ThinkProgress filed this report from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Earlier this year, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain told ThinkProgress that if he were elected president, he would not be comfortable appointing Muslims in his administration.
Cain was asked about this refusal during last night’s Republican presidential debate and whether he felt that American Muslims were less committed to the United States than Christians or Jews. The presidential hopeful conceded that while he would not ban Muslims outright from serving in his administration, they would be held to higher loyalty standards than applicants from other religions.
ThinkProgress and other reporters spoke with Cain following the debate to draw out why he plans to target Muslims alone for a special loyalty oath. After he defended his proposal to implement more stringent requirement for prospective Muslim appointees than non-Muslims, a reporter asked Cain whether he felt that this was bigoted. The Georgia Republican responded, “No, it is not bigoted, it is called being careful and cautious”:
CAIN: [...] All I’m saying is I’m just going to be careful about who I put in my administration.
REPORTER: Does that apply to other religions?
CAIN: No it doesn’t apply to other religions, because we don’t have the same threat that we have from that particular one.
REPORTER: Sir, do you think that’s bigoted?
CAIN: Ma’am, no it is not bigoted, it is called being careful and cautious. Because I don’t want to run the risk that we would have militant jihadists in a position to harm this country or to harm an administration.
Cain, who is courting Tea Party support, would do well to brush up on Article VI of the Constitution. It states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Glenn Beck backed Cain’s prejudicial profiling of Muslims today on his radio program. While admitting that it might not be fair to appoint at Christian over a Muslim, Beck said, “Now knowing what I do know [about Islam]…Would I be more uncomfortable with a Muslim? Yes,” because “we have been all widely deceived” by Muslims.