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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Proud Bigots

There are days when I really don't know what happened to my country. Here's Bryan Fischer of the conservative American Family Association:

"Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam," Fischer wrote today.
"The First Amendment was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity. They were making no effort to give special protections to Islam.

I certainly don't expect everyone to know all the ins and outs of the background of the First Amendment, but this guy is the group's Director of Issues Analysis, you'd expect he's know something about it. Even if he doesn't (and from his statements is clear that he doesn't) is he incapable of doing the Google?

Campaigning for religious freedom in Virginia, Jefferson followed Locke, his idol, in demanding recognition of the religious rights of the "Mahamdan," the Jew and the "pagan." Supporting Jefferson was his old ally, Richard Henry Lee, who had made a motion in Congress on June 7, 1776, that the American colonies declare independence. "True freedom," Lee asserted, "embraces the Mahomitan and the Gentoo (Hindu) as well as the Christian religion."
In his autobiography, Jefferson recounted with satisfaction that in the struggle to pass his landmark Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1786), the Virginia legislature "rejected by a great majority" an effort to limit the bill's scope "in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan."

For those of you not familiar with Virginia's Statute of Religious Freedoms, the 1st Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion is based upon it.

Here's what some of Jefferson's contemporaries had to say (from the same article):

"Let Jews, Mehometans and Christians of every denomination enjoy religious liberty…thrust them not out now by establishing the Christian religion lest thereby we become our own enemys and weaken this infant state. It is mens labour in our Manufactories, their services by sea and land that aggrandize our Country and not their creeds. Chain your citizens to the state by their Interest. Let Jews, Mehometans, and Christians of every denomination find their advantage in living under your laws."

These so-called conservatives who claim that the Founders intended this to be a Christian nation, and that the 1st Amendment's guarantees do not apply to Islam are profoundly ignorant of history at best, and at worst, religious bigots.

As an aside, the AFA is one of the sponsers of the Values Voters Summit. Click the link to see which politicians have no shame with appearing at this forum.

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