For weeks now, Chuck Colson has been warning about threat that President Obama poses to the religious freedoms of Christians, begging people to “understand the severity of the threats to our first freedom” which are coming from all sides and to “realize the kind of fight we’re in and be prepared for what we may face in the coming months.”
They key to protecting these liberties, Colson has been assuring everyone, is for them to sign the Manhattan Declaration which affirms the sanctity of “religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image”:
In recent decades a growing body of case law has paralleled the decline in respect for religious values in the media, the academy and political leadership, resulting in restrictions on the free exercise of religion. We view this as an ominous development, not only because of its threat to the individual liberty guaranteed to every person, regardless of his or her faith, but because the trend also threatens the common welfare and the culture of freedom on which our system of republican government is founded. Restrictions on the freedom of conscience or the ability to hire people of one’s own faith or conscientious moral convictions for religious institutions, for example, undermines the viability of the intermediate structures of society, the essential buffer against the overweening authority of the state, resulting in the soft despotism Tocqueville so prophetically warned of. Disintegration of civil society is a prelude to tyranny.
So imagine my surprise when I now see Colson telling Muslims to go build their mosques somewhere else:
Earlier this week, the proposed New York City mosque at ground zero cleared its final hurdle. Nothing seems to stand in the way of its construction.
I am appalled that peace-loving Muslims would want to do this on what is, for most Americans, hallowed ground. I am even more appalled that the mayor of New York is in favor of the idea … the construction of the mosque at ground zero is not about tolerance. And it isn’t about religious liberty … [I]t would not be an act of intolerance to deny the construction of a mosque at a certain location-particularly one, ground zero, where the mosque will serve as a daily reminder to New Yorkers of the terrorists, who, motivated by their Islamo-fascist beliefs, killed 3,000 innocent people in the name of Islam.
Go build the mosque somewhere else.
Colson has been frantically warning recently that their “first freedoms” are slowly slipping away and that they need to be willing and prepared engage in civil disobedience to defend them while simultaneously telling Muslims to “go build the mosque somewhere else.”
And that is the Religious Right’s understanding of “religious freedom” in a nutshell.