Bryan Fischer has been demanding a ban on the construction of mosques in the United States for a year now and argues that such a prohibition is entirely constitutional because the First Amendment does not apply to Islam.
In fact, as Fischer is fond of saying, the First Amendment does not apply to any “non-Christian religions”:
[T]he First Amendment was written neither to guarantee freedom of religion to Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus nor to prohibit their free exercise of religion. It wasn’t written about them one way or another.
It was written for one specific purpose: to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion … We must be clear: the First Amendment does not prohibit the free exercise of alternative religions, but neither does it guarantee it. It simply does not address the issue at all.
In defense of this view, Fischer has lately started arguing that prohibitions on polygamy prove that “non-Christian religions” (i.e., Mormonism) do not have First Amendment protections:
That the free exercise clause provides no guarantee for non-Christian religions is made clear in the case of Mormonism. It was part and parcel of the “free exercise” of the Mormon faith to have as many wives as you wanted. Congress said nope. In fact, the Mormon church was required to prohibit plural marriages as a condition of Utah’s statehood.
(It’s worth noting in passing that the Mormon church has never renounced plural marriage. It has simply instructed its followers to obey federal law in the matter.)
Idaho came into the union in 1890, at virtually the same time as Utah, and the first page of Idaho’s state constitution makes it explicitly clear that the free exercise of religion shall in no sense be construed to justify plural marriages.
In fact, the Republican Party came into existence in 1854 to combat two evils: slavery and the pernicious Mormon practice of plural marriage, what the original GOP called “those twin relics of barbarism.” (Let me point out that I’m talking about the LDS faith as it existed then, not as it exists today.)
Clearly, then, as our political experiment with the Mormon faith makes clear, there is no guarantee of the free exercise of religion for religions which are outside the stream of historic Christianity, as Mormonism is. (It denies the Trinity, the virgin birth of Christ, the unique deity of Christ, his all-sufficient atoning sacrifice on the cross, and the completeness of God’s revelation in the Old and New Testaments.)
Following Fischer’s logic, it only stands to reason that local communities likewise have the power to deny Mormons permission to build temples in their communities as well.
Fischer claims that the Mormon church “never renounced plural marriage” and therefore it must be entirely acceptable for local officials who do not want Mormons or their “pernicious” teachings polluting their communities to deny them permission to build houses of worship, precisely because the First Amendment does not apply to “non-Christian religions” like Mormonism.