My President.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Aug 14, 2010
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“This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.” ~ President Barack Obama

…reluctantly enters into the Park51 (9/11 “Mosque”) debate. It’s not a mosque, in any case, and it’s not at Ground Zero. But Palin, Giuliani (for shame), Gingrich and many, many others have lined up against the Freedom of Religion and separation of Church and State as outlined by our Founding Fathers in our First Amendment, no less. Guess all that talk about the sanctity of the Constitution is just inconvenient, now.

Mayor Bloomberg, on the other hand:

“…this proposed mosque and community center in lower Manhattan is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime, and I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion tonight,” Bloomberg said.

Via our Facebook Page: Where’s all the love and noise for when Obama behaves like the gutsy right-minded leader we voted for? Do we liberals sit on our hands unless it’s to criticize? Like this up! My kind of President, taking a deeply unpopular stand for fundamental American values! Let’s… make this huge! Celebrate!

Read more at NY Daily News. Or NY Times. Excerpt:

White House officials said earlier in the day that Mr. Obama was not trying to promote the project, but rather sought more broadly to make a statement about freedom of religion and American values. “In this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion,” Mr. Obama said at the Coast Guard station. “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about.

“And I think it’s very important as difficult as some of these issues are that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about.”

Read more for Gingrich’s comments comparing the Mosque to building a Nazi Church by a Holocaust Memorial. Gingrich is intelligent man. But he’s gone off the deep end, upping his rhetoric and dimming his insight—perhaps because he hopes to run for president in 2012.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


13 Responses to “My President.”

  1. Todd says:

    Except that now he's backtracking on his statements:… *sigh* :-/

  2. ontheissues says:

    I don’t believe that he was backtracking on any statements. His speech at the White House was merely comments focusing on the situations in relation to our frredom of religion. He only notes in an earlier statement that it may y not be wise to continue the project as a result of the neigh-sayers.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    You, Nathaniel Janowitz, Ben Ralston, Darrin Buehler and 21 others like this.

    Peter Aitch
    Sure, but who says it's a deeply unpopular stand? On the contrary, it's only a very small minority of professional political operators who have manufactured this controversy, and an equally small minority of non-New Yorkers who have been m…isled and whipped up into a frenzy over it. In a couple of weeks 99% of those people who now think they're against the "Ground Zero Mosque" won't even remember having had that opinion. You can't find a better example of the right-wing noise machine in action. I agree with you, though, that it is deeply shameful that more prominent, non-insane people have not forcefully denounced this BS since day one.See More

    Jay Winston It's my experience that referring to bigots as "a very small minority" almost always turns out to be a mistake.

    Todd Mayville Except that now he's backtracking:

    Remy Chevalier I think the reason they want a mosque so close to ground zero is to discourage folks from trying again.

    Michelle Honaker Hathorus Exactly Todd!! I am so let down and disappointed today!

    Obama f****cking rocks. End of story. You Yanks seriously need to rally round. I was sickened when I started seeing the media blaming him for the BP spill, and the whole attack on him over trying to improve the medical system… Sorry to say, …but too many Americans believe what they read in the paper, or are told by people on TV as those people wear suits and look serious. After the Bush era, the whole world breathed a deep sigh of relief when Obama got in. I hope to God the corporate backed media doesn't wear him down… via Ben RalstonSee More

    Michelle Honaker Hathorus Ben I agree with what you are saying, but his back pedal on his HEROIC previous statement regarding freedom of religion is very disappointing. There have been several incidents of him making a fantastic statement that makes me proud, but then the next day after political advisors and Democratic Congresspeople speak with him he tries to soften what he said – he must be under tremendous pressure to tow the party line

    Michelle Honaker Hathorus BTW I listened to him speak, not what the media told me.

