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Ron Ramsey, Tennessee Lieutenant Governor, Questions if Islam Is a 'Cult'

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Ron Ramsey, the lieutenant governor of Tennessee, has been criticized by an Islamic leader for questioning whether Islam is a cult and if the world's second-largest religion is eligible for protection under the U.S. Constitution.

During a campaign stop in Chattanooga earlier this month, Ramsey, a Republican candidate for governor, said, "You could even argue whether that being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult or whatever you want to call it."

"Now certainly, we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face," Ramsey said.

Ramsey's comments, which were recorded on video, were made as he answered a question about a proposed mosque and Islamic community center in the town of Murfreesboro, The Associated Press reported.

"Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on," Ramsey said. "But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee, to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution."

Ibrahim Hooper with the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations told AP Ramsey's comments are a sign of "a disturbing trend in our nation in which it is suggested that American Muslims should have fewer or more restricted constitutional rights than citizens of other faiths."

Hooper urged Ramsey to meet with members of the Muslim community in his state "who can offer him balanced and accurate information about Islam."

In response, Ramsey said he's concerned that "far too much of Islam has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than peace-loving religion."

"It's time for American Muslims who love this country to publicly renounce violent jihadism and to drum those who seek to do America harm out of their faith community," he said.

The Tennessee gubernatorial primary is Aug. 5. Ramsey goes up against Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga.

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16 Comments

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exitar01

A cult? Define cult. The Romans called the new christian religon a cult and then fed their members to lions for entertainment. Islam is approxiametly 500 years older than christianity. Started by Ismeal the son of Abraham (his wife Sarah told him to lay with her nurse to make an heir. then when Sarah became pregnant she kicked her out of the fold. They wondered the desert and finally she prayed for help. A spring arose right on the spot she was praying and a church was built there. They call that city Mecca). So following his logic christianity is a destructive cult as well.

July 29 2010 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to exitar01's comment
Christian Kelly

Islam was founded in the late 6th century. Thats almost 600 years after Christianity was founded.

August 03 2010 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
first try

It may be a religion, but it's more, too. Given that all the major 'theological' schools of both Shia and Sunni Islam call believers to jihad (not just personal struggle, but armed....), direct believers that they must not be friends with Christians and Jews but may "pretend" to be friends for ease, and that women are worth less than half what a man is.... Cult? No. Insidious and inimical to the West, yes.

July 28 2010 at 11:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
ha94s10ss

You know, I live in Tennessee so Ron is my Lt. Governor and for that I apologize. And speaking as a Southern Baptist, I wonder how Ron would feel about Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson. Would he consider them cult leaders? They too have been deeply involved with "expanding" their religion and political beliefs, but I venture to say, that here in East Tennessee, where Ron is from, Ron is safe in upholding them and vilifying the muslims. Atta Boy Ron, keep acting just like Jesus.

July 28 2010 at 11:54 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Meme Rider

Culture is, by definition, cultish, irrespective of which ideology is dominant. And all major religions include both doctrine and political components. The world participated in the rather painful evolution of Christianity through its dark ages, and it is even now participating in that of Islam. While Christianity once had a stranglehold on governments, today it mostly coexists with secular government forms. Islam is more likely to be associated with theocratic government where it is the dominant "religion." My own conclusion is that religions attempt to control governments, but the U.S. has moved away from theocracy and most Americans find it repugnant. The question is, do we feel strongly enough about it to do whatever it takes to remain free from theocracy or any form of dictatorship? I think I do, and I hope I don't have to find out.

July 28 2010 at 6:50 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
RanchoGal43

