Gingrich: We Must Destroy Religious Liberty to Save It


My column tomorrow is about Newt Gingrich's rabble-rousing over the Muslim community center in lower Manhattan. I did not have the space to address this particular argument, from his July 28 Human Events piece:

Apologists for radical Islamist hypocrisy are trying to argue that we have to allow the construction of this mosque in order to prove America's commitment to religious liberty. They say this despite the fact that there are already over 100 mosques in New York City.

In fact, they're partially correct—this is a test of our commitment to religious liberty. It is a test to see if we have the resolve to face down an ideology that aims to destroy religious liberty in America, and every other freedom we hold dear.

In Gingrich's mind, "apologists for radical Islamist hypocrisy" include not only the avowedly moderate Muslims who are trying to build Park 51 (whom he identifies, with little evidence, as "stealth jihadis") but anyone who defends their right to do so. Unlike Sarah Palin, he does not concede that right. Also note the arrogant condescension involved in declaring that Muslims have no need for Park 51 because they already have plenty of mosques. But my favorite part is his Orwellian claim that we must violate religious freedom in order to preserve it—because if the community center goes ahead as planned, the next thing you know we'll be living in a Muslim theocracy where all other religions are banned.