Archive for Constitution

Over the Rainbow in Kansas, pt.2: Gov. Brownback Signs Bill Aimed at Blocking Sharia

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Gov. Brownback has signed the bill passed by the Kansas legislature aimed at blocking “foreign law” (i.e. the non-existent “sharia threat”) in Kansas.

It will likely be challenged in Kansas courts:

Kan. gov. signs measure blocking Islamic law

BY JOHN HANNA (Kansas City Star)

TOPEKA, KAN. – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a law aimed at keeping the state’s courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes, and a national Muslim group’s spokesman said Friday that a court challenge is likely.

The new law, taking effect July 1, doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

“This bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws,” said Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law. “The bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion.”

But supporters have worried specifically about Shariah law being applied in Kansas court cases, and the alliance says on its website that it wants to protect Americans’ freedoms from “infiltration” by foreign laws and legal doctrines, “especially Islamic Shariah Law.”

Brownback’s office notified the state Senate of his decision Friday, but he actually signed the measure Monday. The governor’s spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, said in a statement that the bill “makes it clear that Kansas courts will rely exclusively on the laws of our state and our nation when deciding cases and will not consider the laws of foreign jurisdictions.”

Muslim groups had urged Brownback to veto the measure, arguing that it promotes discrimination. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a court challenge is likely because supporters of the measure frequently expressed concern about Shariah law.

Hooper said of Brownback, “If he claims it has nothing to do with Shariah or Islamic law or Muslims, then he wasn’t paying attention.”

Both the Washington-based council and the National Conference of State Legislatures say such proposals have been considered in 20 states, including Kansas. Gele said laws similar to Kansas’ new statute have been enacted in Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee.

Oklahoma voters approved a ballot initiative in 2010 that specifically mentioned Shariah law, but both a federal judge and a federal appeals court blocked it.

There are no known cases in which a Kansas judge has based a ruling on Islamic law. However, supporters of the bill have cited a pending case in Sedgwick County in which a man seeking to divorce his wife has asked for property to be divided under a marriage contract in line with Shariah law.

Supporters argue the measure simply ensures that legal decisions will protect long-cherished liberties, such as freedom of speech and religion and the right to equal treatment under the law. Gele said the measure would come into play if someone wanted to enforce a libel judgment against an American from a foreign nation without the same free speech protections.

“It is perfectly constitutional,” he said.

The House approved the bill unanimously and the Senate, with broad, bipartisan support. Even some legislators who were skeptical of it believed it was broad and bland enough that it didn’t represent a specific political attack on Muslims.

“This disturbing recent trend of activist judges relying upon the laws of other nations has been rejected by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the Kansas House and Senate,” Jones-Sontag said.

The measure’s chief sponsor, Rep. Peggy Mast, an Emporia Republican, also has said all Kansans, including Muslims, should be comfortable with the new law, but she did not immediately respond Friday to telephone and email messages seeking comment.

Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, acknowledged that the measure merely “made some people happy” and that a vote against it could be cast politically as a vote in favor of Shariah law.

“Am I really concerned that Shariah law is going to take over the Kansas courts? No,” he said. “I’m more concerned about getting jobs to Kansas.”

The Michigan-based alliance advocates model “American Law for American Courts” legislation. Its website says, “America has unique values of liberty which do not exist in foreign legal systems, particularly Shariah Law.”

During the Kansas Senate’s debate on the bill earlier this month, Sen. Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican described a vote for the measure as a vote for women’s rights, adding, “They stone women to death in countries that have Shariah law.”

Hooper said supporters of such proposals have made it clear they are targeting Islamic law.

“Underlying all of this is demonizing Islam and marginalizing American Muslims,” he said.

Islamist Party Says Islamic Law Doesn’t Need to be Enshrined in New Tunisian Constitution

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by loonwatch

rachid_ghannouchi1

Ennahda Party leader Rachid Ghannouchi

I think someone’s head just exploded in the anti-Muslim movement.

They have zero understanding of the differing histories, philosophies or political thought of the various Islamist trends within the Muslim world. To them Islamists are all AlQaeda or some other such offshoot.