I think people have forgotten history. During the middle ages when the Ottoman Empire was in its heyday, the Muslim religion (who were in charge over much of the Mediterranean)was in the business of converting the known Christian Catholic world. The litmus test of these holy wars (jihad) was comprised of only one thesis: convert or die. It was not until the 1300-1400s that the Moors (or Muslims) were sent packing by the Holy Roman Empire back to North Africa and the Middle East, and the Ottoman Empire fell. The Koran speaks of spreading Islam under the same litmus test. Muslims DO NOT tolerate infidels, i.e., there is NO freedom of religion in Saudie Arabia, only freedom to be a Muslim and nothing else. However, Mohammed reserves the right to take advantage of infidels, lie to them for their own purpose(s), kill them when they do not cooperate, and it operates under the mantra of everyone else being intolerant of them. It's called transferance: what you are guilty of you blame the other person for. You say it enough times, and somehow it becomes true to the sayer and the hearer. (Marx encouraged such behavior as well.) Islam demands that infidels tolerate this religion while Islam's goal is to obliterate any other belief system, especially Judaism and Christianity. For example, if a Muslim converts to Christianity, his/her life is at risk because it is mandated by the Koran that the family kill this theologically-unfaithful relative. This is called an honor killing. Honor killings are also performed on women who "bring shame" on their family, and the shame can take any form, such as talking back to her mother-in-law, telling lies about her, to not being a virgin on her wedding night. Also, keeping in line with the religion means following the party line. Within Islam, Allah's mullahs rule the mosque (where intolerance and politics are preached) and seek to destroy democracy. Having a politically-different stance, such as equality for all, is political suicide in every sense of the word. This religion has no room for democracy, only for despotism. More than a cult, I would call this "religion" a fierce political movement. So, the question is: Shall we just lay down like TOLERANT cowards and give them the victory over our freedoms?

July 28 2010 at 3:17 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RanchoGal43's comment
Christian Kelly

You really need to open a history book. What about the initial Muslim conquests under Muhammad and his successors? They had a policy of tolerance, the people of the conquered lands could either convert to Islam or pay a special tax. This is why the general populace of the Roman and Persian lands they conquered were so willing to join the caliphate.

August 03 2010 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rexxooxx

Islam a cult?? I'll name the two largest, most militant and most destructive cults in the world....... the Democrats and the Republicans!!! Only about 1% of Muslims are militant radical Islamists and it would seem that at least half of either of the "big two" political parties are just as militant, radical and destructive as any terrorist could ever be. They terrorize us daily with dire predictions of the consequences for supporting the "other" party while neither of them seem to have a clue how to (a) live in peace (b) keep the economy on track or (c) refrain from ROBBING us blind to support their insatiable appetites for power and money. Political parties are the worst cults ever devised by man and we keep falling for their propaganda like it was God's gospel.

July 28 2010 at 1:08 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rexxooxx's comment
tplapper

Excellent post.

July 28 2010 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Doerr

A useful definition of a "cult" should first be given. "A system of shared beliefs," is one used in the field of sociology. Webster's gives a similar mean-
ing as its first definition of three: "a system of religious worship or ritual." The third definition, "a group of followers; sect," is more similar to the impres-
sion that most people seem to have of the word's meaning. It is derived from the Latin word "cultus," and is further derived from the same verb as our word "culti-
vate." (This involves the idea of "development.") The word's meaning when used of a sect implies, by one definition, a smaller group. However, the word "culture" is derived from the same verb, and one meaning of that word is a "civilization," so that the Roman civilization represented a culture. Islam, then, is a system of shared religious beliefs, and is a variegated culture, just as the Christian religion involves various sects or divisions. There is only one God, and yet our understanding of the nature of the Spirit has as many divisions as there are cultures. These cultures could be deemed "culti," since they are really sub-divisions of the worship of God, and have followers of a patent set of doctrines that are independent of God's existence, despite their pedantic regula-
tory systems of emphasis.

July 27 2010 at 9:40 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
pulsefire

I'm about as far from liberal as one can get but this is definitely over the top. The term "cult" really has no definition and, as such (in my humble opinion) cannot be used to deny Muslims their protection to religious freedom under the First Amendment. As long as their ACTIONS, not beliefs, do not violate another persons rights, there should be no question about their right to believe what they want. With regards to bookaki28's comment about Sharia law, we already have religious courts in the US. The Jewish faith has the Beth Din, the Court of Jewish Law, which settles disputes regarding family, divorce, financial disputes and the like. Roman Catholics have an Ecclesiastical Court which usually handles religious matters including annulment of marriage, aka divorce. The big thing about these courts is that both parties to a dispute have to agree to be bound by the religious court rulings. The courts then become an arbitrator, not a court as we know them in law, and their findings are binding but only on the parties involved and only because both parties initially agreed to be bound by these findings.

July 27 2010 at 9:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tistolaugh

I knew we could count on the left to jump to defend Islam while at the same time continuing to attack Christians in America. What's up with that?

July 27 2010 at 8:53 PM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to tistolaugh's comment
Tom

Nobody can accuse Ramsey of being educated, that's for sure.

July 27 2010 at 8:31 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply

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