The Left’s Newfound Respect for Freedom of Religion

For 20 years or more the left has initiated a steady campaign to destroy the free expression of religion in America. From attacking on government property any Christmas Nativity scenes, crosses or portraits of Jesus, to summarily eliminating prayer in school, even to go so far as to prevent kids who speak at graduation exercises from mentioning God, groups like the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have mercilessly attacked religion. As these groups have made to eliminate religion in America the left generally has been more than supportive. But now with its assumption of a persecution of Islam in America, the left has come alive in a paradoxical support of Muslims expressing their religion in America.

No better example of the left’s hypocrisy over religion can be seen but this Ground Zero Mosque situation. The left has in one voice come alive with a sudden love with the freedom of religion clause of our First Amendment, quite despite its decades-long, wholesale effort to ignore, if not express outright hostility to, that very clause.

But it isn’t just the Ground Zero Mosque that is finding a quixotic support from the left. It is, in fact, all of Islam that is being embraced as a true expression of Americanness everywhere.

A perfect example of the left’s newfound religious fervor can be found in two articles appearing in the Washington Post, one that excoriates a Christian symbol sitting in the middle of the California desert, and one a full throated support of state funding for Muslim prison chaplains.

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In the first, the Post addresses California’s Mojave Cross case. Erected in the 1930s, the land on which the cross sits later became the Mojave National Preserve and hence became federal property. As a result, 90 years after it was erected, the cross ran afoul of those that claim government may not spend a dime to support one religion over another. The cross being a Christian symbol, apparently it equates to “government support of religion,” or so claim its detractors. The California legislature tried to remedy the situation by transferring to private hands the small plot of land on which the cross sits. California’s federal courts claimed that this was not a proper solution. So the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After the case was decided by the high court, the Post seemed to agree with Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens who in essence said that the federal court in California was right and the California legislature’s solution was wrong. In effect the Post came down against the continued display of the cross on “federal property.”

Oh, but it was a different story where it concerns a situation in Virginia. In the case of the “limited spiritual support” the paper sees as Muslim inmates grow in number in Virginia, the Washington Post was all for a government spending its money on promulgating religion.

The state of Virginia recently issued a $25,000 subcontract to hire Muslim chaplains for its prison system and this move finds the Post in hearty support. The Post supports this move because it supposedly limits radicalism in imprisoned Muslims. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t, after all, who is making sure that these Muslim chaplains aren’t already radicalized before they even enter the prisons?

Regardless, though, the point is that the Post has two diametrically opposed views on religion here. In the case of the Christian cross the Post finds itself against its display on government property because the National Parks would have to spend government money for its upkeep, but on the other hand the Post is in support of government money going to pay for Muslim Chaplains in Virginia’s prisons.

How can the Washington Post have it both ways? The answer to that is easy. The Post is critical of Christianity and supportive of Islam, so the intellectual inconsistency can be measured against that fact.

In the first story the Post is critical of state support of a Christian symbol and marks itself as a supporter of the separation of church and state. Christian symbols are a threat in this worldview and Christianity is presented as a bad thing. But the story on Muslim chaplains was also used to denigrate a traditional Christian worldview because the Post’s story presented Virginia’s long association with Christian chaplains as a policy that is “living in the past.” Virginia’s Christian chaplains, therefore, are a bad thing.

So, in the Post’s worldview its support of using government money to support Islam but its disdain for using government money to support Christianity is justifiable because in both cases the main theme that Christianity is undesirable is satisfied.

(H/T Ken Shepherd)

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