Over at The Daily Caller, there is a piece up that features Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) commenting on Herman Cain’s famous ‘Muslim litmus test’. In his comments, Rep. Ellison makes the point that:
“Well, you got violent Christians and good Christians,” he said. “You got violent Jews and good Jews. You got people of all — what he said about Muslims is true for every community. So it’s absurd that he would make a distinction when it comes to Muslims. Look, Mr. Cain has made a lot of statements about his hostility toward the Muslim community. Now trying to backtrack but not doing a good job of it.”
Ellison offered some advice for Cain – to review the Pledge of Allegiance and what it means in terms of inclusiveness.
“I would ask him to say look, the Pledge of Allegiance said ‘and liberty and justice for all.’ ‘All’ means all and doesn’t mean ‘except one group or another.’ I would ask Herman Cain to review that Pledge of Allegiance he swears when he gets up.”
Okay. Pledge of Allegiance. Good argument Congressman — but let’s take it a step further, shall we?
Let me back up a bit. Here are Herman Cain’s comments from earlier this year on Fox News Channel:
[A] reporter asked me would I appoint a Muslim to my administration? I did say no. And here’s why. But the reporter didn’t tell you this.
I would have to have people totally committed to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of this United States. And many of the Muslims, they are not totally dedicated to this country. They are not dedicated to our Constitution. Many of them are trying to force Sharia law on the people of this country.
Mr. Cain professes to have a strong affinity towards the Constitution of the United States of America.
So, my question to Mr. Cain is this: have you actually read the Constitution? In particular, Article VI, Paragraph III:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Now, one could make the argument that White House staffers and Presidential appointees are not covered in this statement. But, my point is that, if Cain so highly regards the document, he should use it as a template for running his (hypothetical) administration.
If he’s going to use the U.S. Constitution as a guide in his decision-making, then there is no way that he should be comfortable with using religion as a factor in making staff appointments.
At the Republican Primary Debate in New Hampshire, Cain had to address this issue again:
[T]he statement was would I be comfortable with a Muslim in my administration, not that I wouldn’t appoint one. That’s the exact transcript.
And I would not be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us.
And so, when I said I wouldn’t be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones that are trying to kill us, number one.
Secondly, yes, I do not believe in Sharia law in American courts. I believe in American laws in American courts, period. There have been instances –
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CAIN: There have been instances in New Jersey — there was an instance in Oklahoma where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia law. I was simply saying very emphatically, American laws in American courts.
KING: So, on that point, Governor Romney let me come to you on this.
What Mr. Cain is saying that he would have — my term, not his — a purity test or a loyalty test. He would want to ask a Muslim a few question or a few questions before he hired them, but he wouldn’t ask those questions of a Christian or Jew.
CAIN: Sorry. No, you are restating something I did not say, OK? If I may, OK?
KING: Please let’s make it clear.
CAIN: When you interview a person for a job, you look at their — you look at their work record, you look at their resume, and then you have a one-on-one personal interview. During that personal interview, like in the business world and anywhere else, you are able to get a feeling for how committed that person is to the Constitution, how committed they are to the mission of the organization –
KING: When I asked — I asked this question the other night, though, you said you want to ask a Muslim those questions but you didn’t you have to ask them to a Christian or a Jew?
CAIN: I would ask certain questions, John. And it’s not a litmus test. It is simply trying to make sure that we have people committed to the Constitution first in order for them to work effectively in the administration.
The bizarre applause after the Sharia law comment aside, if Herman Cain had simply said the words that I have emphasized, I wouldn’t be writing this post. Looking at a person’s education and record should be the only factors used when deciding whether or not to hire them.
This idea that you need to administer a religious litmus test — because no matter how much he protests, that is what Cain is suggesting — is insanity, pure and simple.
Roger Simon has an excellent op-ed at POLITICO, and I think that his words are very poignant:
You want to live in a country that has a litmus test for Muslims? You want to live in a country that demands loyalty oaths from Muslims?
Fine. Today, it will be the Muslims. Tomorrow, it will be you.