“On Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked, ‘What God do you pray to? What beliefs do you hold?’”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, August 3rd speech at Governors Island

 

There is nothing like a rich guy who listens to his conscience once in awhile. At that point, he is probably the most unfettered of human beings, beholden to no one but himself and his principles and beliefs. Last week, New York City Mayor For Life Michael Bloomberg finally demonstrated why he needed to change the existing laws so he could be elected mayor for a third term when he stood up for one of the very things that the nation’s earliest settlers were looking for when they came to America – the freedom to choose their religion.

"The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, August 3rd speech at Governors Island

 

The white hot heat of emotional anguish forms the raison d’ etre for many of the popular arguments against building a Muslim mosque within two blocks of the barren acreage once occupied by the Twin Towers, a world famous symbol demolished by Al Qaeda operatives. Bloomberg’s decision to speak out so strongly and passionately about the principles upon which the country was founded, in the face of an intensive effort to deny the Park51 developers the right to build a community center and Muslim mosque near the huge hole in the ground where the Twin Towers stood before being destroyed by terrorists, are what make him a true patriot.

“This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, August 3rd speech at Governors Island

 

Maybe it is all those glittery Bloomberg billions that have hypnotized the rabid right wing’s ever ready proselytizers like kryptonite, because there has been less of the expected hate speech directed at him in the past week than one would normally anticipate with such a controversial issue. Or maybe they were saving their vitriol up for President Obama, whose statement yesterday on the Park51 community center and mosque, although important, pales in comparison to the forthright, unequivocal message that Bloomberg dared to utter in the maelstrom of a national debate – that we will not tolerate intolerance.