  4. elephantjournal says:

    Kristi C
    As an earthling and lover of America, I wonder if my truest potential freedom is choice. I may not have had the chance to understand this freedom if I were still subscribed (from birth) into a dogma; political, religious or any other "beli…ef required" system dictated by my(a) tribe…singularly or collective.
    In this moment…hmmmm…do I have freedom of religion or freedom from religion? Really…no matter..because at the end of this day and everyday, I am soul and I am human; spirit and animal. Maybe if I allow my human to honestly listen to my soul, I can be the true lover my soul wishes me to be.
    Am I following the dictates of a human ..or the love and compassion given to me by an energy far greater than anyone can fathom..
    At the beginning of every new day …for me..I allow my fears the choice to merge into love…and for today I oppose opposites!

    Damieen S BTW… It's a Community Center…. Not a Mosque….. I really don't think it helps the case when people refer to it as a Mosque. It's not just a Mosque (though I wouldn't be against it if it were)

    Waylon Lewis: Amen, Damieen, svp read the blog that we put time into putting together before commenting, we made that precise point.

    Dan Mage If only Obama was even half as radical is his haters say he is….I still like the guy, but he's trying too hard to "be nice" to people who will not appreciate the gesture. Sorry folks, in my heart I still wish him will, but the democrats have just as low regard for my basic human rights as the republicans do
    Carolyn Babcock I am happy that Pres. Obama noted that we DO have "freedom of religion" in this country — that includes Islam!

    Jill Dubler Uber like like like like! Etc.

    Dan Mage The the late sociologist and composer Frank Zappa stated at one point that we are headed for a "fascist theocracy" here. I hope he's wrong, but if the "religious conservatives" get one of their own in, it still could happen. The future of "freedom of religion" remains in question.

    Todd, not true. He stated from the beginning that he did no support the "mosque," which is not a mosque, specifically. That that's up to the local government. What he did support, and still does, is the right for that community center to be… built there. The rights of all Americans to worship as they see fit.

    You doubt is precisely the sort of nitpicking that Republicans do not indulge in. They play to win—and change our country. We liberals play to lose—as someone recently said, we wouldn't be happy with Kuchinich for long. See More

    * Ben, thanks for your comment under "" Ben Ralston is a great new writer for ele who's helping manage this page. Please let's keep "F*cking" off this page, and elephant, generally. I have no problem with it overall, but it's not child-friendly.

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Thanks, spam, for the complement.

  6. Wow stunning site. I really heart reading these articles

  7. Kiwi Yogi says:

    Good comment. I had some reservations about it too until I heard a Muslim on the radio who was involved in the project. I realised that he was a regular ordinary American and that my view of Islam was too narrow. Why should a regular born-and-raised American be chased out of town because of the actions of a few terrorists from Saudi Arabia? That's not right. There's a lot of bigotry towards Islam and it reminds me of what happened to the Jews in Europe in the 1930s and 40s. Obama is right to stick to the constitution.

  8. Kara N says:

    Peter A has it right. Politicians from other parts of the country base their opinions about this on bigotry and the desire to exploit something that happened to people they despise. Red America pretty much just hates New York and all it represents, except as an excuse to wage wars on brown people. On September 10, 2001 the idea of 3000 dead New Yorkers sounded pretty good to them.

  9. YogiOne says:

    With regard to the building, it isn't really even a mosque, it is a community center. Second and most important, it isn't on the WTC site. It is two full blocks away, on the back side of the second block, facing away from the WTC site. You cannot see it at all from the WTC. This whole issue has been created by the side of hate and supported by the corporate media. There is no ground zero mosque.

  10. Kara N says:

    So I guess they still haven't given Texas to the Palestinians, then? Damn, that was a good idea.

  11. YogiOne says:

    I'm not sure anyone down here would notice the change. :~)

  12. YogiOne says:

    I guess I should also add that I am doubtful that the Republicans down here would have my yoga teachers if they knew some of the stuff they believe in. It is interesting to watch people change as they drop attachments (like party affiliations) and begin to see the world through the eyes of love. One thing that becomes clear is that most of the issues that divide us are manufactured to do just that. We will reclaim the political process for the people once we expose those who misuse their corporate power this way and hold them accountable.

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