Of course, the hatemongers will revert to form and declare that this is all just taqiya, they will be unable to explain why, when Ennahda has a clear majority and is in a position to implement whatever they want, they instead forge a national unity government. They will also be unable to explain why Ennahda says their position are in line with Islamic values and principles.

Islamic Law Won’t Be Basis of New Tunisian Constitution

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Islamic law will not be enshrined in Tunisia’s new constitution, preserving the secular basis of the North African nation, Tunisia’s ruling Islamist Ennahda Party said Monday.

The first article of the new constitution would remain the same as in the 1959 version and it will not call for Shariah, Islamic law, to be the source of all legislation, as many conservatives had wanted.

The decision marks a break between the moderate Islamist Ennahda and an increasingly vocal minority of ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis who have been demanding Islamic law in a country long known for its progressive traditions.

“We do not want Tunisian society to be divided into two ideologically opposed camps, one pro-Shariah and one anti-Shariah,” said Rachid al-Ghannoushi, the founder of the Ennahda Party in a press conference. “We want above all a constitution that is for all Tunisians, whatever their convictions.”

He added that in his opinion, 90 percent of Tunisia’s existing legislation was already in line with the precepts of Islamic law.

Ziad Doulatli, another party leader, told The Associated Press that decision was taken so as to “unite a large majority of the political forces to confront the country’s challenges.”

“The Tunisian experience can serve as a model for other countries going through similar transformations,” he added.

In Egypt, as well as many other Muslim countries, Shariah is enshrined in the constitution as the source of all legislation.

Under more than 50 years of secular dictatorship, Tunisia stood out in the Arab world for its progressive laws, especially regarding the status of women. Many leftists and liberals feared this would be rolled back with the victory of an Islamist party at the polls.

Ennahda, however, has always pledged to maintain the character of the state and formed a coalition government with two secular parties.

The decision, however, is bound to provoke a backlash from the Salafis — some 10,000 of whom demonstrated Sunday in Tunis, the capital, calling for Islamic law.

Despite their numerous demonstrations, the degree of support that the Salafis have from the broader Tunisian society is not clear. Ennahda’s decision to spurn their demands suggests they do not have widespread appeal.

The first article of Tunisia’s constitution states that “Tunisia is a free, sovereign and independent state, whose religion is Islam, language is Arabic and has a republican regime.”

Tunisians overthrew their dictatorship in a popular uprising last year that inspired pro-democracy movements across North African and the Middle East.

In October, they elected a new assembly to govern as well as write the country’s new constitution. Secular and Islamist groups have been holding demonstrations to influence the new document.

According to Fadhel Moussa of the leftist Democratic Modernist Axis, the agreement on the first article settles a long debate in the assembly and opens the way to creating the rest of the new constitution.

Why you shouldn’t tell American border guards you’re in Islamic Studies

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by loonwatch

Why you shouldn’t tell American border guards you’re in Islamic Studies

by ANDREANNE STEWART

On May 1, 2010, Pascal Abidor was riding an Amtrak train from Montreal to New York. His parents live in Brooklyn, and he was on his way to visit them. The school year at McGill had just ended, and he felt relieved and calm as the train rolled south towards America.

At about 11 a.m., the train arrived at the U.S. border and made a routine stop. A team of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers boarded the train and advanced through each car, questioning passengers. Pascal had made this trip countless times before, so when a customs officer approached him, he didn’t give it a second thought.

But Pascal had never met Officer Tulip.

After looking over Pascal’s U.S. passport and customs declaration, Officer Tulip asked two simple questions: Where do you live, and why?

Pascal answered that he lived in Canada. He lived in Canada because that’s where he was pursuing a PhD in Islamic Studies.

Next, she asked him where he had traveled in the previous year, and he answered Jordan and Lebanon. He showed her his French passport (he’s a dual citizen) with the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” stamp, and the Lebanese stamp with the little cedar tree on top.

That didn’t help. Officer Tulip immediately told him to grab his things and follow her to the train’s cafe car. Pascal gathered his luggage, but Officer Tulip carried the bag containing his laptop. At the time, he thought she was just being helpful.

In the cafe car, they were joined by five or six more CBP officers. Pascal sat across from Officer Tulip as she took out his laptop, turned it on, and asked him to enter his password, which he did.

