Herman Cain, the pizza executive who’s running for president as a Republican, thinks that it’s perfectly okay for a community to ban the construction of a mosque.
In an exchange on “Fox News Sunday,” the Republican presidential contender said that he sided with some in a town near Nashville who were trying to prevent Muslims from worshiping in their community.
“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state,” he said. “Islam combines church and state. They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people of that community do not like it. They disagree with it.”
Asked by host Chris Wallace if any community could ban a mosque if it wanted to, Cain said: “They have a right to do that.”
If the standard for banning a religious group for mixing church and state by attempting to “infuse their morals” into the community, the Catholics, the Baptists, and just about every Christian denomination you can name could be banned. The Christian Coalition and all those lobbyists could be run out of town. That’s not altogether an unpleasant prospect, but it’s breathtakingly unconstitutional, and no matter what we may think of a particular group, the First Amendment is pretty clear on making laws for or against religion.
Herman Cain has about as much of a chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do, but at least we’re getting to see his outright bigotry and ignorance of the Constitution on full display.