- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 26, 2010

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg says opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque are “un-American.” The liberal billionaire vows to nix any compromise that would move the proposed 13-story Islamic cultural center and mosque to another location - one farther away from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks at the World Trade Center.

“We must do what is right, not what is easy,” he told Muslim-American guests at a dinner speech at Gracie Mansion, marking the breaking of the fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Mr. Bloomberg has taken a dogmatic, absolutist position: There can be no middle ground because fundamental religious freedoms are at stake. Previously he has said mosque critics should be “ashamed of themselves” for even criticizing the project. In his iftar dinner speech, he went even further, claiming that the Ground Zero Mosque is the litmus test for “religious liberty.” For him and for much of the liberal ruling elite, our constitutional system rests on the mosque being built.

“There are people of every faith - including, perhaps, some in this room - who are hoping that a compromise will end the debate,” he said. “But it won’t.”

According to Mr. Bloomberg, the nearly 3,000 Americans who died on Sept. 11 - including the first responders, firemen, police officers and rescue workers who perished trying to save people in the burning Twin Towers - lost their lives for “freedom,” a precious birthright that would be denied Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the other sponsors of the Ground Zero Mosque if it is relocated.

“If we say that a mosque and community center should not be built near the perimeter of the World Trade Center site … we would undercut the values and principles that so many heroes died protecting,” he said.

Brave Americans thus shed their blood that fateful day so that Mr. Rauf could build his mosque. Mr. Bloomberg is peddling a twisted logic. Rescue workers laid down their lives to help their neighbors and friends. They committed acts of compassion and self-sacrifice. They died on behalf of their fellow countrymen, not in the service of political correctness.

Mr. Bloomberg is an elitist liberal, a country-club Republican who believes most Americans are Islamophobic bigots - primitive hicks who need to be led toward a rationalist, secular progressive future. Patriotism, blood-and-soil nationalism, honoring the memory of our war dead - these are values he finds strange and repulsive.

This equation of patriotism with xenophobic bigotry lies at the heart of modern liberalism. It is why our political and media class despises Middle America. The belief in American exceptionalism and love of country must be smashed. Charges of racism and intolerance are the hammer and sickle of cultural liberalism. They are used to beat the rebellious heartland into submission.

Liberals have embraced a post-American, post-Christian globalist world. Mr. Bloomberg embodies the values - and utter disconnect - of the new ruling elite. He is a pampered, effete billionaire whose financial empire stretches all over the world - including lucrative new media deals in Persian Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

As mayor, he has transformed New York into a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. His tax-and-spend policies are leading to economic ruin. Investment capital and jobs are fleeing. Crime is surging. Government dependency and social permissiveness are rising. The city is crumbling. In many ways, he is the opposite of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani: pro-welfare, anti-capitalist and soft on Islamists.

Mr. Bloomberg is insulated by his vast wealth. His commercial interests are global. His chic progressivism and lavish lifestyle are foreign to most Americans - even to trendy, deracinated New Yorkers. Like many secular leftists, he long ago abandoned his commitment to America. His multicultural, post-national identity trumps patriotism. What really matters is that he ingratiates himself with the bien-pensants inside the Beltway and in New York. This he has done with his pseudo-Churchillian defense of the Ground Zero Mosque.

Mr. Bloomberg is expressing what most liberals really think about the opponents of the mosque: They are seeking to impose some kind of religious apartheid upon Muslim-Americans that will consign them to second-class citizenship. For Mr. Bloomberg and his ilk, the Ground Zero Mosque is all that separates America from a return to its segregationist past.

“We would send a signal around the world that Muslim-Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law but separate in the eyes of their countrymen,” he said. “There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off-limits to any religion.”

Mr. Bloomberg argues that Muslims - like other newcomers to the United States before them, such as Catholics and Jews, are victims of “persecution.” This has been the standard liberal line since Sept. 11: Islam as victim.

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