Painful to even write about this:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that he’s opposed to building an Islamic center near the site of the 9/11 attacks.

Reid, who is locked in a tough reelection campaign, broke with President Obama in calling for the New York center to be built somewhere else. Obama on Friday endorsed the right of a group to build the center, which includes a prayer space, near Ground Zero.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of religion,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in a statement. “Sen. Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else.”

Sharron Angle had been pressuring Reid to pick a side in the controversy for the last week. Seeing that Reid came around to her position on the matter, surely she will now quit the race and join the Senate Majority Leader’s staff.

Senator Reid is a Mormon. They are a religious minority in the United States. Individual Mormons have been responsible for violent crimes, and members of the faith have perverted the religion for their own criminal ends. Under Reid’s thinking, it would be insensitive to build any Mormon churches in Utah County, Utah, or Colorado City, Arizona, or Hildale, Utah, because of the insensitivity of building a shrine so close to where the Lafferty brothers or Warren Jeffs committed their atrocities.

Is that where we want to go in this country? Do we want to measure whether or not to allow places of worship based on the acts of individuals connected with the faith? There would sure be a lot less Christian churches and cathedrals in America, in that case, given all the prisoners in US jails practicing that faith, not to mention mosques, synagogues and Hindu temples.

At the root, what we have is a typical dynamic of conservative fearmongering and Democratic squirming.

UPDATE: I should add Jim Manley’s entire statement, which includes a total non sequitur about a first responder’s bill that has never come up for a vote in the Senate:

“The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else. If the Republicans are being sincere, they would help us pass this long overdue bill to help the first responders whose health and livelihoods have been devastated because of their bravery on 911, rather than continuing to block this much-needed legislation.”

Harry Reid has never brought the 9/11 aid bill to the floor and is only thinking about it now.