Jody Hice, the Baptist Minister running against Mike Collins to replace Paul Broun, wrote in 2012 that
“Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology,” he states in his book, Now or Never. “It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.”
Wow… Just Wow…
The beautiful thing about our Constitution is that it applies to everyone regardless of various demographic factors. Now we have had to update it a few times (13, 14, 15, 19, 24, 26) to further ensure that folks are treated equally under the law, but that intent is still most definitely there. Regardless of one person’s opinion that says we should discriminate based on arbitrary differences.
The cool thing about the First Amendment is that if Hice wants to openly advocate denying an entire group of people, (specifically the second largest religious group in almost half of the states in the US) he gets to say it. That’s his right. But I also get to say that his exclusionary view of the First Amendment is flat out wrong and deplorable. Even worse is that Hice pretends to be a Constitutional Scholar.
The not so cool thing about this is that the comments show a fundamental misunderstanding of one of the most important documents in American history. It also happens to be the basis upon which our government runs. Such a gross misunderstanding of how government works does not elicit thoughts of confidence from me.
There are actually a lot of similarities between Christianity and Islam when it comes to their view of Jesus. Jesus is a rasuul in Islam, which is a greater prophet like Moses, Abraham, Adam, and Mohammed. Pretty good company really for a faith that doesn’t see Jesus as the Christ. The Bible is actually a holy book in Islam, as is the Torah. Christianity has the tithe, Islam has the Zakaat. Christianity has Lent, Islam has Ramadan. Both have a profession of faith for a single God. Both have a very similar rule of ethics. Both worship the God of Abraham.
Christianity was once an entire geopolitical structure as well. Remember the Crusades, the 3o years war that ended with the Peace of Westphalia, the Holy Roman Empire… I can keep going but I think I’ve made the point. The logical extension of Hice’s comments would be that Christians should also be denied the First Amendment. Or maybe Hice would balk at that and suggest only Catholics per my examples.
Just because you wear your religion on your sleeve does not mean you get to shove your views down the throats of people that think differently than you. You also don’t get to take God given rights away from people just because they worship your God in a slightly different way.
I find it disappointing that a Minister is acting with hate, malice, or ignorance rather than acting as the caring shepherd. Jesus hung out with the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the gentiles, and other undesirables. Jesus would teach anyone and even would perform miracles for folks that were not Jews. All in all he was a pretty inclusive guy. There seems to be a disconnect.
Now I realize there probably aren’t a whole lot of Muslims in Ga-10. So Hice’s comments probably won’t matter much in district. I however am going to look at the broader message that this shows. We want an intolerant xenophobe that doesn’t understand the US Constitution to represent Georgia? I think only Todd Aiken could do more damage to our reputation.
Insha’ allah’ Jody Hice will not make it past the runoff.