Target, the ground zero mosque, and freedoms 

I find myself in a strange position when it comes to the controversy surrounding the proposed mosque to be built near 9/11’s ground zero in New York. I find myself disagreeing with most of my fellows on the right and agreeing with President Obama, who said of the issue “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

I applaud the President’s embrace of religious freedom. I also wish he were a bit more consistent about it.

Strangely enough, the ground zero mosque situation has put me in mind of what is happening to Target with liberals targeting the retail giant for boycotts for making contributions to political candidates they find unappealing. Target, freed to do so by the Supreme Court’s FEC vs. Citizens United ruling which gutted the nation’s campaign finance laws, showered some money on a Minnesota political group supporting the candidacy of Republican governor candidate Tom Emmer. That has prompted boycotts, and even some demands from liberals that Target make reciprocal contributions to liberal candidates.

A sort of affirmative action for political money, I guess.

What’s interesting is that, according to the Associated Press, city officials in San Francisco have started grumbling about the company’s politics in advance of planned store expansions into their jurisdiction. It would seem as though these officials are hinting at possible political retribution, using regulation and city ordinances, aimed at Target because of the companies politics.

Essentially, Target would be prohibited from building stores because the powers that be find Targets beliefs (as expressed by their political contributions) to be disagreeable.

This, of course, would be wrong. Target shouldn’t be punished for its choice in candidates to support. Which brings me back to the issue with the mosque. Muslims shouldn’t be singled out to have this mosque prohibited simply because we find their motivations for building it disagreeable.

Freedom means freedom. Especially when that which we’re expected to allow is hard to tolerate.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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