GOP Candidate Says Islam Not a Religion

A Republican House candidate in Georgia is making the same idiotic argument made by far-right bigots like Frank Gaffney, claiming that Islam is not a religion but a political ideology and therefore does not deserve First Amendment protections.

Jody Hice, a Baptist minister and talk-radio host, is running for Congress in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District as a stern defender of the First Amendment and religious freedom. But that freedom does not apply to those of the Muslim faith.

“Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology,” Hice wrote in his 2012 book. “It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.”

Hice believes that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the United States, with the intent to impose Sharia law on all of us.

As I’ve said many times, on the list of things I worry about, a takeover of the United States by Sharia law ranks somewhere between a hangnail and a Backstreet Boys reunion. Anyone who thinks this is going to happen is utterly delusional. As for the argument about Islam being a “geo-political structure,” I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how moronic and hypocritical this argument is. First of all, even if it was totally political, so what? The First Amendment also protects political speech.

Secondly, that it’s a Baptist minister and Christian righter making this argument makes it staggeringly hypocritical. Seriously, does he think Christianity in this country is not also highly political? We have politicians justifying public policy solely on the basis of their religious beliefs every single day. He’s a minister running for Congress on a theocratic platform himself, for crying out loud.

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  • Raging Bee

    Since when did political ideologies not merit First Amendment protections?

    I remember when “conservatives” used to argue that the First Amendment covered ONLY political speech.

  • richardelguru

    “Hi Kettle, I’m Pot, mind if i call you black?”

  • raven

    As for the argument about Islam being a “geo-political structure,”

    Which explains why Sunnis and Shiites are fighting each other in Syria, Pakistan, and Iraq.

    When they get bored with that, they persecute other sects such as Amadiyas and Sufis. Sometimes the sects fight within each other over politics, power, and resources.

    Islam isn’t any more a unified religion than xianity.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Raging Bee beat me to it. Political speech is protected under the First Amendment.

  • Chiroptera

    And Christianity isn’t a religion either, it’s a relationship with Jesus. So the Establishment Clause doesn’t prevent the state from advocating it!

  • dugglebogey

    I think he’s right, but about christianity too.

  • Mobius

    Breaking news…Pot Calls Kettle Black

  • scienceavenger

    So Islam isn’t a religion, but atheism is. And they wonder why we call them Wingnuts.

  • Flewellyn

    If they’re going to argue that expression of political ideologies isn’t protected by the First Amendment, what will protect THEIR political expression?

  • alwayscurious

    Sharia law isn’t too different from fundamentalist xian notions of a Christian Nation based on Old Testament writings. I’m mildly worried about Sharia law…but mostly that it’ll be implemented by xians.

  • eric

    First of all, even if it was totally political, so what? The First Amendment also protects political speech.

    And @1 and @4 –

    I’m guessing at leat part of what he means is that islamic organizations should not get all the tax exemptions and/or other benefits that other religious organizations get. Even if the first amendment’s speech clause still protects islamic utterances and practices, if it was legally ‘not a religion’ then AIUI mosques and similar organizations would still lose some pretty valuable rights or benefits. And that would have an effect of displacing mosques away from areas where property taxes were high.

  • busterggi

    Clearly the Dominionist wing of the GOP has no interest in socio-politico-economic issues at all except for taking them over and forcing their dogma onto everything.

  • Wes Aaron

    So does this mean Hice is an Ironist? Oh the irony.

  • bybelknap

    Too late, Ed. The Backstreet Boys already had a reunion in Seth Rogan’s This is the End:

  • Modusoperandi

    Note, as usual, that the Teabaggers aren’t just the Christian Right in tri-corn hats.

  • Snoof

    You people with your insistence on “consistency” and “the law of identity”. It’s very simple: Islam is simultaneously both a religion and not a religion until you look at it and it collapses into whichever configuration is most convenient for the argument at hand.

    The same thing applies to atheism and Christianity.

  • democommie

    A nice fear mongering message for the Teabaggist Tees:

    “You can’t spell, “Sharia” without ‘U,S,A”!


    So, it’s Schrödinger’s Religion? Cool!

  • lpetrich

    I think that Islam has become the new Communism. The likes of Frank Gaffney argue that it is a social and political ideology, just like Communism. Given how anti-Communists have now often become anti-Islam, it seems to me that cold warriors have been looking for a new great villain.

    Over the last three decades, Communism has faded as an international villain. It has gone totally kaput in Europe and in the xUSSR, and the remaining Communist countries are either pipsqueaks like Cuba and North Korea, or capitalist roaders like Communist China and Vietnam. In fact, Michele Bachmann has praised China as an exemplary capitalist country.