Religious tolerance is the refuge of politicians preaching that we share values with cultures whose beliefs conflict with and even spawn hatred towards Americans (see: Countries That Hate America Could Be Our Best Friends). Espousing values based on repeating what people want to hear means you can afford to embrace tolerance for all, something our nation’s security can ill afford.
To be fair, anything politicians say can bring them under the radar of political correctness and risk condemnation by colleagues. An Illinois congresswoman suggested:
Sadly, acts of violence against American Muslim communities are too frequent. Even worse is that an environment of intolerance has been perpetuated by irresponsible and inflammatory statements made by elected officials locally and nationwide.¹
The guilty were not named in this House member’s remarks. Is it true that we are creating an environment of intolerance or are we not intolerant enough of beliefs that encourage others to exploit weaknesses in the armor of our open society?
Religious tolerance is earned. So is intolerance.
During a speech at Cairo University in 2009 Barack Obama proclaimed:
I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.²
The religious tolerance endorsed in Washington claims that Muslims deserve our respect because they are Muslims. They don’t. No religion, group, or belief deserves our respect. Respect and tolerance are earned. There is a pretty big gap between America’s values and a religion that is almost synonymous with attacks against innocents, a religion that has again brought us death.
Does religious freedom mean accepting these beliefs?
What should we make of poll results that show that a frightening percentage of American Muslims believe suicide bombings can be justified (see: 9/11: Americans Are Tolerant, but Our Acceptance Has Limits)? Politicians speak of shared values that don’t exist and ask us to endorse ideas as offensive to many Americans as building the Ground Zero Mosque, a plan deluded politicians and public officials got in line to support, including a New York congresswoman:
I think it is particularly important to note that the center has the support of the local community board, which overwhelmingly voted to support the center. I am pleased to join with them and with Mayor Bloomberg in supporting its construction.³
Do Washington politicians refuse to believe that Islam is a threat?
America’s roots in religious freedom create a predicament in dealing with a religion that shows every sign of becoming a much bigger headache in the years to come. We have had tolerance and religious freedom drilled into our heads from our earliest school days and there will always be a politician overeager to reinforce those beliefs, no matter what the circumstances or offense.
Muslim nations accuse us of being part of the problem and our government has publicly reinforced that viewpoint. So what happens when we reach the point where granting unconditional freedom to a religion like Islam within our borders becomes too great of a burden to bear? Is it worth putting innocent Americans at risk because our decision makers hide behind a smokescreen of tolerance that should have been discarded after 9/11?