Senator Orrin Hatch, the conservative Utah Republican, has come out in support of the Park 51 Muslim community center, popularly known as the "Ground Zero Mosque." The best part? He's doing so in stronger terms than anyone besides Mayor Bloomberg:
HATCH: Let's be honest about it, in the First Amendment, religious freedom, religious expression, that really express matters to the Constitution. So, if the Muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a mosque there, they should have the right to do so. The only question is are they being insensitive to those who suffered the loss of loved ones? We know there are Muslims killed on 9/11 too and we know it's a great religion.... But as far as their right to build that mosque, they have that right.
Did he just say Islam is a great religion? Is Orrin Hatch... a secret Muslim?! Well, no, actually, he's a Mormon, and probably acutely aware of the pitfalls of religious bigotry. (You'd think fellow Mormon Senator Harry Reid would be aware too, but... not so much, apparently.) And, get this: Hatch thinks this should come down to the opinion of New Yorkers. Yeah, right! Like they own Ground Zero.
But maybe this shouldn't come as a surpise! Hatch, of course, has always loved other Abrahamic religions:
Senator! Can we get an Eid al Fitr song?