In response to Herman Cain's declaration that he would never appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or a federal judgeship, my dear friend Peter Wehner fires back:
This is an ugly and undiluted form of bigotry. It assumes, against the overwhelming evidence, that every Muslim believes in the most radical interpretation of Sharia law, when in fact millions of American Muslims are fully reconciled with democracy and the protection of minority rights. I’ve dilated on this issue before, so there’s no need to do so again.
This isn’t to say that assimilation isn’t important; it is (see here). Nor is it to deny that there are many people in the world, of the Islamic faith, who embrace a 7th-century, Taliban-like interpretation of Sharia law. No one is asking anyone to bury his head in the ground. But this is quite different from declaring anyone of the Muslim faith to be unqualified for a judgeship or a cabinet post simply because of that person’s religious faith. That is the antithesis of American law and corrosive to the spirit that animated the American founding.
One of the notable accomplishments of the Bush administration -- Somebody should write a book of them! Okay, maybe a pamphlet. In large type -- was a shrewd and decent conception of Islam. Bush was very clear about being at war with radical Islam, not with Islam as a whole. That sensibility has withered in the post-Bush GOP, but it's heartening to see Bush veterans like Wehner and Mike Gerson keep it alive.