North Carolina Republican Equates Praying to Allah with Terrorism

North Carolina is back in the news for more religion-related idiocy.

You might remember how the Rowan County Board of Commissioners have pretty much had only Christians delivering their invocations at meetings for a long time — specifically, “97% of Board meetings in the past five-and-a-half years have featured sectarian prayer,” according to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

Then, a week ago, Republican lawmakers filed a bill (since tabled) that would allow them to establish a state religion.

Rep. Michele Presnell was one of the co-sponsors of that bill.

Rep. Michele Presnell

Recently she wrote a letter to her constituents explaining why she supported this awful legislation:

“The famed ACLU is telling Rowan County they may not pray before commissioners meetings… We pray in Raleigh before our legislative meetings, U.S. Congress prays in Washington DC, why can they not pray?”

Actually, the ACLU has no problem with the Commissioners praying before their meeting… privately. But once Christian prayer becomes a part of the meeting, it’s not ok. Not to mention this sort of bill would never have been considered if the prayers were anything but Christian.

That’s what her constituent Britt Kaufmann thought and he said as much in an email back to her:

“Yes, I do understand that the ACLU is suing Rowan County and I think they have clearly articulated why they are not comfortable with prayer before the commissioners meetings. I wanted you, as my representative, to know that I do not think the proposed bill is a good solution to that problem… Would you be comfortable with a public prayer to Allah before a legislative meeting in Raleigh?

You know how Christians always answer this: Of course that wouldn’t be okay. This is a *Christian* nation. Blah blah blah.

I guess Presnell never got the memo.

Presnell responded: “No, I do not condone terrorism.”

Just let that sink in for a moment.

Not just that she think Muslims are automatically terrorists… but that she also had the audacity to document that ignorance in an email.

(And hats off to Kaufmann who had the good sense to pass that along to the media.)

According to The News & Observer, “She did not return a call for comment Monday about the string of emails…”

Finally, she did the right thing.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • DougI

    Oh, so all those people bombing clinics, shooting doctors and destroying federal buildings in America must have been Muslims just pretending to be Christians. Glad that was cleared up.

  • ortcutt

    When Christians complain about “Freedom of Religion” they really mean Christians getting to do what they want. They don’t care about the constitutional principle at all. They just want to stand up for their tribe.

    • b s

      I got a book on the founding fathers from the library a while back. Within the first few pages, the author argued that the first amendment only meant that we were free to choose whichever branch of christianity we wanted. I stopped reading at that point.

  • LesterBallard

    Praying to Allah isn’t terrorism. It’s just stupid; as stupid as praying to Jesus or Yahweh or anything else.

    • Stonyground

      All praying to imaginary gods is equally stupid, I will agree on that point. On the other hand, I would say that clasping your hands and bowing your head is marginally less stupid than butting the rug with your arse in the air.
      The problem that I see regarding Presnell is that she entirely missed the point. The whole point about keeping religion out of government is that no citizens are discriminated against. She seems to be OK about shoving Christianity in the faces of religious minorites and seems to be incapable of imagining how she would feel if the boot was on the other foot.

  • C Peterson

    Praying… to any deity… is a kind of intellectual terrorism. All of humanity is damaged. But praying to Allah (who is actually the same god that Christians pray to) is no more or less damaging than any other prayer.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Ignorance aside, she’s close on this. Terrorism — the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce — seems very much like the descriptions I’ve read of the the deity of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

  • slightlyamused

    America is imploding from its own ignorance. Kaboom!!

    • randomfactor

      Moobak.

    • Pirate Froglet

      Random is right, you said imploding, kaboom is more of an exploding sound.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Astounding bumpkinry. A state champion of ignorance. If she automatically not just associates, but equates Muslims with terrorists, does she also automatically equate atheists with communists, and Jews with greedy misers? I can’t imagine what bizarre fantasies might whirl through her head when she hears the word “Hindu.”

    • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

      SEX!

      • kevin white

        Hell, she probably thinks all athiests act like Linda Blair’s character from the Exorcist.

    • C Peterson

      Cut her some slack. She was born into and grew up in a very primitive culture. It isn’t clear if she’s ever had the opportunity to be exposed to modern (post 17th century) thinking.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        I know you’re being satirical, but I don’t care if she was born in a cave, ate termite larvae, and wore animal skins up until the day of her election. As a state representative, she took on the responsibility of being well
        informed about important issues, and so far she has demonstrated willful, dedicated ignorance. She took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and she is betraying that oath.

        • C Peterson

          Regrettably, the fact that she was elected suggests that her constituents are quite satisfied with her state of knowledge, as well as her interpretation of the Constitution. And that’s the real problem, isn’t it? Not the ignorant representatives, but that fact that they are representing an ignorant population.

          • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

            Yep, Joseph de Maistre was right: “In a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve.”

          • b s

            “the fact that she was elected suggests that her constituents are quite satisfied with her state of knowledge”
            While I’m sure they all knew she was christian, I doubt they knew she would say something like this. But having lived in NC for a few years, I also doubt that many would disagree. Some, but probably not many.

  • kinderthanachristian

    Part of me wishes she was my representative so I could chew her ass out for being a hateful scaremonger.

  • sck

    What the heck is that pin on her upper right chest?

    • C Peterson

      It appears to be a shrunken head. That seems appropriate on so many levels…

      • baal

        I was thinking it looks like a troll doll head. I often stick one under my right armpit before a professional photo is taken of me.

  • liu

    Again, Christian conservatives simply do not seem to understand quite how freedom of religion works… they should probably have someone explain it to them some day.

  • randomfactor

    “also had the audacity to document that ignorance in an email.”

    Re-election guaranteed.

    • http://twitter.com/maxbingman1 Max Bingman

      Sad but true. She’s throwing red meat out there for shitkickia.

  • TiltedHorizon

    I used to think that those who pray to Allah were terrorists but I was around twelve at the time. What is Presnell’s excuse? (Facepalm)

    • kevin white

      I dunno, but that grin she has on her face scares me.

  • A3Kr0n

    She should be kicked to the curb.

  • Rain

    She’ll be changing her tune on that. Also she will change her tune on marriage equality too. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to pander to your constituents. Otherwise you’re out of a job. When it comes down to changing their “Biblical principles” or being out of a job, we all know which one politicians prefer.

  • JA

    Haha wow. But as usual, she’ll just make some half-assed nonapology and go on being a legislator since Republicans really don’t give a crap what their members say, so long as it’s not favorable views of women’s rights, gay rights, the environment or global interaction.

  • http://twitter.com/Ro542124 Gideon

    “We pray in Raleigh before our legislative meetings, U.S. Congress prays in Washington DC, why can they not pray?”

    Okay, you’ve convinced me, Michelle. Official non-sectarian prayers in Raleigh and in Washington DC don’t make sense either.

  • busterggi

    She may claim to be a Democrat but she proves herself a North Carolinian tribalist.

    • Pirate Froglet

      Republican actually.

  • The Captain

    She must be a big reader of Sam Harris. {ducks}

  • Henro 88

    Weird, because Muslims worship the same god as the Jews…which is the same god as the Christians…which means that Allah = the Christian God…which means…Christians are terrorists?

    These people just don’t think, do they.

  • Bdole

    Same shit different day in good ol’ Carolinistan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.lawhorne Jason Lawhorne

    Does that dumb bitch not know Allah and Jehova are the same dude?

  • http://twitter.com/PFKaP ☾PrincessSmartyPants

    Jesus was a muslim terrorist


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