Break Out The Pitchforks And Torches

It seems that a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee needs to be educated on Islam:
In a YouTube video posted July 15 and reported by the liberal website Talking Points Memo Monday, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is seen at a campaign event expressing his opposition to an expansion of a mosque in Murfressboro, Tennessee.

The proposed expansion has become a hot-button issue in the city about 35 miles southeast of Nashville, with supporters alleging that opponents are displaying religious intolerance, while people fighting the mosque say zoning concerns and worries about Islamic radicalism are their chief concerns.

Ramsey, who has been endorsed by 20 Tea Party organizations, said he is a supporter of religious freedoms but such protections may not extend to facilitating "shariah [Islamic] law into the state of Tennessee. . .into the United States."

"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, a cult, whatever you want to call it," he continued. "But certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time, this is something we are going to have to face."
So, I don't even know where to begin with Mr. Ramsey's ignorance.

Firstly, as Doug tweeted this morning, "Take Lt. Gov. Ramsey's words and substitute "Catholic" for "Muslim" and you have the KKK". Spot-on.

Secondly, Ramsey questions whether Islam is a religion, a nationality or a way of life (I'll address the 'cult' nonsense in a minute). The truth is that, any one of these, or all of these are true. Not unlike being Jewish, Islam is a religion and a way of life, and many would argue, essentially a nationality (or at the very least a ethnicity). Many millions of Muslims live their lives according to their religious beliefs, just as many millions of Christians and Jews do.

For Ramsey to suggest that Islam is a 'cult' of some kind is patently offensive. This would be akin to suggesting that Christianity at large is a cult. Now, that's not to say that both Islam and Christianity have their, errr, less-than-reputable elements. But what religion doesn't?

Bottom line: Ron Ramsey was careless and offensive in his speech, and he should publicly apologize.