As she scrolled through the contents of his computer, Pascal could only see her reaction. Officer Tulip signaled to her colleagues and pointed at something on the screen. She then turned to Pascal and demanded an explanation.

Pascal was now surrounded by half a dozen suspicious American border police, staring at photos – on his laptop – of Hamas and Hezbollah rallies.

Where had he gotten “this stuff,” Officer Tulip asked. Pascal explained that his PhD research is on the Shiites of modern Lebanon. This was not, in her books, a good answer. Finally, the officers told Pascal that he would have to leave the train with them.

“Take me off the train, I’ll walk back to Montreal,” Pascal offered. Given what he would go through in the next few hours, Pascal might well have preferred the walk.

Instead, he was frisked, with particular vigor around his genitals. Then he was handcuffed. Pascal winced.

As they led him off the train, the officers draped a coat over his bound wrists. They claimed it was to spare him the embarrassment of a perp walk. But as Pascal walked past the train’s windows, he tried to show the passengers that he was cuffed. He hadn’t done anything wrong, and he wanted witnesses.

Pascal was then loaded into the back of a van. Oddly, as one of the officers tried to close the van’s side door, it fell clean off. It could have been a moment of levity in a grim situation. But Pascal didn’t dare laugh.

The Detention Cell

When they arrived at the Champlain Port of Entry, Pascal was put in a five-by-ten foot cell with cinder block walls and a steel-reinforced door. He was told to wait. He stayed in the cell for about an hour. Officers came in at random intervals to ask him questions.

“I thought I was going to throw up,” he said. “I thought I was going to be sent to Guantanamo Bay.”

Pascal was then removed from the cell and brought to an interrogation room, complete with florescent lighting and a two-way mirror. He sat across from two CBP officers – Officer Tulip and a man named Officer Sweet – while another officer sat at the end of the table, seemingly in case Pascal got violent.

“They thought I was straight-up dangerous,” Pascal said.

Then the real interrogation began, an hour and a half of intensive questioning. Where was he born? Where were his parents born? What religion was he raised with? Had he ever been to a rally in the Middle East? Had he heard any anti-American statements in the Middle East? Had he ever seen an American flag burned? Had he ever been to a mosque? But the questions always came back to the same point – why Islamic Studies?

“I want to be an academic – this is just what I happen to be an academic in,” Pascal told them.

His answers seemed to fall on deaf ears. The interrogation continued. It was the same questions, over and over. They were looking for him to make a mistake.

They soon fell into a good-cop, bad-cop routine.

“He thought I was cool,” Pascal said of Officer Sweet. Officer Tulip, on the other hand, “thought I was the most evil person. She thought I was a movie villain or something.”

They claimed Pascal’s dual citizenship made him untraceable. They suggested he was attractive “to both sides.” Pascal was baffled. Both sides of what?

Finally, after about three hours in detention, he was released. But there was a catch – the CBP was keeping his laptop and hard drive.

Pascal was enraged. While he had been waiting in the cell, Pascal had given some thought to what he would say to the officers once he was free. Now, with his anger compounded by the loss of his computer, Pascal delivered a blistering speech, directed at his arch-nemesis, Officer Tulip.

“I ripped into her,” he said. “She just stood there, [then] walked away.”

When an FBI agent came up to him and attempted to apologize, Pascal stopped him mid-sentence. “I don’t want to hear your apology,” he told the agent.

Before he left, he was given his camera and his two cell phones. There was a scratch on the back of one of the phones, as if someone had tried to open it.

Taking Legal Action

After being released from detention, Pascal hitched a ride on the next bus with an open seat that came through the checkpoint. He arrived in New York at midnight. That night, he had trouble sleeping, as he would have for the next week or so.

The next morning, he sat down and wrote eleven single-spaced pages detailing exactly what had happened to him. The day after that, he began making phone calls to state senators and advocacy organizations in the hope of finding someone who would help him. Lots of them were interested in his case, including Anthony Weiner, the former New York Congressman.

Finally, Pascal settled on the ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the oldest and largest civil liberties organization in the United States. Free speech cases are its bread and butter. And they told Pascal that his right to free speech, protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution, had been violated.

