Murfreesboro, TN (PRWEB) June 21, 2010
Congressional candidate, U.S. Marine, and Iraq War combat veteran Ben Leming expressed his disappointment at some community leaders over the recent opposition to a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro.
"Once again, fear is our enemy, not law-abiding Americans who are exercising their Constitutional right to worship freely from persecution. We must reject the loud and angry voices that manipulate and motivate people through fear. We are Americans, strong, brave, and proud. We do not fear those different from us. In America, we embrace them. Americans must not let fear dictate our actions or choices. We must show courage because that is an American value, not intolerance and hatred."
“What do we have to be afraid of? During my deployments around the world, I have worked, trained, and broken bread with Muslims. I have known their families and communities. I have fought with them and for them, as I have for this country and my fellow citizens, many of whom are also Muslims. The people that want to build a house of worship in Murfreesboro are not the enemy. Osama Bin Laden and his band of thugs and criminals are the enemy. During my fifteen years of service, I’ve studied and fought our enemies. I’m not about to stop now,” said Leming, who earned the Air Medal while flying helicopter combat missions under fire in Iraq.
“I see a lot of people quoting our Constitution these days, but only when it suits their agenda. You can’t have it both ways. I believe in the United States Constitution. I have fought and will continue to fight to uphold every single right guaranteed by it. This includes the right to worship freely. Just because we may not agree with someone’s religious views does not mean we get to decide whether they can have a place of worship in the community. This is simply un-American,” said Leming.
The Rutherford County Commission approved a proposed site for a new Islamic mosque planned for Murfreesboro in May. One local leader in the community, Pastor Allen Jackson, said “We have a duty to investigate anyone under the banner of Islam.” He went on to mention American troops in his remarks.
“I completely repudiate those statements. He does not get to speak for me or most other members of the military. I expect more from a man who should be teaching the message of tolerance, forgiveness, and love.” said Leming. "I support those leaders who voted to uphold our American values and rights. Doing the right thing, even if it is unpopular, takes courage."
Murfreesboro native Ben Leming is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and Oakland High School. On May 1st, he finished 15 years of active duty service to the nation in the Marine Corps and is now a captain in the Marine Corps Reserves. He is a Democrat running for the seat being vacated by retiring Congressman Bart Gordon in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.