Newt Gingrich: America Should Be More Like Saudi Arabia
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich became the latest conservative pundit to weigh in on the so-called Ground Zero Mosque story, and his argument is perhaps the most illogical of all:
There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.
Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for “religious toleration” are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.
And they lecture us about tolerance.
If the people behind the Cordoba House were serious about religious toleration, they would be imploring the Saudis, as fellow Muslims, to immediately open up Mecca to all and immediately announce their intention to allow non-Muslim houses of worship in the Kingdom. They should be asked by the news media if they would be willing to lead such a campaign.
Yes, you read that right, because Saudi Arabia (which happens to be an American ally) is a religiously repressive regime, American Muslims should be prevented from using the property which they own to create a community center which happens to include a mosque. Saudi Arabia is also a country where women are not allowed to drive and where alcohol, tobacco, and pork are banned. Is Gingrich suggesting that we adopt those practices as well ?
What’s somewhat ironic, or perhaps hypocritical, about all of this is that elsewhere on his site, Gingrich talks about religious liberty:
Religious liberty in America is under assault.
people of faith have been systematically marginalized in America
It is hard to imagine an America more at odds with the vision of the founding fathers than one where expressions of faith are penalized by the government.
I guess those sentiments don’t apply to Muslims in Gingrich’s mind, or at least not to Muslims who want to use their property as they see fit. Not until they are able to somehow influence an authoritarian religious state half a world away to change their laws.
Its easy to just chalk this up to Gingrich being Gingrich, but it’s part of a pattern. Sarah Palin has already come out with her own bizarrely argued anti-mosque screed, and a group calling itself the National Republican Trust has been trying to air an ad that can only be described as disgusting:
There’s a lot of emotion behind this issue, but there’s also an underlying current of anti-Muslim bigotry and Newt Gingrich just tossed gasoline on that fire.
Update: I removed the link to Sarah Palin’s Facebook post on the “Ground Zero” Mosque because it appears to have been deleted from her Facebook page some time within the last hour. The Google Cache still lives though.
Update 2: The Facebook post has been restored, so I’ve reinstated the link in the text of the post above.