Two days after his first phone call with the ACLU, Pascal was in downtown Manhattan, sitting in a meeting with a team of lawyers. The first thing they did was to write a letter to the CBP demanding that they return Pascal’s laptop. The day after the letter was sent, Pascal got a call from the CBP asking him where they should overnight his belongings.

But at this point, the damage was done. When the laptop arrived in the mail, the seam between the keyboard and the outer case that led to the internal hard drive appeared to have widened. The warranty seal on his external hard drive had been broken open, too. The government had already searched, and, they later conceded, made copies of Pascal’s electronic life.

Pascal and the ACLU were incensed. His laptop contained intimate personal information: chat logs with his girlfriend, university transcripts, his tax returns.

The problem was, everything Homeland Security had done was completely by the book.

 

The Policy

In August 2009, the Department of Homeland Security enacted a policy that allows for the search and seizure of electronic devices at the border without reasonable suspicion. Under the policy, the DHS can detain any electronic device indefinitely, and copy and share the information it contains. Between October 1, 2008 and June 2, 2010, more than 6,500 people had their electronic devices searched at U.S. border stops.

It was under this policy that Pascal’s laptop and hard drive were searched and detained.

Upon the enactment of the policy, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that, “keeping Americans safe in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully screen materials entering the United States. The new directives announced today strike the balance between respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all travelers, while ensuring DHS can take the lawful actions necessary to secure our borders.”

The policy makes a point of specifying that, “at no point during a border search of electronic devices is it necessary to ask the traveler for consent to search.”

This struck the ACLU as deeply unconstitutional. So they and Pascal decided to sue Janet Napolitano, Director of Homeland Security, to challenge the constitutionality of the policy.

In September 2010, they filed their “complaint” against Napolitano, the legal document that kicks off a lawsuit. The ACLU argued that the DHS policy violates the First and Fourth Amendments, which guarantee free speech and protection against unreasonable search and seizure respectively.

The U.S. government tried to get the case thrown out, arguing that while Pascal’s story was true, the government’s actions had not broken any laws.

On the question of the Fourth Amendment, the government effectively said that just about any kind of search is legal at the border, in the name of national sovereignty.

“Searches made at the border, pursuant to the long standing right of the sovereign to protect itself by stopping and examining persons and property crossing into this country, are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border,” the government wrote in its Motion to Dismiss, the legal maneuver for getting a case thrown out.

With regard to the First Amendment, the Motion to Dismiss stated that, “an otherwise valid search under the Fourth Amendment, does not violate the First Amendment rights of an individual – even a completely innocent individual – simply because the search uncovers expressive material.”

In other words, a border search is a border search is a border search.

And it’s true that all travelers are subject to a routine search at the border, whether or not there’s suspicion of wrongdoing.

But while the U.S. government argues that the search of laptops should be considered a part of these routine searches, the ACLU says these searches are more invasive and therefore must be held to a higher standard.

“It is different to go through someone’s shoes and contact solution, than to go through all the documents on their computer,” said Catherine Crump, one of Pascal’s ACLU lawyers.

Last July, Pascal and his ACLU lawyers went to a courtroom in Brooklyn to argue against throwing out their case. The judge has still not come to a decision.

Meanwhile, the DHS policy remains on the books. Laptops and cell phones continue to be detained and searched without reasonable suspicion at the U.S. border.

Pascal, for his part, hasn’t had a normal border-crossing since that May 1 morning. “Now, every time I cross the border, I get harassed,” he said.

In December 2010, he was crossing the border with his father. The border guards began interrogating him in unusual ways. “They refused to believe my dad was my dad,” he said. “If you saw my dad, you could not believe we were not related.”

The guards then searched the car top to bottom, and made the Abidors wait at the checkpoint for two hours.

“This is about lowering the threshold of what is acceptable to us,” Pascal said of his treatment at the hands of the CBP. “You can’t have rights and then selectively apply them.”

This is Why Radical Christians are One of the Greatest Threats to the US Constitution

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2012 by loonwatch

Santorum_Separation_Church_and_State

Rick Santorum on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos

For the past several years Loonwatch writers have repeatedly made the very “significant” (and obvious) point that radical Christian Islamophobes seek to undermine the constitution of the USA by entangling church and state; i.e. undermining the separation of Church and State.

