Peter Beinart writes: What has happened in the days since [Khizr] Khan’s speech has been inspiring and disturbing too. Trump has attacked Khan, and been roundly repudiated for doing so. But most of the outrage, from both politicians and pundits, has centered on Trump’s criticism of a Gold Star family. That misses the point. There’s nothing inherently wrong with openly disagreeing with someone who has lost a child in battle. If a Gold Star father became a prominent crusader against gay marriage, those of us who support gay marriage would have every right to publicly challenge him, the magnitude of his personal loss notwithstanding.
What made Trump’s attack odious was not that he criticized a father and mother who have lost a son in war. It’s that by suggesting that Ghazala Khan was not “allowed” to speak, he recapitulated the anti-Muslim bigotry that made her convention appearance necessary in the first place. The reason politicians and pundits should embrace the Khans and repudiate Trump is not because they are Gold Star parents and he is not. It’s because they are defending religious liberty while he is menacing it.
Celebrating Khizr Khan as a Gold Star father is easy because it’s apolitical. Every American politician and pundit, no matter their ideological bent, pays homage to military families. Celebrating Khizr Khan as a champion of Muslim rights, by contrast, is harder. After all, some of the same conservatives who salute the Khans for their wartime sacrifice simultaneously demand a ban on Muslim refugees and warn about the imposition of Sharia law in the United States. [Continue reading…]