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July 17, 2011

Herman Cain: Communities Have The Right To Ban Mosques

This guy is not longer a joke, he's simply despicable.

Chris Wallace asked Herman Cain about a mosque being built in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. After arguing that Islam doesn't qualify as a religion or something under the 1st Amendment, they got to the heart of the matter.

So Wallace asked the inevitable question: does any community have the right to ban mosques? “Yes, they have a right to do that,” Cain replied, without skipping a beat. He later added that, while he is not willing to discriminate based on religion, “I’d rather err on the side of caution.”

Cain has a rather convoluted understanding of the US Constitution, at least when it comes to it's applicability to Muslims in this country.

I didn't like John McCain's attempts to rewrite the 1st Amendment through campaign finance reform laws and I don't like candidates for President like Cain who think some people may only build houses of worship at the sufferance of their fellow citizens.

Yes, mosques must follow the same laws and regulations as any other religion nor should they be granted any special consideration because in some areas Islam is "the de facto state religion". But the wholesale banning of them because people don't like Muslims or what they believe in? I'll stand with the Constitution.

Guys like Cain profess to revere the US Constitution yet they are strangely willing to ignore it when it either suits their personal beliefs or political needs. Personally, I'd prefer to live the selective and creative interpretations of the plain meaning of those indecipherable old words to liberals.

Below the fold, a personal story.

I haven't been following this particular mosque building controversy but a couple of years ago I had the chance to get to know a woman from that area whose son was serving in Iraq. It was probably about 2005 and I was trying to raise money to do a documentary about National Guard troops being deployed.

If you recall, in the early days of Iraqi Freedom we were relying heavily on Guard troops. I wanted to focus on the 'citizen soldiers' and some of the outreach efforts they were doing to Iraqi civilians. It was ad-hoc COIN before COIN was cool.

At the time, I was trying to collect stories that I wanted to include in the project. One of the people I got connected to was a woman from around Murfeesboro. Her church had decided to collect goodies for the troops and send it to them during the deployment. She told her son to ask his fellow soldiers what kind of things they wanted. He met with the unit;s Chaplin and they talked to the guys about creating a list. What they decided was that instead of asking for comfort items for themselves, they'd have their families to send stuff for the Iraqi civilians they were meeting. Her son said, yes we have it rough compared to what we're used to but we'll be out of here soon enough. These people have never had anything so let's help them while we can.

What happened then was the church back home would get a list every month or so and send it around the community. On Sundays they'd set up big collection bins and when they were filled they'd ship it off to Iraq.

After one or two of these shipments this woman got worried that maybe the clothes or books they were sending were some how culturally inappropriate. She wasn't sure what to do so she decided to call the Islamic center a few towns over (it might be this one, I don't remember the exact towns). She told me she was nervous because she'd never met a Muslim before and was worried that maybe he was anti-war and would be angry that her son was in Iraq.

She eventually called and told the Imam the story. About half way in, he stopped her and said, "I'd be happy to help but more importantly...is your son ok? Is he well?" She told me she broke down crying on the phone. In retrospect she couldn't believe she was worried about talking to this man.

Eventually the Imam would come to their church to meet the people who had given so much to people they had never and would never meet. In return some folks went to his mosque or Islamic center. The families of some of the soldiers got to meet people with relatives who were from the area their loved were stationed in and that it helped them get through their loved ones deployment.

Now look, this is one anecdote that's 6 or so years old and I'm enough of a cold hearted conservative to know there are plenty of bad actors in the world. Or that every mosque is simply about "peace and outreach". Maybe things got in the area after the brutal years of 06-07, I don't know.

Still, I'll always remember this story, especially her voice as she choked up at the memory of her first conversation with an actual Muslim. I'll be damned if I think letting a fool like Cain rewrite the Constitution would make things better.

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posted by DrewM. at 01:22 PM

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