The recent furor about an Islamic mosque being built in lower Manhatten is a typical example of right-wing politicians playing to the fears and prejudices of their own political base. They claim that Islam is an extremist and violent religion, yet they are the ones promoting extremism and possibly inciting their supporters to violence. This is a sad moment in our history as a nation. The foundation of all freedom is religious liberty, so every religion should be accorded the same respect and given the same opportunities. That is the meaning of the United States constitution. The government cannot play favorites, allowing one kind of religious building and denying others. Our greatest witness to the world is the democratic protection of minorities, who should have the same freedoms as everyone else. Thank you, President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg, for standing up for these basic principles, which so many other politicians have abandoned.
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