The poet Rtalph Waldo Emerson famously said “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

May I humbly suggest that as far as the hobgoblins of little statesmen go, inconsistency trumps.

The story of the day that won’t go away is the building of a mosque/Islamic Center just a few blocks away from ground zero. This story was given additional legs, as if it needed it, by the politically-inept comments of the President in support of its construction some ten days ago. These comments were followed the next day by supposedly clarifying but conspicuously contradictory comments. So accustomed are we to such backflips that most of the country could easily grab forty-winks during the finale of Cirque du Soleil.

Yet, let us take a moment to examine the themes of two conflicting statements and try to move beyond the blatant. In his original comments on the matter, the President championed the obvious and stood up for the largely uncontested position that Muslims have a legal right to build mosques. Of course, the real issue was not the legality, but the wisdom and morality of such a project. In the President’s view, it seems, if it is legal therefore it is moral.

As it turns out,…

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