We have also pointed out that the fervent fear-mongering about “Islamization,” a fairytale concept, is nothing more than projection on the part of these radicals. (Propaganda about the “Islamization” of the USA is even more ridiculous when one considers history; the fact that America was forcibly “Christianized” by colonial settlers and their offspring.)

Many Radical Christians today believe America has changed too much and that the superior place of Christianity needs to be reasserted, i.e. re-Christianization. Not only does this thought permeate the GOP, it has infact captured the GOP. This much is clear from the ongoing reality TV circus known as the Republican primary debates.

Take Rick Santorum, it was recently revealed that he “felt like throwing up” when he first read JFK’s famous speech on the separation of church and state. He was questioned about this by George Stephanopoulos, Santorum replied that he felt like vomiting after reading the first substantive line of the speech in which JFK said, “Apparently it is important for me to state again, not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me, but what kind of America I believe in. I believe in an America in which the separation between church and state is absolute. Santorum went on to say,

I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.

This is a leading Republican candidate for the presidency saying this, it’s not something that should be simply ignored. Can one imagine if Rep.Keith Ellison, a Muslim Congressman had said the above? For a surety the Islamophobesphere would be flailing wildly about “Islamization” and the impending Sharia take over in Ellison’s home state of Minnesota.

One must also ask where is the condemnation from loons such as Robert Spencer, a fellow Catholic? We can answer our own question, Spencer is not interested in condemning this threat because he likely agrees with Santorum. Spencer in the past has spoken in forums where he has agreed with other speakers attacking the Enlightenment. His attacks weren’t of the philosophical post-modernist variety either but couched in defense of the faith rhetoric. As I wrote at the time,

Spencer agrees with Professor Kreeft regarding the Enlightenment being a threat to Catholicism though he didn’t explicitly say that Islam was less of a threat. I can see how Ultra-Conservative Catholics may rail against the Enlightenment, it was the era which saw a secularist revolt in the name of reason against the Catholic Church and which led to formulas for the Separation of Church and State, it also witnessed the decline of the power of the Catholic Church in the temporal realm.

Coming back to the main topic, I don’t believe Santorum misspoke. I don’t believe Santorum misunderstood what JFK meant or the impetus behind why he gave that famous 1960 speech. I don’t believe Santorum was making a point about how voices of faith need to be heard in the public square, etc.

Santorum believes America is a Christian country, he believes the “founding fathers” meant for it to stay that way and in fact supported such a notion. I am not sure whether Santorum follows the Dominionist ideology, (an ideology that seems to plague Protestants mostly), but he clearly believes the Church has a part to play in the operation of government.

This incident reveals the deep hypocrisy and faux loyalty to the Constitution amongst many of the Islamophobes and the populist politicians who are riding the Islam/Muslim-bashing wave. Islam and Muslims are being used as a distraction that serves to 1.) make us lose sight of the real issues, and 2.) covers a darker intent of reconquista, rechristianization by any means necessary.

Lastly, I want to clarify that this post is obviously not an attack on Christianity and should not be understood that way. The great majority of Christians are as repulsed as any other citizen when they hear such inanities spewing forth from the mouths of politicians speaking in the name of their faith. They are also on the front lines actively fighting this scourge.

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A very good video from the Young Turks on Rick Santorum’s attack on the Separation of Church and State:

Muslim Scholars Issue Fatwa Declaring No Conflict Between Islamic Law And U.S. Constitution

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by loonwatch
President Obama hosts Iftar dinner at White House for American Muslims during Ramadan.President Obama hosts Iftar dinner at White House for American Muslims during Ramadan.
http://www.5min.com/Video/Study-Muslim-Americans-Experience-a-Mixed-Bag-517153474

Muslim Scholars Issue Fatwa Declaring No Conflict Between Islamic Law And U.S. Constitution

Islamic scholars tired of conservative charges that Muslims in the United States constitute a radical fifth column bent on subverting American values and obligated by their religion to launch jihadist terror attacks are fighting back by issuing a fatwa.

