Because, apparently, like a significant chunk of the republican party, they slept through all of their classes the first time.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment XIV

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

August 13, 2010

Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner

State Dining Room

8:37 P.M. EDT

…But let me be clear.  As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.  (Applause.)  And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.  This is America.  And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.  The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.  The writ of the Founders must endure…


TPM Editors Blog

Hear Washington Speak

Josh Marshall | August 14, 2010, 12:42PM

…No doubt the president’s advisors would much have preferred not to address this at all, wish it had never come up. But it’s difficult to imagine any president doing otherwise. We learn again that saying you’re for “democratic values” and freedom actually means being for “democratic values” and freedom. Are we in the tradition of the opening and plural societies of Amsterdam and London and America? Or the closed and authoritarian ones of Madrid and Moscow? The infrastructure of the Republican party has chosen to hoist its sail to religious bigotry. There’s no other way to put it. The president has done the only thing he could possibly do which is to state clearly that we’re Americans and we don’t discriminate on the basis of religious belief…

And the whole world is watching.