This one should get people talking:
HATCH: Let’s be honest about it, in the First Amendment, religious freedom, religious expression, that really express matters to the Constitution. So, if the Muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a mosque there, they should have the right to do so. The only question is are they being insensitive to those who suffered the loss of loved ones? We know there are Muslims killed on 9/11 too and we know it’s a great religion…. But as far as their right to build that mosque, they have that right.
I just think what’s made this country great is we have religious freedom. That’s not the only thing, but it’s one of the most important things in the Constitution….
There’s a question of whether it’s too close to the 9/11 area, but it’s a few blocks away, it isn’t right there…. And there’s a huge, I think, lack of support throughout the country for Islam to build that mosque there, but that should not make a difference if they decide to do it. I’d be the first to stand up for their rights.
And Hatch is right.
Adam Serwer, who is filling in for Greg Sargent this week, sums it up great:
This statement is all the more remarkable because it isn’t grudging — there are no hedges about the “wisdom” of where the project is being built, as though the group should have expected a nation-wide smear campaign designed to paint the developers as Islamic extremists for wanting to expand an existing prayer space into a community center.
But why would one of the stalwarts of the Republican Party break with them? Perhaps part of the answer lies in Hatch’s Mormon faith. Unlike Harry Reid, maybe Hatch actually thought “hey what would happen if some Mormon committed an act of terrorism”. Simple. This same kind of furor would boil over to the Mormon church as a whole. Remember – Mormons aren’t that well though of with the Christians.
All our actions have consequences and that is something all the opponents of Park51 need to remember. Timothy McVeigh was raised a Roman Catholic, but after Oklahoma City, we didn’t oppose Catholic churches from being built.
If we really want to be a nation that cherishes our freedoms, then we must let these freedoms apply without prejudice. If not then we are no better than those who attacked us on 9/11.
Here is Hatch’s interview via Think Progress:
Hatch does mention the opposition the Mormon church has faced over the years as a reason. I guess Harry Reid and Glenn Beck aren’t as supportive of their own church as one might think. Anyone heard from Mitt Romney?