Dr. Robert George, a widely respected Catholic law professor who does a lot of good in the world, scolded Herman Cain in a blog entry today for Cain's statement that he would require "loyalty proof" from Muslims who wanted to work in a Cain administration. George writes:
If his words are being reported accurately, what he said is wrong, foolish, and unacceptable. It is disrespectful of Muslims, the vast majority of whom in our country are, as Cain himself seems to acknowledge, loyal, honorable citizens; and it is incompatible with a sound understanding of religious freedom (and with the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution's no-religious-tests clause). It puts Cain in a camp with Martha Coakley, the hapless Massachusetts Democrat who, when running against Scott Brown for the United States Senate, infamously said that devout Catholics should not work in emergency rooms inasmuch as they are unwilling to be involved in providing contraceptives and abortions. That is a place Mr. Cain surely does not want to be. Now is his chance to show that he is the kind of man who is willing to admit a mistake and make things right. I hope that he will reflect on what he said and, at the first possible opportunity, repudiate the idea that Muslim citizens are to be held to standards of "loyalty proof" higher than those to which other citizens are held. He should make clear that, if elected President, he will hold possible appointees to his administration to exactly the same standards, irrespective of their religious faith. That would be the right thing to do. It would, moreover, be the American thing to do.
I grow weary of my fellow Catholics equating discrimination against Catholics in America with common-sense measures needed to protect ourselves against the mortal threat of Islamism. As a philosopher one would expect Dr. George to know that justice is the rendering to each man his due; the treatment of like things alike, and of different things according to their natures. Catholicism and Islam have objective content: one is true, the other false; one is committed to peace, the other to war; one is a religion of justice, the other of oppression. A man who embraces Catholicism is not the same as a man who embraces Islam: the two things are not alike, and in fact they are naturally antagonistic on many levels. Islamism is a grave threat to the United States, and those who embrace the wicked doctrines of Mohammed should not expect the welcome mat at the highest levels of government. Herman Cain would be wise to stick to his guns, and Robert George to admit his mistake.