Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Herman Cain, Keith Ellison, Sharia, and the Bible

Have you heard of Herman Cain?  No?  Well, that's fine.  Don't read any further; I'm not sure I want to give him any more coverage than he's already stolen.

Cain, a Republican, is a former Federal Reserve Bank chair and Godfather's Pizza CEO who's been able to grab a few headlines by forming a presidential exploratory committee.  As soon as a Palin or a Romney or even a Pawlenty throws his or her hat in the ring, we'll stop hearing about him. But for now, we must be submitted to his blather.

The latest of which is an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham in which Cain claims that he'd never put a Muslim in his cabinet. Now, Cain will never have a cabinet that doesn't hang on his kitchen wall, but I digress ... here's the clip in full: 



Cain goes on to argue that he doesn't trust Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, himself a Muslim, because Ellison swore his oath of office on a copy of the Qur'an.  The Minnesota Independent delivers Cain's full quote in a recent article: "If you take an oath on the Qur’an, that means you support Sharia law. I support American law." Sharia is Muslim legal thinking--a set of juridical principles drawn from legal speculation on the Qur'an.

(Oklahoma's state legislature recently passed a bill that bans the use of sharia law in state courts. Here's slate.com's recent coverage.  If you're wondering, no one had ever tried to use sharia law in Oklahoma, but legislators wanted to stay ahead of the game. Rumor has it they've also tried to pass bills pre-emptively curtailing efforts to name cricket the official state sport and gayness the official state sexuality.)

Now, Ellison doesn't support the promulgation of sharia in the United States.  Like most American Muslims, he's pretty happy with American law.  But that's not my beef with Cain. My problem is Cain's seeming ignorance of the fact that the Bible also features a very explicit set of legal principles--the Torah--most of which we no longer follow.

His flawed logic suggests that because Ellison swore an oath on the Qur'an, he will necessarily seek to subject all Americans to its strictures. By extension, then, every American legislator who has sworn an oath on the Bible must then be similarly bound to try to pass its laws. 

But I have yet to hear of Paul Ryan proposing legislation that makes chicken farms illegal (Deuteronomy 22:6).  And I don't think that Nancy Pelosi has any plans to make adultery punishable by stoning (Deut. 22:22).  And as of yet, Mitch McConnell has never tried to ram through a bill that mandates the construction of parapets on all new buildings (Deut. 22:7).  But now that I think of it, I have seen him carrying around lots of suspicious blueprints lately ...

Of course, you probably knew all this already, and I'm probably just blowing hot air now. I'll stop, but for the love of dog, I hope Cain will stop talking soon too. Click here for more