Herman Cain ramps up the anti-Muslim bigotry, says communities should be able to ban mosques
There is ample evidence out there that Tea Party pizza mogul Herman Cain, a presidential favourite for many in the GOP, is an ignorant anti-Muslim bigot. For example, he has proposed a loyalty test for Muslim Americans who would serve in his administration (not that he'll ever be president). In this regard, he fits in nicely with the Republican Party, which houses a good deal of such bigotry, from Peter King to Allen West to Newt Gingrich to so many others, bigotry widespread throughout the grassroots.
Well, Cain is ramping up the bigotry, or at least just being more open about his own views:
Herman Cain says voters across the country should have the right to prevent Muslims from building mosques in their communities.
In an exchange on "Fox News Sunday," the Republican presidential contender said that he sided with some in a town near Nashville who were trying to prevent Muslims from worshiping in their community.
"Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state," he said. "Islam combines church and state. They're using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people of that community do not like it. They disagree with it."
Asked by host Chris Wallace if any community could ban a mosque if it wanted to, Cain said: "They have a right to do that."
Cain, an African-American who grew up during the civil rights era, claimed he was not discriminating against Muslims. He said it was "totally different" than the fight for racial equality because there were laws prohibiting blacks from advancing.
Totally different? Hardly. What we're talking about is the right to worship freely and without either government interference. And any community that were to ban a mosque would be interfering in the exercise of that right. The fact that Cain is black and supposedly knows firsthand what such discrimination is all about only adds to the craziness of his position.
What's more, Cain apparently knows nothing about Islam. Are there some Muslims who wish to combine church and state? Sure, but in America there are many more Christians who do. Is Cain proposing that communities should be permitted to ban churches? Of course not.
But this is just the sort of bigoted fearmongering that spews forth from Republicans these days: Muslims are all the same, all trying to impose Sharia law on an otherwise free society. Which, of course, is utterly ridiculous. The vast majority of American Muslims are good, decent, and honest people who only wish to live like other Americans while also being free to worship as they please. And, again, if you really want to find religious types who seek to "infuse their morals," you need look no further than the Christianist right, a core Republican consituency. They're the ones who want to restrict your freedom in the name of their "faith."
But of course it's easier to scapegoat Muslims, especially if you're a Republican trying to win over your party's core supporters. As Doug Mataconis writes at Outside the Beltway, "[t]he Herman Cain boomlet is dying, because its becoming clear that everything that comes out of his mouth is utter nonsense." Yes, the boomlet is fading, but he still has his support, which goes to show that this sort of bigoted nonsense actually has some traction in today's Republican Party.
For more, see Think Progress, which also has the video (see below). We've also written previously about the efforts to build a Muslim community center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, efforts that have met with violent resistance from locals in lockstep with the likes of Herman Cain -- see here and here.