam, and the principle of right from which America derives its understanding of liberty and justice for all.
Of course, Bloomberg, Obama and the whole slew of American elites who deny the connection between God and our rights cannot be clear about this contradiction, because it cannot be clearly articulated without reference to God. In brief, the Creator God of the American Declaration of Independence made all men equally for freedom and the self-consciously chosen exercise of right; while, through his prophet Mohammad, the enthralling God of Islam, simply imposes, by force if necessary, a hierarchy of submission.
Whether we articulate it in terms of the implementation or principle of right, the GZM controversy reveals that the Bloomberg/Obama elites are happily willing to gloss over glaring contradictions of right in Islam while loudly decrying even the hint of any such contradictions they claim to espy in Christianity. What accounts for this discrimination?
It’s hard to understand until we observe how quickly these elites put aside their concern for rights of any kind when it interferes with their ambition for control. Then liberty, religious or otherwise, takes second place to their agenda of power.
In this respect, their practices are more consistent with the repressive or despotic regimes characteristic of Islamic countries, than with America’s democratic constitutional republic.
Assuming that these elitists could find some way to remain in control of its leadership, a domesticated form of Islam might prove an effective tool for keeping the population in submission. In any event, it is liable to be less ornery and unpredictable than Christianity. For where Muhammad enforces submission to Allah, the Gospel promises a share in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. But where political life is truly built upon that strong foundation, a mighty fortress blocks the would be tyrant’s path to power. Could this be why the Bloomberg/Obama elitists are so anxious to help Imam Rauf build his headquarters for the Islamic conversion of America? Is Islam slated to be the tamed religion of submission to their global totalitarian state?