"No Jews Allowed."
A sign like that would be infuriating. How about a presidential candidate saying he would be uncomfortable appointing Jews to his cabinet, you know, with all those dual loyalty questions? Outrageous bigotry, you say? Now substitute Muslim for Jew and you have Republican presidential wannabe Herman Cain.
The Godfather Pizza mogul is peddling poisoned political pizza. His latest is opposition to plans to build a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which he apparently feels would be part of a plot to expand Islamic extremism in the United States.
He defends his bigotry by accusing Muslims of trying to inject Sharia law into his country.
Religious bigotry isn’t new in politics. In 2008 Mitt Romney had to defend his Mormon faith as a legitimate Christian religion. The anti-Catholic slur "rum, Romanism and rebellion" may have cost James G. Blaine the presidency in 1884; Al Smith was a victim of anti-Catholic bias in the 1928 presidential race and JFK finally overcame it in 1960.
"Cain is taking arms against a threat that exists only in his own imagination. It makes as much sense to worry that the Amish will force us all to commute by horse and buggy," writes Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson.