Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Herman Cain wrongly endorses restrictions of religious liberty

GOP candidate for president believes communities have right prevent religious worship

Republican Party Presidential candidate (and pizza entrepreneur) Herman Cain believes that local communities should have the right to deny religious groups (specifically Muslims) the right to build centers of worship within their limits. He is wholly, and without a doubt of any kind, wrong.

Our founding fathers believed strongly and passionately in the individual's freedom to worship any belief they deemed proper. The state's interference in such matters, even when endorsed by a democratic majority, couldn't curtail the rights of an individual to make this choice.

The right of people to peaceably assemble, too, was also deemed infallible by our founders. It was seen as tantamount to the preservation of our democratic rights, as not only a permissive act but one that was also necessary in order to foster a free exchange of ideas.

So important were these two ideals to our founders that they incorporated them together within the First Amendment to our nation's Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Regardless of anyone's personal beliefs on Islam, the right of people to practice it peaceably and to gather together as a congregation to celebrate it cannot be infringed. It's not only recognized as a legal right, but as a natural right as well.

Cain's beef with Islam likely stems from the actions of radicals within it who don't represent the religion's true beliefs. His concern with Sharia Law is also a paranoid attempt to stir up fear among the public. There isn't any chance of Sharia Law overtaking the country for the same reason that Muslims are granted the same religious rights as anyone else -- a strict respect of the separation of church and state would prevent it from ever materializing.

Herman Cain is wrong to be so restrictive on religious beliefs that don't adhere to his idea of the "mainstream," and he's wrong to believe it is indeed Constitutional to restrict a person's or group of people's rights. That he is considered a contender at all for the GOP presidential ticket is a shameful thing.

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