Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) issued a harsh reprimand of detractors of the Park51 project last week, calling the outspoken and commonplace opposition of the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero "all about hate and Islamaphobia."
By expressing his disapproval of what he characterizes as "grandstanding politicians" picking and choosing when and where to abide by the guarantees of the 1st Amendment, Ron Paul has driven a clear divide between what he and his son, Republican Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul, see as the appropriate action to take at the vacant property in an emotionally-charged section of New York City.
During an interview with local news last week, Rand Paul said that he thought that the mosque should not proceed at its current location, and that Muslims would be better served by donating to a 9/11 victims' fund in an effort to mend relations. He later criticized Obama for weighing in on the issue, admitting that it should be dealt with locally, but maintaining his personal disapproval.
Scroll down to read Rep. Ron Paul's comments about the mosque's opponents--including his own son --or listen to Paul's interview with Michael Smerconish on "The Michael Smerconish Program":
Listen: Ron Paul on "The Smerconish Program" (Part 1)
Listen: Ron Paul on "The Smerconish Program" (Part 2)
Rep. Paul's statement is clear about where the cultural center's opponents have gone wrong:
The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.
Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be "sensitive" requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from "ground zero."
For Paul, the calls for "sensitivity" and adherence to public will, which supposedly stands largely against the Park51 project, are irrelevant in this case:
It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don't want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society--protecting liberty.
The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative's aggressive wars.
Rep. Paul goes on to tie hostility toward the "Ground Zero Mosque" to the neo-conservative supporters of the Texas Congressman's arch-nemeses, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military endeavors that his son, Rand, has been rather vague on:
In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.
They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.
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