Religious faith is too important to become a political punching bag. One does not have to like or even respect Islam to believe its practitioners have the right to build a worship center wherever they wish.
If Ground Zero is a hallowed site, then we must allow all religions to pay their respects there. Can the Republicans and the Tea Party members really be saying that Ground Zero is a hallowed Christian site?
Let's face the fact: What does it mean to assert that a mosque "desecrates" hallowed ground? It means that the desecrating being done is by people who are evil, unclean. And that is wrong, wrong, wrong.
If terrorists are able to not only attack us physically but get us to judge our neighbors by labels rather than the content of their character, turn our back on the Constitution and then restrict the religious freedom of other Americans, we all lose.
The fear and loathing of faiths that supposedly threaten America's existence is nothing new. For centuries, Catholics, Jews, Mormons and other "foreign" religions have encountered disdain, discrimination and worse.
Newt Gingrich may be right that building any Islamic structure that close to Ground Zero is bad idea, at least for now. But his arguments for that position are at least as bad as the worst ones which favor its construction.
While the cultural landscape has changed greatly since the founding of the country, one thing must not: America should still stand for freedom and pluralism. What this demands is an equal voice for all viewpoints.
There is no problem when Americans -- including public officials -- gather to pray. Questions properly arise, however, when the government, by an official act of Congress, urges citizens to engage in a religious exercise.
Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell has restored the right of Christian chaplains serving the State Police to pray in the name of Jesus. Although I am a rabbi and a member of a religious minority, I think that he was right to do so.
Those who take up the cause of the American missionaries who were expelled from Morocco for proselytizing would do well to refrain from inappropriate over-the-top rhetoric that could sully ties with a valued ally.