Herman Cain: I’ll Hire Muslims In My Administration If They Take A Loyalty Oath

Several months ago, GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain made headlines when he said that he wouldn’t hire Muslims in his Administration because of this danger of “Sharia Law.” Yesterday on Glenn Beck’s show, Cain doubled down on that comment, saying that he’d hire Muslims, but only if they took a loyalty oath:

BECK: You said you would not appoint a Muslim to anybody in your administration. \

CAIN: The exact language was when I was asked, “would you be comfortable with a Muslim in your cabinet?” And I said, “no, I would not be comfortable.” I didn’t say I wouldn’t appoint one because if they can prove to me that they’re putting the Constitution of the United States first then they would be a candidate just like everybody else. My entire career, I’ve hired good people, great people, regardless of their religious orientation.

BECK: So wait a minute. Are you saying that Muslims have to prove their, that there has to be some loyalty proof?

CAIN: Yes, to the Constitution of the United States of America.

BECK: Would you do that to a Catholic or would you do that to a Mormon?

CAIN: Nope, I wouldn’t. Because there is a greater dangerous part of the Muslim faith than there is in these other religions. I know that there are some Muslims who talk about, “but we are a peaceful religion.” And I’m sure that there are some peace-loving Muslims.

I don’t often agree with Think Progress, but they nail it here:

Cain’s requirement that Muslim nominees take a loyalty oath while Catholics and Mormons would be exempted is not only bigoted, it’s also ironic considering that the same suspicion was once levied at Catholics. During the 1960 presidential election, anti-Catholic sentiment held that if then-Sen. John F. Kennedy were elected president, his Catholic faith would make him beholden to the Pope rather than the United States. Such views were abhorrent when directed at Catholics 50 years ago, and they are abhorrent when directed at Muslims today.

The sad truth of the matter, though, is that comments like this are more likely to help Cain among the GOP base than they are to hurt him.

Cain is a skilled public speaker, and he comes across well on television, which is likely part of the reason he’s risen in the polls. When he says stuff like this, though, he just sounds like a guy who belongs out on the fringe rather than among the top tier candidates.

In parting, I’ll just remind Cain of Article VI, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Indeed.

Update: Apologies for the formatting errors in the original version of this post.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Islam, Quick Takes, Religion, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. TG Chicago says:

    You need to take another pass at this post. You quoted the same Beck/Cain interview twice, for instance.

  2. Franklin says:

    Wow, he just went from “interesting guy who is a bit more religious than I’d like” to “total nutcase”. Unless this is found to be a misquotation, this is the last post I’m reading on the guy. Nail meet coffin.

  3. Fixed now TG, copy/paste mistakes

  4. victoria_29 says:

    your wrong, they will hurt him except with the dumbest of Americans. Not because they are bigoted but because it shows once again his lack of knowledge. He obviously doesn’t get Muslim is not a race but a way of life-social, political, economic & religious. A person can NOT be a Muslim period & put anything ahead of Allah & his agenda which is to kill infidels. Hopefully even the blindest of Cain supporters will realize his lack of grasp of this concept as well as in other areas of foreign affairs will be disasterous for the US.

  5. CB says:

    well, this thread is clearly going to bring the crazy. good luck, doug.

  6. Jay Tea says:

    While you’re in a fixing mood, Doug, you might wanna do something about “Untied States.”

    Sigh… technically, Cain has a point here. Of all the acts of “treason” of the past decade or so (not necessarily in the legal sense), the single most common element has been adherence to Islam. More specifically, they were acts committed in the name of Islam.

    It’s a bit over the top to talk about how people who might be considered for high government office might have Islamist tendencies. And Cain’s tossing out a bit too much red meat here.

    J.

  7. John Peabody says:

    Perhaps Mr. Cain thought this would correct his earlier remark. But…c’mon! He would trust someone who took a loyalty oath? The Ft. Hood shooter took an oath, too, at his commissioning into the US Army. He recited another oath as he fired at unarmed soldiers around him.

    Let’s not pretend a loyalty oath is an answer.

  8. @jay

    Can you tell I wasn’t quite awake this morning?

  9. TG Chicago says:

    Of all the acts of “treason” of the past decade or so (not necessarily in the legal sense), the single most common element has been adherence to Islam. More specifically, they were acts committed in the name of Islam.

    So why not disqualify all religious people while we’re at it?

    Oh, because it’s only one strain of religion that has been involved. Okay.

    So why not only disqualify that one strain, extremist Islamism?

    Oh, because that way we don’t get to be as bigoted as possible. Got it.

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    So why not disqualify all religious people while we’re at it?

    Seeing everyone has a religion that might be a good idea:) Are we ready to have computers run this place and what kind of test do we use for the techs and programmers? LOL! the three page rule could become a reality yet!

  11. Jay Tea says:

    TG, I got several thousand reasons why I think radical Islam should be put head and shoulders above the other religions. Those reasons all have the names of Americans killed in the name of Allah — and I’m excluding members of the military.

