We are against torture until we want to use it, we believe in fair trials until we don’t like the defendant and we practice freedom of religion until we don’t approve of the religion. It is time to look at our Constitution and the Bill of Rights and really examine the bedrock principles on which this nation was founded.
Building a mosque near “hallowed ground” says to the world that we don’t blame a whole religion for the actions of a few and that we practice what we preach. Our strength is in our acceptance and trust in our people, and we cannot give lip service to our principles and spurn them when challenged.
President Barack Obama said it best when he said that the proper way to honor the events of Sept. 11 was to apply American values. "Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect toward those who are different from us – and that way of life, that quintessentially American creed, stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today."
We are not diminished by extending constitutional protections to people we may not like. It is the one thing that sets us apart and allows us to truly be that “shining city upon a hill."
Jane Whitesides lives in Glasgow.