Once again the NY Times goes out of its way to demonstrate that we should all be grateful that its esteemed editorial board has no role in the governance of this country. This time its misguided advocacy for free speech in the case of Umar the Magnificent underscores its frightening naivete and limited worldview.
The Times editorial praises the mayor for a "Solomanic solution" in what the paper describes as a "unexpectedly stirring defense of First Amendment rights..." The description that the illustrious man of God used to depict the men and women in the White House--"the greatest terrorists in the world"--and the ant-Semitic attack on the "Zionists of the media" barely troubled the E-Board. All of the outrage that the Times could muster was that the Iman's remarks were "bound to raise some hackles."
Ah, "But should it be a dismissable offense?, the paper asks. Of course not. While the Iman "chose his words poorly" the overall context of his remarks were, well, in the Times' view, rather uplifting. How sad that the paper has absolutely no appreciation of the kind of war this country is in.
Perhaps we should just observe the troubles that Europe is facing with unassimalated Muslims on the front lines of this culture clash. What we observe, and the phenomenon can be seen in this country as well, is that we have folks in our midst who are all too eager to use our constitutional protections to destroy the very freedoms that the Times professes to hold dear. As Justice Jackson pointed out in 1949, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.
And what about all of the clergy that came to Umar's defense? Looks to us as part of a GUILD that is eager to defend its own vested interests. If the Iman could say those things to a student group what is he telling inmates? Do any of those who rushed to his defense, including the Times, have any idea?
Which brings us to the blinders that the paper apparently has on the whole Church-State question. When the controversy over the display of the Ten Commandments was roiling public debate the Times vehemently objected and said that the courts should order the displays removed.
And what about school vouchers? The Times, in an editorial written in 2002 and titled "A Matter of Church and State", said that the use of vouchers, because public money was indirectly channeled into religious schools, was unconstitutional. Yet it is OK for public money to go directly to a rabbi, a priest or an iman? The paper simply ignores the issue, so intoxicated it is by the anti-Bush rhetoric of our Islamic Patrick Henry.
We are spending $1 million a year on prison clergy. We shouldn't be spending a dime. So when we see one of these public funded clerics express the most extreme anti-Semitic and anti-government rhetoric it should be seen as a golden opportunity to rid ourselves of the whole bunch.