Obama: ‘We are not Going to be Divided by Religion’
September 10, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)— President Obama held a lengthy news conference this morning, wherein he spoke about Republican obstructionism standing in the way of economic legislation to stimulate our economy. And he also answered questions about the ongoing controversy surrounding the proposed Park51 Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan and the attention-seeking pastor of hate in Gainesville, Fla. threatening to burn Korans. The dominant theme in his remarks were tolerance for the religious faith of all Americans. And the President cautioned against becoming divided by fear and hate, during times of economic distress.
During the nearly 80-minute news conference, President Obama spoke definitively and passionately against religious intolerance and the anti-Muslim hate that is taking hold in our country. Obama urged Americans “to hang on to that thing that is best in us — a belief in religious tolerance, clarity about who our enemies are.”
Obama pointed out that we are all equal under God and we are all Americans, regardless of our religion:
“We are one nation, under God, and we may call that God different names, but we remain one nation,” he continued, adding that “as somebody who relies heavily on my Christian faith in my job, I understand that the passions that religious faith can raise. But I’m also respectful that people of difference faiths can practice” their own religions.”
During a deep recession and high unemployment, Obama acknowledged people are fearful. “[W]hen the country is anxious generally,” and during tough times “fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface.”
And he made clear that we are not at war with Islam, praising Former President Bush for his religious tolerance after the attacks of 9/11.
One of the things that I most admired about President Bush was that, after 9/11, him being crystal clear about the fact that we were not at war with Islam.”
“I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea,” Obama said, that “we are not going to be divided by religion, we are not going to be divided by ethnicity, we are all Americans.”
Regarding the Park51 center, Obama reiterated his earlier support of the facility in Lower Manhattan.
“I think I’ve been pretty clear on my position here. And that is: This country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights, and one of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely.”
“What that means,” he continued, “is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site.”
President Obama was asked about the deranged Koran-burning pastor, expressing concern that his attention-grabbing stunt would encourage copycats:
“Part of my concern is that we don’t have a whole bunch of folks across the country thinking, this is the way to get attention,” he said. “This is a way of endangering our troops, our sons and daughters.”
Will his remarks resonate with Americans and pierce through the noise of Fox News? Let’s hope so.