Blog of Rights

Mayor Bloomberg Stands Up for Religious Freedom

By Michael Cummings, New York Civil Liberties Union at 5:11pm

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg should get a standing ovation for his teary-eyed speech yesterday in defense of pluralism and religious freedom with regard to the proposal to build an Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero.

"We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That's life and it's part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11," he said.

The mayor was correct to assert that this controversy represents a crucial test for our precious religious liberty. While we don't always agree with the mayor, his principled stance on this issue is heartening, especially given the intense public pressure he's been getting from the opposition.

Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg and to all of the community leaders who have joined him in standing strong and refusing to shelve our nation's values and the rule of law.

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