If you're a fringe candidate for 2012, how do you get press? Learn to troll, apparently. Donald Trump keeps his name in the news by insisting that he's a tiny bit birther. Herman Cain, a pizza magnate and Republican presidential candidate, told Think Progress's Scott Keyes that if elected, he won't appoint Muslims to his cabinet or as a federal judge.
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. And little by little, to try and be politically correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now they’ve got a social problem that they don’t know what to do with hardly.
Cain's spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael told Salon's Justin Elliott that Cain has "worked side by side with folks of all religions and all backgrounds. It is not an issue with all Muslims. ... Mr. Cain would consider any person for a position based on merit, as anybody else would, as is the law." Carmichael added that Cain would merely ask prospective appointees if they believe the Constitution is "the supreme law of the land."
As Carmichael notes, Cain grew up in Atlanta during Jim Crow. It's enough to make one a little uneasy calling him a bigot. But earlier this week, Cain told Christianity Today that Muslims "have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them."
And Cain's words aren't that far outside the mainstream, given recent statements by some 2012 contenders. Former Sen. Rick Santorum spoke about the dangers of sharia earlier this month. In a Texas church Sunday night, Newt Gingrich painted a picture of a future in which God-hating elites teamed up with God-obsessed Muslims to control the country.
I have two grandchildren--Maggie is 11, Robert is 9... I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.