Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Herman Cain is a bigot

There was a time in this country when a bigot who wanted to run for president had to hide or camouflage his feelings.  He had to pretend an egalitarianism in which he didn't believe and disguise his prejudices as a strong belief in states' rights.  Not this year though.  At least not in the Republican Party.  No, indeed, this year Republicans are more than happy to welcome bigots to the fray, especially bigots who hate gays or Muslims.  And most especially anyone who hates both.

The most egregious example of this hate-filled philosophy is Herman Cain, although he certainly isn't the only practitioner in the race.  Over the weekend, Cain carefully explained to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that in America it is fully permitted for any community to ban a mosque. Thus he casually tosses aside the Constitution and more than two centuries of judicial interpretation of the right to freedom of religion.

His reasoning is that Islam is both a religion and a "law" and laws which contradict our own can be banned.    In his column in the Washington Post yesterday, Eugene Robinson made clear just how specious that argument is:

Let’s return to the real world for a moment and see how bogus this argument is. Presumably, Cain would include Roman Catholicism among the “traditional religions” that deserve constitutional protection. It happens that our legal system recognizes divorce, but the Catholic Church does not. This, by Cain’s logic, must constitute an attempt to impose “Vatican law” on an unsuspecting nation.
Similarly, Jewish congregations that observe kosher dietary laws must be part of a sinister plot to deprive America of its God-given bacon.

Cain's diatribe against Muslims has nothing to do with law or with the Constitution, of course.  It has everything to do with his own bigotry and his attempt to appeal to the lowest instincts and prejudices of voters.  He stands in the tradition of George Wallace, Lester Maddox, and Bull Connor.  None of those guys would welcome Cain to their little club though, because Cain is black.

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