Sunday, July 24, 2011

I like Kathleen Parker. I think she's the most intellectually honest of the conservative op ed writers at the post. Normally she doesn't engage in apologetics, but her column today did that. It's one of her weaker columns. My first problem is that she calls Herman Cain's bigoted statements against Muslims and Islam as rhetoric. Calling his comments rhetoric elevates them to too high of a level. His statements are inane, especially in regards to sharia.

My second problem is that she says that people who object to his statements are looking "for a nugget to chew on". By trivializing his critics as people solely looking for a political opportunity she fails to stand by some of our basic american principles. The case could be made that maybe his critics take the 1st Amendment and Article 6 of the constitution seriously. It could be said that maybe they've read and understand the founding principles of our government and believe any one casting themselves as a serious political candidate should do the same. It's not demagoguery to denounce bigotry, especially when the bigot could be in a position of power over those he's bigoted against.

Herman Cain, if he were elected, would be required to swear an oath that he would enforce the constitution. His comments about mosques and having religious tests make it clear that he does not know what is in the constitution and what it means. It is clear, even when you have the full quote, that he is prejudiced against Muslims.

Cain hasn't just said one bad thing. He's repeatedly made statements that show his prejudice against Islam and his misunderstanding of it. Cain is a bigot. He has an irrational dislike of Islam based on incorrect assumptions. He is wrong about Muslim's desire to convert Christians. He does not even remotely come close to know what sharia is and does not know anything about what happens in mosques. He does not try to find the correct information about these matters and attributes evil intentions to Muslims. It's bigotry.

My last big gripe about Parker's column is that she focuses on the comments and not what they show about his fitness for office. Being ignorant of Article 6 is bad, but not understanding the 1st Amendment is unforgivable. In his comments about the courts invalidating the Oklahoma law, he also makes it clear he doesn't understand the role of the courts and why the Bill of Rights was added to the constitution.

The court can strike down laws that the people enacted when they violate the constitution. That's what the Oklahoma law did and so the court fulfilled their duty and struck down the law. As nefarious as Cain tried to make it sound the case, basically a man wanted to write his will in accordance with his religion. The Oklahoma law invalidated his will, and any other Muslim's will who chose to write their will in accordance with their religious beliefs. This law discriminated only against Muslims, in that it prevented only Muslims from being able to fulfill their religious duties when it comes to estate planning. The court was right to strike it down and anyone who has a high school civics education would understand.

Cain is obviously smart enough to understand basic civics, the fact that he refuses to demonstrates that he is not able to control his bigotry and has no business being in an elected office of any kind.


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