I listened to the whole thing. I thought it was well constructed, clever and hate-filled.
Freedom of Religion has been a very difficult piece of the constitution for us for a very long time. Franklin said that he would welcome the building of Mosques in this country, which suggests he may have taken his freedom of religion with a fair amount of seriousness. We are also apt to rewrite our own history in our heads. FDR said to Harry Hopkins that the United States was a Christian Nation and that the Jews were here as a sort of tolerated minority. As an FDR fan, that was not one of my favorite FDR moments.
Great Britain does have a state religion, and they have a splendid history of religious prejudice and rage to go with it. Protestants barbecued Catholics and, under Mary, there was a certain amount of reciprocation. Everybody was very serious about it. Within the Protestant denominations, there was a certain amount of this sort of stuff as well. Puritans were not thought of as wonderful folks by the majority of Englishmen, and you can see a fairly brutal caricature of one in Shakespeare's [i]Twelfth Night[i ]in the form of Malvolio.
The United States puts demands on its citizens that other countries don't. These are set forward in the constitution. We tend to think of them as Freedoms, because they are freedoms as well. My freedom to practice my religion makes it my Responsibility to help supply you the Freedom to practice your religion. The same set of laws apply to all of us, so that if your religion demands human sacrifice, you are still governed by laws limiting murder. The doctrinal fine points I suspect we are supposed to work out amongst ourselves.
We don't arrest Christians for taking communion, no matter how firmly they believe they are literally partaking of the flesh of Christ, and Muslims don't get arrested for striving for perfection within themselves as long as this greater meaning of the word Jihad doesn't lap over into taking violent action against other people in ways that manifest themselves in the quotidian world.
We are supposed to be able to keep our understanding of the physical and spiritual straight, and understand where it is permissible to display the physical. The law is for those who are not able to maintain this distinction.
There are fools who cannot tell the difference between the violence of a physical jihad and the effort necessary to help one maintain the spiritual discipline of a demanding faith. There are also fools who are confused by a crusade for spiritual advancement and a violent attempt to take other people's land. Both kinds of fools exist on both sides of the religious divide.
The Muslims have right to build a Mosque in this country anywhere they can purchase land and where they are not otherwise breaking the law. Any other religious group does as well. In this country, they don't need to pass a popularity contest, they simply need to maintain a standard of legal behavior, and, judging from the activities of many of our other religious groups, not a very high standard at that.
It's one of the things that makes Americans odd in the rest of the world. I mean odd in a good way.
Hating this aspect of American life is also traditional. We go back a long way hating Catholics and Jews and Mormons; and all sorts of Protestants have disliked each other. It's Mom and Apple Pie to our culture. It always makes an attempt to sound rational, too, like the anti-catholicism I remember from the election of 1960, where the local (Canton, Ohio) Republican Buzz was that we couldn't elect a Catholic president, because he'd be taking orders from Rome.
It made sense to me when I was a kid and didn't understand the history of political defiance to Rome's attempts to run local politics.
Freedom of Religion is better.
And this speaker is a very angry man who makes a well spoken case for putting aside the Freedom of Religion clause in the bill of rights. I don't think it's enough. There are always people who hate something about the constitution, but it takes a better case than this one to convince me to set it aside.
Actually, he doesn't even mention the constitution, does he?
Perhaps he thinks it isn't important enough to bring up.