Mosque Controversy is Obama’s Prop to Promote Religion

While the controversy surrounding the construction of a Community center/Mosque three blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, New York continues, the more fundamental issue of a President of a supposedly secular nation taking a positive stand on the issue goes largely ignored. To add insult to injury, President Obama had the audacity to announce his support for the Mosque and community center from a dinner at the White House celebrating the start of the holy month of Ramadan. By taking a far from neutral stance on the issue, Obama is clearly endorsing religion. Obama could have chosen to remain neutral stating that the issue of the mosque is a local issue to be resolved locally and not a matter for the administration to pass judgment. Diplomatically, this would have been the correct response. Instead, he used the issue as a platform not to give a speech on the right to religious freedom and non-belief of which neither is in dispute, but to covertly promote religion. This recent appeasement to the Muslim community is not a display of religious tolerance, but is testimony to the President’s stand on faith generally.

Let us take a look back to 2008 and review the most grandiose inauguration ceremony in history where Obama chose the Southern California Pastor of the well to do Saddleback mega church, Rick Warren to say the inaugural prayer. And let us be reminded that Rick Warren backed California’s Proposition 8 which was to prevent the right for gays to marry. Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to read a prayer should have set off early alarm bells ringing loud and clear to the media, but instead they fell on deaf ears.

In February, 2009, less than a month in office, Obama rekindled George Bush’s Office of Faith-Based Activities and Neighborhood Partnerships by executive order and appointed then 26 year old Pentecostal Minister, Joshua DuBois to head the federally funded department.

Close inspection of Christianity, particularly fundamentalist forms of the faith, Islam or any other religion are far from democratic because they marginalize women and suppress thought outside the realms of the said religion. Either the President is incredibly naive as to what these belief systems represent or he subscribes to them and views them as an integral part of a secular democratic nation.

It is one thing to promote the virtues of the right to practice faith, but to endorse it with speeches, government offices and appointing ministers to run them is quite another. The question has to be asked is that was this really just a glaring political gaff or is there another hidden agenda to promote rather than restate the country’s neutrality on religion?

Sources:

UK Telegraph: Barack Obama backs Ground Zero Mosque

Executive order 13199:

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3 Responses to “Mosque Controversy is Obama’s Prop to Promote Religion”

  1. I do SO disagree with you!! ;}

    You wrote: “[Obama] used the issue as a platform not to give a speech on the right to religious freedom and non-belief …”

    But in the text that’s exactly the speech he did give:

    “[O]ver the course of our history, religion has flourished within our borders precisely because Americans have had the right to worship as they choose – including the right to believe in no religion at all.” “[O]ur patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers.

    And:

    “I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”

    That sure sounds to me like a speech on “the right to religion and non-belief.”

    He also said:

    “…[W]e have a tradition [at the White House] of hosting iftars that goes back several years, just as we host Christmas parties, seders, and Diwali celebrations.” (Here’s something else he *could* have said) “Yes, we host these celebrations just as we have a tradition of hosting sports teams and military heroes and greedy businesspeople and scientists and even (ech!) journalists. I don’t support many of those sports teams – in fact I hate many of them. But fans have the right to choose whichever group of overpaid, under-committed athletes they please (even the Yankees). And many of those journalists are idiots whose words often make me choke on my breakfast cereal (and yes, I carefully rotate my choice of breakfast cereal so as not to favor any particular manufacturer). Part of my job as President is to promote the right of people to make choices, even those I might not make. “

    Finally (and why do I have a feeling this isn’t “final?”), you wrote about religion “marginal[ing] women and suppress[ing] thought outside the realms of the said religion.” But here’s some fuel for a loooooong lunch: could religions be more a reflection of deep human flaws than a cause of them? And would eliminating them make things any better? “Godless” Communism may have been secular but it was no nirvana….

    • neandergal Says:

      Henry,

      Thanks for the transcript of Obama’s speech.

      I am aware of the contents of the speech. My main point was questioning his ulterior motive for making such a speech. Obama endorsed the approval of the construction of the mosque/community center/cultural center in order to advocate religion generally. Clearly the contents of his speech including religious tolerance, freedom etc, is not in dispute. Why reiterate? Had it not been for the Mosque controversy, Obama would never have given such a speech. It was a photo op for a blundering President falling in the polls.

      The speech was an endorsement of religion disguised by the Freedom of Religion and religious freedom spiel. It is interesting and hypocritical that he made his spiel within the confines of a dinner celebrating Ramadan especially when some of the diners celebrating their start of Ramadan would have disagreed with him. After all, Islam sees non-Muslims as infidels and worse, the non-believers as Apostates. Apostasy in Islam is punishable by death for a male. It is irony at its best talking about the virtues of pluralism, among guests around the dinner table that would vehemently oppose such a concept in their own country.

      ““I do SO disagree with you!! ;}

      You wrote: “[Obama] used the issue as a platform not to give a speech on the right to religious freedom
      and non-belief …” “

      Yes, but I did also add (to complete the sentence. “…of which neither is in dispute, but to covertly promote religion…”

      “Finally (and why do I have a feeling this isn’t “final?”)”

      [Big Smile] You are right!

      Absolutely, religion marginalizes women and suppresses thoughts outside the realms of ancient scripture. The roles of women are always subservient to men. Women walk around in veils, burkhas, subject to disgrace if they are raped, denied reading certain scriptures and relegated to baby making machines to breed more of the faithful all because some ancient scripture says it should be so. This is not cherry picking the worst of the bunch. Remember, this is what most of the world’s women have to endure. There is not a single religion that endorses or preaches gender equality. The list is endless.

      “But here’s some fuel for a loooooong lunch: could religions be more a reflection of deep human flaws than a cause of them? And would eliminating them make things any better? “Godless” Communism may have been secular but it was no nirvana…. could religions be more a reflection of deep human flaws than a cause of them?”

      In response to your first question, religion appears to devalue life when people are deluded to think there is a second better life of eternity and that their God is above any other. Every war is testimony to the divisiveness of religion. Religion is man-made to subvert and control. It is not innate. In the words of Steven Weinberg, “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion”

      In response to your second question, studies seem to suggest that the more secular a society, the more socially forgiving it tends to be such as providing healthcare, housing, less poverty, less teenage pregnancy, crime, etc.

      A 2005 study, Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies published in the Journal of Religion and Society suggests that the more religious a society, the more social problems and issues it seems to encounter.

      We can discuss atheism/communism and Nirvana over a “loooooong lunch!”

  2. American Delight Says:

    Moreover, Pres. Obama engages in outreach to the “Muslim world” and has pledged aid for the sciences in the “Muslim world,” and addressed the “Muslim world” in his Cairo speech.

    When will he reach out to the “Christian world”? When will he pledge aid for the Christian world including Africa and South America? When will he address the “Christian world” in a major speech in Rome?

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