Commentary: Paul, Conway embrace the demagogues over Muslim center

It should surprise no one that the usual rabble-rousers of the right have raised a ruckus over plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero in New York City. That's what the Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks of the world do — seize every opportunity to spew senseless demagogy that incites fears, fans the flames of hatred and spreads divisiveness across America's political landscape. It's how they feed their insatiable egos.

What disappoints, though, is the fraidy-cat stance the two men who want to be the next U.S. senator from Kentucky have taken on the mosque plans.

"While this is a local matter that should be decided by the people of New York, Dr. Paul does not support a mosque being built two blocks from Ground Zero," a spokesman for Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul said.

Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee, expressed a similar sentiment. "I think we have to keep the families of the victims of 9/11 foremost in our minds," he told the Knox County Times-Tribune, "and because of that I would prefer to see it located elsewhere."

Paul's objection to building a mosque near Ground Zero represents pure hypocrisy, coming from a supposed libertarian who has elevated "property rights" to near-sacred status when it comes to civil rights, people with disabilities and the mountaintop removal mining that defiles the landscape and pollutes the waters of Kentucky.

Despite Paul's hypocrisy, Conway disappoints more. After all, as attorney general, he has taken an oath to uphold both the U.S. Constitution and its Kentucky counterpart. What part of those two documents' clear language on the subject of religious freedom does he not understand?

To read the complete editorial, visit www.kentucky.com.