Christopher Hitchen’s analysis of the rally
Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read ‘a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.’ The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan [Muslim], the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.
– Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826), third president of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence, referring to the Virginia Statute For Religious Freedom, which became law on January 16, 1786.”
The Onion makes the same point with a touch more humor.
“Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion?” Bloomberg asked. “That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another.” Mayor Bloomberg