The Islamic religious ruling, a “Resolution On Being Faithful Muslims and Loyal Americans,” is a response to what its authors call “erroneous perceptions and Islamophobic propaganda” that has built up for a decade following the 9/11 attacks and subsequent terrorist plots by adherents of al-Qaida and other extremist groups. It was issued in Virginia late last month by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), a group of Islamic scholars who meet several times a year to draft opinions on issues of concern to American Muslims.

“As a body of Islamic scholars, we the members of FCNA believe that it is false and misleading to suggest that there is a contradiction between being faithful Muslims committed to God (Allah) and being loyal American citizens,” the fatwa declared.

“Islamic teachings require respect of the laws of the land where Muslims live as minorities, including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so long as there is no conflict with Muslims’ obligation for obedience to God. We do not see any such conflict with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The primacy of obedience to God is a commonly held position of many practicing Jews and Christians as well.”

Muslims make up less than 1 percent of the nation, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, yet the fast-growing community has been a constant target of right-wing groups. From protests against the so-called “ground zero mosque,” to efforts in more than a dozen states to ban Sharia lawin courts, to recent Capitol Hill hearings on Islamic radicalization that brought comparisons to McCarthyism, Muslims have had to assert their loyalty.

And that troubles members of the Los Angeles Police Department, who in recent years have been at the forefront in building bridges to the Muslims in order to combat radicalization and enlist the community in the fight against terrorism.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and other law enforcement officials will attend a meeting Thursday at the Islamic Center of Reseda to talk about the new fatwa as part of his department’s Muslim Community Forum. Muzammil Siddiqi, director of religious affairs of The Islamic Society of Orange County and the president of the Fiqh Council of North America, will be on hand to discuss the origins of the fatwa.

For many non-Muslims, perhaps the best-known fatwa was the one against authorSalman Rushdie for his book ”The Satanic Verses.” Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared it blasphemous and called for Rushdie’s death.

This new decree might face a warmer welcome.

“We’re always fighting two sides of extremism. There’s the violent ideological side and the neo-conservative side that is creating hate campaigns against American Muslims …which is a bunch of BS,” said Michael Downing, commander of the LAPD’s Counter Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau. “The majority of American Muslims are as patriotic as you and I. This declaration says it is not a conflict to be a faithful Muslim and loyal American.”
http://www.5min.com/Video/Muslim-Event-Condemns-Terrorism-517166793

Herman Cain: Americans Can Stop Mosques

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by loonwatch

This is a GOP candidate who is getting 6% of the popular vote right now, and this sort of rhetoric is acceptable for a large portion of Americans.

Herman Cain: Americans Can Stop Mosques

Herman Cain said Sunday that Americans should be able to ban Muslims from building mosques in their communities.

“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state,” Cain said in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “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.”

Last week, the Republican presidential candidate expressed criticism of a planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, telling reporters at a campaign event that “This is just another way to try to gradually sneak Sharia law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that.”

“This isn’t an innocent mosque,” Cain said.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Wallace pressed him about those comments.

“Let’s go back to the fundamental issue,” Cain said. “Islam is both a religion and a set of laws — Sharia laws. That’s the difference between any one of our traditional religions where it’s just about religious purposes.”

“So, you’re saying that any community, if they want to ban a mosque…” Wallace began.

“Yes, they have the right to do that,” Cain said.

Cain has made a number of controversial comments about Muslims, including a vow to be cautious about allowing a Muslim to serve in his administration.

On Sunday, Cain defended his position, telling Wallace that it’s not discrimination.

“Aren’t you willing to restrict people because of their religion?” Wallace asked.

“I’m willing to take a harder look at people who might be terrorists, that’s what I’m saying,” Cain replied. “Look, I know that there’s a peaceful group of Muslims in this country. God bless them and they’re free to worship. If you look at my career I have never discriminated against anybody, because of their religion, sex or origin or anything like that.”

“I’m simply saying I owe it to the American people to be cautious because terrorists are trying to kill us,” Cain said, “so yes I’m going to err on the side of caution rather than on the side of carelessness.”

Original post: Herman Cain: Americans Have The Right To Ban Mosques In Their Communities

Gov. Rick Perry, Violating Church-State Separation by Supporting Extremist Christians

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2011 by loonwatch

The story below from AlterNet is a must read, I don’t know why it is not being covered more. This is a clear and bold example of a high ranking politician meddling in religion and thereby comprising the separation between Church and State. If that wasn’t bad enough he happens to be propping up one of the most extremist, dominionist organizations and movements in the country, the AFA.

