Rep. Scott DesJarlais has taken time away from his very busy schedule of screwing his patients, impregnating them and urging them to get abortions despite his claim of being “pro-life” to pander to anti-Muslim bigots who are throwing a fit about a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee building a cemetery on their property.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) took to Facebook last Friday to inform his constituents that he had heard their concerns about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro being permitted to construct a cemetery on its grounds loud and clear and shared their worries.
“Friends, I have received numerous calls over the last couple of weeks regarding the Murfreesboro mosque cemetery,” DesJarlais wrote. “Although this is a state issue, I am deeply concerned over the impact it might have on our community.”
The issue DesJarlais was referring to was the decision from the Rutherford County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) at the beginning of the month to approve the Islamic Center’s request to construct a cemetery on its grounds…
While members of the mosque celebrated the decision, DesJarlais believes that the BZA’s approval could have been withheld if only the state legislature had not passed a law protecting religious freedom. “Unfortunately the Tennessee Religious Freedom Act, passed by the TN General Assembly, may have played a key role in allowing this cemetery to be approved,” the two-term representative wrote. “There is a difference between legislation that would protect our religious freedoms and legislation that would allow for the circumvention of laws that other organizations comply with on a daily basis.”
DesJarlais was referring to Tennessee’s passage of the Tennessee Religious Freedom Act in 2009, a bill which provides that “no government entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” The Republican’s newfound opposition to the bill was seen as surprising to Saleh Sbenaty, a board member of the Murfreesboro mosque. “Republicans in particular call for smaller government and the local government to manage itself,” she told to The Daily News Journal. “So now here he is interfering with a local process that has been following all rules and regulations […] There are 514 cemeteries in Rutherford County. None of them have gone through the scrutiny we have gone through.”…According to the BZA chairman Zane Cantrell, the decision from DesJarlais to strike out against the mosque on Facebook is a purely political move. “Obviously DesJarlais is desperate to get votes, especially in Rutherford County,” Cantrell, who supports a state senator running for DesJarlais’ seat, told The Daily News Journal. “I can’t imagine who would vote for DesJarlais over Jim Tracy. DesJarlais is desperate. He sees he’s losing the battle to Jim Tracy, and he’s doing something to call attention to himself.”
And just like the “Ground Zero Mosque” in Manhattan, we see the same Christian right that demands laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act to give churches exemptions from zoning regulations and other generally applicable laws throwing a fit when a Muslim group gets to do what they don’t want them to do — which basically means to exist. In the cases of both the Manhattan and Murfreesboro mosques, there wasn’t even an exemption needed or requested, both facilities were in full compliance with zoning regulations and had the approval of the relevant local commissions. So basically what we have is this: Christian groups should be exempted from any and all regulations in order to preserve their “religious freedom,” while Muslim groups should not be allowed to do anything even if it complies with the law completely. But nah, there’s not such thing as Islamophobia or anything, is there?