Tony Perkins styles his group, the Family Research Council, as America’s premier defender of religious liberty … even though Perkins himself opposes religious freedom for Muslim-Americans (and perhaps even liberal Christians) and FRC’s vice president has proposed banning mosques and stripping Muslim-Americans of their First Amendment rights.
On his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday, Perkins repeated his claim that Islam is not protected under the U.S. Constitution.
While discussing GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s recent statement that he would never support a Muslim candidate for president, along with the claims of Kim Davis’ critics that a clerk would never receive such praise from the Religious Right had she been a Muslim, Perkins railed against media commentators for “interjecting” Islam “into all of these discussions.” He said that the media is using Islam as a “wedge” to divide conservatives, suggesting that Kim Davis’ decision to impose her Christian beliefs onto her county office was different because Islam is not protected in the Constitution, while Christianity is.
“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Carson pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”
Perkins said that the country is under no obligation to provide legal protections for people “who want to blow — I mean, when was the last time you saw a Baptist trying to blow something up?”
This may surprise Thomas Jefferson, the author of the First Amendment, who made clear while discussing a bill in Virginia that religious freedom protects Muslims and other non-Christians:
Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read, “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.
Perkins’ remarks also go up against the Treaty of Tripoli, which was negotiated under George Washington, signed by John Adams and approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 1797.
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
The only thing Perkins’ remarks truly reveal is that the Family Research Council is more interested in promoting bigoted attacks on minority rights than actually protecting religious freedom.