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Tennessee Lt. Governor is 'All About Freedom of Religion' . . . Except for Muslims

Politicians must long for the days when, having said something moronic at a public event, they could simply claim to have been misquoted and get on with their lives.

Alas, in the age of cameraphones and YouTube, this often just ain't an option -- likely much to the chagrin of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, currently vying for the Republican nomination for Governor of that fine state.

Ramsey, at a recent campaign event, made the unfortunate decision to actually utter the words that came into his head in response to an audience member's question about the "threat" posed to the U.S. by Muslims. Here, via the Religion Clause blog and Talking Points Memo, are parts of his rambling response:

"Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on," he said. "But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee -- to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution."

"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it," Ramsey said. "Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face."

Talking Points has the video from the event, and there's not a real good way to spin Ramsey's answer. Which didn't stop him from trying. From TPM:

"My concern is that far too much of Islam has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than peace-loving religion," he said in an email. "It's time for American Muslims who love this country to publicly renounce violent jihadism and to drum those who seek to do America harm out of their faith community."

The good news is that Ramsey is currently running third in the primary polling. So, theoretically, he's got no place to go but up.

Posted by Eric Lipman on July 27, 2010 at 02:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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