Time and a place

Updated
 
Michael Smerconish writes: Permit me a final word about that mosque. If you havent already, I recommend that you take the time to read the president’s actual remarks from Friday. My hunch is that you will be hard-pressed to disagree with anything he actually said. Most importantly, the President said this: “As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.” He’s right about that. The next day, he made it clear that he had not weighed in on the wisdom of building the mosque. If he had, he could have said this: “There are many instances, particularly in matters that involve the First Amendment, when doing what you have a legal right to do isn’t the right thing to do. And I believe that the development of a mosque right now, so close to Ground Zero, is a decision which falls into that category.” In just three weeks, we will mark what is only the ninth anniversary of September 11. Emotions are still raw. The site where the Twin Towers once stood is literally an open wound. Children who lost a parent, parents who lost children, spouses who lost partners - they are still with us, and they continue to grieve. So, yes, Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country does. But if this mosque really seeks to build bridges, then its organizers should act in compliance with the sensitivities of those whose loved ones perished in an attack on the most basic of American pillars - including the very religious freedom that forms the legal basis for a mosque in lower Manhattan. As my parents often said: Time and a place, time and a place, time and a place.

Time and a place

Updated