Freedom of religion for Christians has been under attack for some time, but liberal opinion makers haven't evinced much concern. Indeed, judging by their non-reaction to the fining or jailing of Christian pastors in Canada and Europe who have spoken out against same-sex marriage, the opinion elites seem perfectly willing to sacrifice Christian religious freedom on the altar of gay rights.
But when it comes to the religious freedom of Muslims, it's a different matter. As a result of the Ground Zero mosque controversy, the liberal elites have suddenly become stout defenders of religious freedom. Moreover, they seem to have taken an absolutist stance on its meaning. Although the politicians and pundits who defend the mosque builders rail against extremists, they themselves have adopted an extremist interpretation of religious freedom—one which makes it equivalent to carte blanche.
Like the highly prized "letters of transit" in Casablanca, the words "freedom of religion" now seem to confer unlimited authority. "They cannot be rescinded, not even questioned," says Signor Ugarte of the letters of transit. Apparently, the same now holds true for religious freedom. If you're an Imam, all you have to do is show your First Amendment papers, and you can build your mosque wherever you like—no questions asked.