Tony Perkins: No Religion In Government, Unless It's My Religion

Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins received a call from a listener who asked if the U.S. should pass a constitutional amendment that would restrict religious freedom if the faith in question had “political ambitions,” particularly if those ambitions were “subversive,” which, as Perkins confirmed later in the program, was code for Islam.

Perkins, who believes that the First Amendment doesn’t protect Muslim-Americans because Islam “tears at the fabric of our society” and is really more of an “economic system, a judicial system,” didn’t exactly deliver a full-throated defense of religious freedom. He said Islam “sees itself as a judicial philosophy, an economic philosophy” and wants to “impose” Sharia law “upon the surrounding society.”

Since his own organization promotes religious law, Perkins seems more intent on curtailing the rights of Muslims than preserving a secular government. In fact, later in the very same program, Perkins demanded that judges follow “natural law” on issues like abortion rights and gay marriage, which Perkins of course believes reflects his religious views.

“Natural law, which is what the founders recognized and built upon, that’s why the issue of abortion has not been settled, because it runs counter to natural law,” he said. “Natural law, which as Christians we would make reference to, as Paul said in Romans 2, it’s written on the hearts of men. Natural law says it’s not right for a mother to kill her unborn child. That’s why regardless of what the courts said, nine unelected judges, regardless of what they’ve said, the issue has not been resolved and it won’t be resolved. And the same is true for marriage, I don’t care what a court rules, I don’t care what a judge says, the issue of marriage, because it emanates from natural law, from creation, it’s going to be here and it will be an issue politically from here until as long as I’m alive.”

It’s odd for Perkins to criticize Islam for having “a judicial philosophy, an economic philosophy” at the same time as he is explicitly advocating for public policy to correspond to his own religious views. Perkins also believes that Jesus Christ preached capitalism, a claim he outlined in an article for CNN’s Belief blog, and the FRC regularly rails against judges whom they believe defy biblical precepts.

Perkins may also want to take issue with the Family Research Council’s favorite pseudo-historian, David Barton, who believes that “biblical principles” should be involved in economics and the judiciary: “You apply those principles to economic systems, you apply it to educational systems, you apply it to family systems, you apply it to governmental systems, judicial systems.”

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