Jon Stewart landed both his jokey feet on the Ground Zero Mosque controversy on The Daily Show Tuesday night. He mocked conservatives for having no respect for freedom of religion. This, from Comedy Central? The network that mocks Jesus and Christians relentlessly, but censors whenever the radical Muslims threaten them? Yes. Stewart was arguing for the “greatness” of Islam, that it should be accepted with great tolerance as a global religion – regardless of how much tolerance Islam demonstrates for freedom of religion.
Stewart mocked conservatives and Republicans. “Haven’t these people ever heard of freedom of religion? Lieutenant Goveror of Tennessee, you wanna take this one?” He ran a hacked-up snippet of GOP Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey: “I'm all about freedom of religion ...you could argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, or cult, whatever you want to call it.”
We’ll get to Stewart’s surgical removal of context later. Stewart made a shocked face, narrowed his eyes, and lectured: “I think religion is what they wanna call it. But point taken. I can see being confused with Scientology, or the thing that Madonna does with the red bracelets, or this whole Justin Bieber craze, certain World Warcraft guilds, Harry Potter book clubs. But I think over 1400 years and over a billion Twitter followers, Islam’s kind of an accepted religion now.”
Again, this is a rich line of argument coming from Stewart, whose acidulous attacks on the Roman Catholic Church hardly qualifies as treating Catholicism as an “accepted religion.” Instead, it’s a den of perverts and hypocrites. It's the "villain" that's "easy to spot."