Jay, you are half right in discussing the reception (I’m not sure why you characterized it as a “celebration”) to be given by 25 significant religious groups for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  He is, of course, a revolting figure in so many ways.  He is the puppet of the most extreme clerics in Iran.  His comments about the Holocaust, about gay people (who don’t exist in Iran, he noted to an audience at Columbia University earlier this year), the death penalty for heretical religious views, and so many other topics should shock the conscience of any thinking persons.  It was a mistake to offer him the opportunity to give an address on any topic, including “religious contributions to peace”, a subject about which he has a monumental level of ignorance.

What is not a mistake is to have American religious figures meet with him–and ask him hard questions.  As some of the comments on your post suggest–and as I know from experience with Quaker and Mennonite groups–the President will not have a free ride anymore than the Columbia audience gave him one.  I hope that when the session is over, the religious representatives will come out and tell us what was said: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Curiously, in between my speeches in the South this week, I had a chance to see our President’s final (thank goodness) speech to the United Nations General Assembly today.  After all the distortions, fabrications and hypocritical nonsense he and Condoleeza Rice (and, yes, Colin Powell as well) have uttered about the United States’ war in Iraq, I wondered: would President Bush meet with all these peace-saturated churches?  I’m not suggesting Presidential moral equivalency here–just pointing out that for a man who believes (as Sarah Palin does) that this is a war God wanted us to fight–he should have been willing a long time ago, to get a second spiritual opinion.  Too much to ask, Jay?
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