AFA is the same group whose rising star is the repugnant Bryan Fischer. Fischer has made radically hateful comments about Muslims and Gays. In light of the fact that the Islamophobesphere and twitterati are up in arms about the Imam who made homophobic statements, where is the outrage over Gov. Rick Perry? This is an issue that effects us ten times more than some Imam making bigoted remarks.

Interestingly enough I have just found out that Bruce Bawer, (a friend of Robert Spencer’s, who thinks the West is “appeasing Islam”) is now blogging on Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish. Just today, under a blog titled “Islamophobia,” Bawer writes somewhat misleadingly that if you object to an Imam who preaches intolerance of gays you will be labeled an “Islamophobe.” How ridiculous is that?

I tweeted back, “Bigotry does not make bigotry OK. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Homophobia does not justify #Islamophobia and vice versa.”

No response yet. However, I noticed that neither Andrew Sullivan or any of his fellow bloggers at the Daily Dish have commented on Gov.Rick Perry’s endorsement of AFA or full frontal assault on the separation of Religion and State.

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Bizarre, Fringe Mass Prayer Rally — What Happened to No Gov Meddling in Religion?

Gov. Rick Perry’s call for a day-long event of prayer and fasting Aug. 6 at a sports stadium in Houston is a dramatic escalation of government meddling in religion.

AlterNet / By Rob Boston

American politicians love to invoke religion, and a generic form of an alleged “one-size-fits-all” piety is so common that scholars have even give it a fancy name: ceremonial deism.

Ceremonial deism is what explains “In God We Trust” on our money, “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance and the tendency of presidents and governors to attend interfaith prayer services whenever there’s a natural disaster.

Despite its short-comings – ceremonial deism doesn’t offer much to non-believers, for example, and many devoutly religious people find it sterile and bland – the practice at least recognizes that religious beliefs come in many forms. Thus, God is appealed to but not Jesus. Prayers are “non-sectarian.”

What’s planned for Texas in August is not ceremonial deism. It’s something else entirely. And it’s a big problem.

Gov. Rick Perry’s call for a day-long event of prayer and fasting Aug. 6 at a sports stadium in Houston is a dramatic escalation of government meddling in religion. Called “The Response,” the event is being coordinated by the American Family Association (AFA), an extreme Religious Right group, as well as other far-right religious groups and figures with controversial theological and political ideas. The rally is exclusively Christian in nature; in fact, it reflects a certain type of Christianity – the fringes of fundamentalism.

What brought this about? Perry’s theological allies claim that America is being punished by God for its wicked ways. They see a national day of repentance as the solution.

On The Response’s website, Perry writes, “Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”

Of course, this could be just a sheer political ploy. Perry has been openly flirting with a presidential run, and this event could be little more than an effort to curry favor with the Religious Right in advance of that.

Regardless, word is spreading quickly among the religio-political right. Potential attendees to The Response are told to bring a Bible and encouraged to fast – although there will be a few food vendors on site for those who can’t or won’t. The groups behind this effort tend to come from the fringes of Christianity that are obsessed with things like prophecy, direct messages from God, faith healing and so on. These charismatic Christians emphasize a highly charged form of worship that stresses emotional outbursts and a theology of judgment. They seem to be convinced that God has it in for America, mainly because we permit legal abortion, tolerate gays and have a secular government.

Many churches in America preach this theology, and Americans are free to attend these houses of worship and hear it whenever they like. But government endorsement of this sectarian message goes too far – and that’s why more and more people are speaking out over Perry’s prayer confab.

Mainline Christian, non-Christian and secularist groups have protested the Perry event – and rightly so. Perry and his supporters don’t try to downplay the proselytizing nature of the event; in fact, they brag about it. They say non-Christians are welcome to attend to hear a message about redemption through Christ.

Perry defended the event, tellingThe New York Times, “It is Christian-centered, yes, but I have invited and welcome people of all faiths to attend.” He also brushed off charges that the AFA is extreme, calling it “a group that promotes faith and strong families, and this event is about bringing Americans together in prayer.”

Read the rest at AlterNet