Let me start this piece by acknowledging I can never be even close to subjective when we're talking 9/11/01.
That morning, I watched on live TV as a civilian jetliner made a near-direct impact on my father's office floor of the World Trade Center. I spent the next two hours staring at the TV wondering whether he was alive or dead (he was fine, as he had walked out of his building as glass, steel, and other debris was peppering the ground from the other tower).
I should also add that I spent the rest of the day wondering how to feel about the fact that nothing other than luck had kept me off of Flight 93 -- I asked Priceline for a flight from Newark to SFO on that morning, and they assigned me to another one. Maybe the odds for that weren't as dramatic as Russian Roulette, but it still had me shaken up for quite some time thereafter.
Okay, so now that I've got that out of the way, here's my opinion on what the President recently said regarding the freedom of a religious group to build a facility near Ground Zero - President Obama is absolutely, 100% right about what he said.
This country's settlement by Europeans, and its eventual Founding Documents, are all heavily rooted in the principle of religious freedom.
In fact, it's right there in our beloved First Amendment that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
With that in mind, I think it's preposterous to think that any level of government in this great nation should get into the business of dictating where certain religions should be able to set up shop, provided those religious institutions are abiding by the various local laws that would govern any other religion.
I am nauseated by Ward Churchill's proposition that my dad is a "little Eichmann" or by the imam in the news who has called the U.S. an "accessory" to 9/11 because of its past foreign policy decisions.
The only thing that nauseates me more, though, is the idea that any individual or cabal should be able to determine whether those people have the right to say those offensive things.
To me, the only questions that should surround the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan revolve around property rights and religious freedom. On both those counts, I think this is a pretty clear-cut issue, and I think the President was right to stand by his principles with his remarks on Friday.