Republican Allen West is the Tea Party candidate for House in Florida’s 22nd district, a seat currently held by Rep. Ron Klein (D). West is an extremely successful fundraiser — he raked in the most money of any GOP challenger in the second fundraising quarter of 2010 — and has become a favorite among conservatives, earning the endorsement of Sarah Palin and receiving over two million hits on YouTube for a speech he delivered to a Florida Tea Party gathering.I don't see a problem with West's remarks on the 'Co-exist' bumper sticker. Islam isn't compatible with the freedoms that we hold dear. Does the 'co-exist' crowd believe that Muslim taxi drivers have the right to refuse rides to disabled people with service dogs? And if so, do they equally support ER nurses who refuse to participate in abortions because of their religious convictions or do they sniff that the nurses should find another profession while insisting that the religious beliefs of the taxi drivers should be respected? What is the 'co-exist' position on gay marriage? Do they think that Christians who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman are homophobic bigots while ignoring that homosexuality is punishable by death under Islam?
Last week, video surfaced of West making a series of inflammatory statements about Islam during a March 8 pubic forum. He began by criticizing the ubiquitous “Coexist” bumper stickers, which display the symbols of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other religions. West said:
“[A]s I was driving up here today, I saw that bumper sticker that absolutely incenses me. It’s not the Obama bumper sticker. But it’s the bumper sticker that says, ‘Co-exist.’ And it has all the little religious symbols on it. And the reason why I get upset, and every time I see one of those bumper stickers, I look at the person inside that is driving. Because that person represents something that would give away our country. Would give away who we are, our rights and freedoms and liberties because they are afraid to stand up and confront that which is the antithesis, anathema of who we are. The liberties that we want to enjoy.”
Co-existance is only possible if all sides respect each other's beliefs. I don't respect a religion that calls for the mutilation of little girls, honor killing or stoning. None of those things is compatible with American ideals of liberty or justice. The co-exist crowd believes in selective capitulation. That, as far as I am concerned, is moral cowardliness.
Cross posted at Carol's Closet