GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain tried to apologize to American Muslims yesterday:
I would like to thank Imam Mohamed Magid and the ADAMS Center for extending their hospitality to me this afternoon. We enjoyed heartfelt fellowship and thoughtful dialogue about how patriotic Americans of all faiths can work together to restore the American Dream.
While I stand by my opposition to the interference of shariah law into the American legal system, I remain humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends. I am truly sorry for any comments that may have betrayed my commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the freedom of religion guaranteed by it. Muslims, like all Americans, have the right to practice their faith freely and peacefully.
As I expected, we discovered we have much more in common in our values and virtues. In my own life as a black youth growing up in the segregated South, I understand their frustration with stereotypes. Those in attendance, like most Muslim Americans, are peaceful Muslims and patriotic Americans whose good will is often drowned out by the reprehensible actions of jihadists.
I am encouraged by the bonds of friendship forged today at our meeting, and I look forward to continuing this very healthy dialogue. The relationship we established was so positive that the Imam has invited me back to speak to not only some of their youth, but also at one of their worship services.
Naturally, some are wondering whether the race-baiting Republican who thinks he is President Obama’s worst nightmare simply because he’s black is genuinely represented by the statement his campaign released. One witness to his meeting with Imam Mhamed Magid suggested that Cain’s words could be trusted. “He seemed genuinely surprised,” Robert Marro, the Government Relations Chairman for the ADAMS Center, where the meeting occurred, explained to Talking Points Memo. “It was almost like he was saying, ‘I should’ve known better.'”
Still, though, we see in the campaign statement a couple of things that will continue to undermine The Hermanator:
While I stand by my opposition to the interference of shariah law into the American legal system ….
It is important to remember that between the First and Fourteenth Amendments, Shariah law is not coming to the United States except, perhaps, as a form of entertainment. Some might fret that the U.S. will flirt with the British experiment of allowing Shariah courts to mediate when both parties agree to its authority, but this doesn’t work according to the guarantee of equal protection under the law. In the end, perhaps we might see Shariah Court with Imam Izzy, instead of Judge Judy. You know, a television program where idiots come to argue and then be chastised by a “judge” who has no real care for the law. And while the show might draw respectable ratings for a couple of seasons, you know, because it’s “reality” and shows us how Muslims “really live”, I doubt most Americans would want Judge Judy to be held up as an icon of our own culture.
No, really, though. Didn’t someone give a courtroom show to a boxing referee entirely on the grounds that he was presiding over the moment that Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear?
Okay, okay, so apparently Mills Lane actually did serve as a judge for several years in Washoe County, Nevada. But you get the point. Would you rather American justice be perceived by our international neighbors in the context of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Judy Sheindlin?
But just how much can Shariah claim for itself in the United States? Certainly, Christian advocates who push health care and family policies according to their faith might fret that Muslims would do the same. Certainly, those who argue that a Robert McCammon novel should be banished from the local library because a child character nicknamed “The Demon” violates a Christian’s rights under the First Amendment might worry that Muslims would attempt similar arguments. Certainly, the faithful Christian who feels his marriage is endangered by the fact that two other people he doesn’t know can get married despite his irrelevant objections somehow endangers his own marriage might have some concerns about how the presence of Muslims somehow emasculates him. But for those who strive toward sanity, what real threat does Shariah law pose?
Plenty assert faith in their holy scriptures, but how many have faith in the U.S. Constitution?
Shariah law poses absolutely no threat whatsoever to people inside the sovereign territory of the United States of America. If you fall under the rubric of the Constitution, you are at least as safe from Shariah law as you are from from Torquemada’s ghost.
So, yes, it does undermine Cain’s apology when he reiterates his opposition to something he’s never going to have to face, and only in order to rally his anti-Islamic supporters.
As I expected, we discovered we have much more in common in our values and virtues.
Apparently, Mr. Cain expected to have much in common with the people he was so afraid of.
Perhaps that seems counterintuitive, but why wouldn’t a conservative politician attempt to exploit fearful bigotry against a community he has so much in common with?
It’s really not so complicated: Mr. Cain expected to have so much in common with Muslims that he would promise to use his presidential authority to violate the constitution in order to exclude, suspect, and persecute them.
It makes perfect sense.
Meanwhile, let us hope Mr. Cain really has Hermanated his bigotry against Muslims. If nothing else, that would be a reward worth suffering a dismal and humiliating political campaign.
How could anyone possibly doubt his apology?