By Luke Broadwater
6:28 PM EDT, July 19, 2011
When GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is talking about the economy, he usually makes sense. Unfortunately for Cain, he prefers to talk about Muslims — and then he makes no sense at all.
Cain, this weekend, reprised this favorite topic of his in an interview with Fox News and made the argument that governments have the right to ban mosques (even though such a ban is specifically disallowed by the First Amendment).
But Cain’s strange Muslim statements are nothing new. Sometimes he wants to ban Muslims from his cabinet. Sometimes he wants them to take a loyalty oath. But most of all, he’s really, really afraid of this: Muslims will make us all obey Sharia law.
Here’s a quick summary of Cain’s all-over-the-place comments about Islam.
FIRST, HE ANNOUNCES A BAN: “I will not [appoint a Muslim to my cabinet]. And here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. This is what happened in Europe.” (March 26, Thinkprogress interview)
THEN HE SAYS HE JUST DOESN’T KNOW ANY QUALIFIED MUSLIMS: “I have been considering, who would I put in various roles? Who do I consider to be some of the true patriots of this country that could help a Herman Cain Cabinet if I were to run and become president? And, so, yes, so far, I have not come across or I don’t have acquaintances with people who have professed their Muslim religion that are on the list of people that I would consider.” (March 28, Fox News)
THEN HE DOUBLES DOWN ON THE BAN: “I do know that most of the people of the Muslim faith, they believe in Sharia law.” (April 18, 'Focal point’ radio)
THEN HE SAYS HE WAS JUST UNCOMFORTABLE: “I was asked if I would be comfortable, and my response was I would not be comfortable with a terrorist in my cabinet. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but a lot of the terrorists are Muslims, so I just have to be real careful about who I put in my cabinet.” (May 24, Glenn Beck’s radio show)
THEN HE ADMITS HE SPOKE WITHOUT THINKING: “I immediately said – without thinking – ‘No, I would not be comfortable,’ I did not say that I would not have them in my cabinet. If you look at my career, I have hired good people regardless of race, religion, sex gender, orientation and this kind of thing.” (May 24, Glenn Beck’s radio show)
FINALLY, HE ENDORSES A NEW TYPE OF MUSLIM BAN: “Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state. 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. ... They have the right to do that [ban a mosque].” (July 17, Fox News)
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