Top “Good News” Stories From This Week
A lot went on this week, but here are the three top stories in the news that should probably give you some good hope for the future.
1. “Yes” To A Mosque Near Ground Zero
The proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero got the green light from the City of New York on Tuesday. Controversy over having the mosque built close to the site of the 9/11 attacks had been fueled by the right-wing and even by the Anti-Defamation League which came out against it just weeks before the city was to vote on the project.
The mosque’s mission is to serve as a place where people from different religious backgrounds can find common ground.
The supporters, including Mayor Bloomberg defended the mosque against the divisive arguments from people like Sarah Palin who asked New Yorkers to turn against the project.
“Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing,” Palin tweeted.
After the vote approving the project, Mayor Bloomberg issued a brilliant speech just to set the record straight. Here is some of what he said:
“Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values – and play into our enemies’ hands – if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists – and we should not stand for that.”
2. “No” to Proposition 8 in California
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in California is unconstitutional.
Proposition 8 was approved by voters last November. The anti-gay-marriage campaign received thousands of dollars from conservative religious organizations to run ads saying that children would be “forced” to learn about gay marriage in schools and that marriage is only for a man and a woman.
But Judge Walker’s decision stated that Proposition 8 violates the 14th Amendment which offers equal protection under the law. And, that what some see as “moral” is not basis for denying equal rights.
Here is part of Judge Walker’s ruling:
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples.
3. “Yes” To Kagan
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted to approve Elena Kagan to the highest court of the land.
After right-wing hysteria that Kagan was yet another “activist” seeking to fulfill some liberal agenda, and rumors that she is a lesbian, Democrats and a few Republicans approved her candidacy to the Supreme Court, 63-37.
This was yet another victory for President Obama who has now managed to get two women to the high court (Sonia Sotomayor was appointed last year).
After a swear in ceremony on Saturday, the 50-year old will become the 3rd woman in the current Supreme Court.
Here is some of what President Obama said after the vote:
Today’s vote wasn’t just an affirmation of Elena’s intellect and accomplishment, it was also an affirmation of her character and her temperament, her open-mindedness and even-handedness.
Oh boy, what a week. Let’s pop open that champagne!