“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; “
The above is the only time religion is mentioned in the Constitution or amendments. Obviously it mentions no specific religion. One might construe preventing a Muslim from being President as prohibiting the free exercise of a religion.
It is easy and even understandable to be anti Muslim. It’s hard to find many examples in history of such indiscriminate brutality in the false name of religion as we see today. Indeed, perhaps the 11th century crusades by Christians against Muslims is our best example, or maybe it’s the 8th century Muslims, who knows?
Unless you believe that simply being a Muslim makes you a terrorist or supporter of terrorism, there is no logic in saying a Muslim should not be President or anything else.
Frankly, I don’t think we understand the religion. Despite reading its history and even chapters of the Koran, I don’t understand it. Perhaps it’s because there is no single or consolidated leadership, or because many followers seem to accept literally it 8th century teachings, maybe it’s the treatment of women or even that men in leadership positions easily spout hate, intolerance and violence. Personally, the lack of outspoken opposition to violence by believers in the faith disturbs me as does its teaching on apostates. It’s not easy to understand from a western perspective.
However, we forget how recently Americans were subjected to anti-religion actions. In fact, anti-Catholicism goes back to the 17th century in America often under the claim that a Catholic leader would not follow the constitution and would be under the control of the Pope.
“September 12, 1960, “I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.” He promised to respect the separation of church and state and not to allow Church officials to dictate public policy to him. Kennedy counterattacked by suggesting that it was bigotry to relegate one-quarter of all Americans to second-class citizenship just because they were Catholic.” Wikipedia
“It makes no difference, in my opinion, what church a man belongs to, if he believes in the oath he takes to support and defend the Constitution.” Harry S Truman, November 21, 1960 on the controversy of electing a Catholic president.
Catholics were not the only targets of course. Here is a brief summary of antisemitisism in America. Henry Ford believed Jews were behind World War II and indeed all wars.
When Tulsi Gabbard first ran for Congress in 2012 from her home state of Hawaii, her Republican opponent, David “Kawika” Crowley, ridiculed the observant Hindu for subscribing to a religion that “doesn’t align with the constitutional foundation of the U.S. government.” The Atlantic, March 5, 2015
I guess it all comes down to believing in religious freedom or not. I don’t think we get to pick and choose among them.
Categories: My Opinion