MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Barry Goldwater said famously in his 1964 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

Our liberty also defends the right of extremism to exist, no matter how misguided, abhorrently selfish and dangerous. Nowhere is that more the case than with a limelight-loving, small-town preacher in Florida, who has the whole world wondering if he will in fact burn the Quran.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has received intense criticism for defending the right of a Muslim group to build a mosque by Ground Zero, defends Pastor Terry Jones’s right to take a step that could create worldwide outrage and even as the U.S. military has said, put American troops at risk.

“In a strange way I’m here to defend his right to do that. I happen to think that it is distasteful,” Bloomberg added, “the First Amendment protects everybody, you can’t say that we’re going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement.”

Magnified by nonstop focus of news media outlets in a 24/7 news cycle, Pastor Terry Jones has the nation, even the world watching. With the enormous freedoms we enjoy as Americans comes great responsibility. A lesson clearly lost on Florida’s Pastor Jones.

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV


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