Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: When a right’s not right
August 23, 2010
In the United States of America, Scientology has a right to exist.As ridiculous of a premise that it’s based upon, the goofy religion of galactic warlords, along with Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the rest of gang (some more absurd than others), all have a right to exist and worship whomever, whenever, wherever.If our Constitution was Baskin & Robbins, religious freedom would be but one of the 31 flavors available to Americans — probably more akin to Rocky Road than any of the others, but still a liberty worth fighting for.Of course, a belief that is vehemently held without evidence is an insult to rationality. But even so, government has no business telling anyone what they should or should not believe.That’s just not the way it works in the good ol’ US of A.So, if you wish to believe in a giant security camera in the sky, I will defend, fight and argue all day long for your 1st Amendment right to do so.I hope that comes across perfectly clear.Hence, I was proud of President Obama when he spoke about religious freedoms last week. It was clear, concise, and left zero wiggle room for interpretation, except for perhaps those who would accuse the man of not being able to swim if for some reason he walked on water (an act, which according to all the known laws of physics, neither he, or anyone else, can accomplish). For our president to say it any other way would have opened the door for widespread condemnation from all sides. The problem is, sadly, that he said it at all, effectively swinging open the door for widespread condemnation from all sides.But imagine that, an elected leader having the audacity to take a public stand on an issue involving a nation’s constitution. What’s this world coming to?And thus began our latest, greatest, pre-election, partisan (non) issue with which to stereotype, separate, label, classify and categorize who stands left or right of the American flag. It’s almost as if we actually need to be reminded that a democracy can be divided.However, having a legal right to do something does not make that something right, and that, ladies and gents, is the real reason for this silly controversy. Of course they should not build a mosque so close to Ground Zero.Of course Islamic leaders should know better.Of course virtually all Americans agree that the mere thought of doing so redefines the term: tasteless.Even Scientologists would recognize the insensitivity of opening an Aryan Nation recruitment center next to the OKC bombing site. Yet no one has ever equated magical beliefs with common sense, thus we cannot, nor should we ever, attempt to legislate tactless stupidity. So personally, I say let’s just leave it up to NYC to handle. With their wacky zoning, the odds are pretty good they’ll allow a gay pork butcher with topless checkout girl’s right next door anyway.They could call it: Chad’s UnClad Cuts or Sean’s Au Naturel Pork Pies or Barry’s Bare-Naked Bacon Boutique.As with most freedoms, the possibilities are endless.Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on http://www.vaildaily.com.