In an interview with ABC News this morning, House Minority Leader John Boehner condemned a Florida pastor planning a September 11 Koran burning ceremony, calling the ritual “unwise.” But he also stopped short of imploring him to cancel the event — and compared the book-burning to the creation of an Islamic cultural center.
“To Pastor Jones and those who want to build the [so-called Ground Zero] Mosque,” Boehner said (drawing an equivalence between Koran burning and the Cordoba House Project in lower Manhattan) “Just because you have a right to do something in America, does not mean it’s the right thing to do. We’re a nation of religious freedom — we’re also a nation of tolerance. I think in the name of tolerance, people ought to really think about the kind of actions they’re taking.”
Pressed by host George Stephanopoulos, Boehner declined to directly ask the Pastor to cancel the event. Instead, he described the ceremony as at odds with the country’s history.
“It’s not wise to do this in the face of what our country really represents,” Boehner said.
You can see the full exchange below.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.