    The Underwear Bomber wasn’t Mormon.

    The shoe bomber wasn’t Catholic.

    The DC snipers weren’t Baptists.

    The 9/11 hijackers weren’t Jews.

    Major Hassan isn’t Lutheran.

    The guy who shot up the Arkansas recruiting station wasn’t Methodist.

    The dude who shot up the El Al ticket booth at LAX wasn’t Buddhist.

    Justice is supposed to be blind, in many ways. That doesn’t mean we ought to all put on our own blindfolds. In fact, it’s downright suicidal.

    J.

  12. Jay Tea says:

    Doug, I’ll take shots at you over many things, but never anything more serious than a mild tweaking over typos. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve typed Iran for Iraq or vice versa — why the HELL do two countries with such similar names HAVE to be right next to each other?

    J.

  13. James in LA says:

    Jay Tea, what religion is W, who had to have cartoons drawn for him by Rummy to reinforce at all times that we are on two (ish) crusader wars? How many civilians have since died as a result of War-For-Profit? The base loves Israel because they need her to complete the temple mount to usher in their wretched end of all things.

    How many civilians have been murdered by American arms in the name of white european jeebus? And remember: America is the world’s largest arms dealer. Putting a gun on the wall on Act I only assures it will be used in Act III.

    What religion was W when he admitted on national television that he gave the order to torture?

    Your argument is meaningless. Herman’s Cain argument is dead on arrival. When someone commits a crime, time to try and jail them upon conviction. Religion is not relevant.

  14. MM says:

    Jay Tea: What religion was Scott Roeder? Or Jim Addkison? Or Richard Poplowski? Or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg? Or Robert Hansen?

  15. A voice from another precinct says:

    To play devil’s advocate for a moment, Cain isn’t applying a religious test to office holders, he is asking for a loyalty oath from a subsegment of the population. Saying “I won’t appoint any Muslims” is using a religious test, i.e. the person must be of a religion other than Islam, but requiring a loyalty oath from people from a specific religious group that can be said to hold exclusionist views may not be the same.

    With that in mind, I would suggest that candidate Cain needs to look at another exclusionist views holding group the sacred text of which says (among other things)
    “No man can serve two masters…”
    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…”
    “Let a man deny himself and take up his cross and foilow me…”

    Fortunately for Cain, most practitioners of that religion would have no conflict of interest since they believe that following their religion and obeying the state are the same action because of the special relationship of their religion and their God with the state. But that is sort of what Cain is getting at in his oblique way. It’s all code.

  16. mantis says:

    Of all the acts of “treason” of the past decade or so (not necessarily in the legal sense)

    Not in the legal sense, but rather just Jay’s definition of treason, which I guess doesn’t apply to non-Muslims.

    Funny how his list of “treasonous” Muslims includes a lot of non-US citizens. Can you be treasonous against a country of which you are not a citizen? Apparently, in Jay’s world, but only if you’re a Muslim.

  17. CB says:

    or the guy who lit up 3 cops with an AK because he thought obama wanted to take his guns. or the guy who flew his plane into an IRS building. or guys like mcveigh and nichols.

    people do any number of despicable things for any number of reasons. one of them being islamic jihad. which is why we are correct to have intelligence operations dedicated to monitoring and stopping jihadists. what is not correct is to issue blanket condemnations against muslims in general, and simply assert that they all want to kill us, as if islam is one big homogenous blob of evil.

    i cant believe i even have to write this.

  18. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, the delightful equivalence card. Yeah, a lot of non-Muslims have done bad things. But how many of them explicitly did so in the name of their religion, cited specific religious doctrine, scriptures, and authorities to justify it, and were celebrated by a large number of their co-adherents?

    mantis, I go by the old-school definition of “treason:” taking arms against one’s nation and siding with the enemy. Dr. Hassan hasn’t been charged with treason. Nor has Al-Awlaki, the American Taliban leader Obama has issued a “kill on sight” order, without benefit of trial. (Which I support, but should give his liberal backers hives.) John Walker Lindh plea-bargained his way out before he could be charged.

    News flash: not all religions are equal. Sorry to break that to you.

    J.

  19. mantis says:

    I go by the old-school definition of “treason:”

    Does this “old-school definition” include non-citizens? How does that work?

    News flash: not all religions are equal.

    Under the Constitution of the United States of America, they are. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable someplace else?

  20. Tano says:

    If someone were really intent on using a government position to surreptitiously advance a Sharia law agenda (while working for a conservative Republican administration), would you think they would be deterred by having to take a loyalty oath?

    What kind of a moron would seriously think that requiring such an oath would be a barrier to being infiltrated by Sharia warriors?

  21. Jay Tea says:

    Oddly enough, mantis, the three examples I cited were all American citizens. Funny how I lucked into that one, huh?

    J.

  22. Jay Tea says:

    And let me clarify, mantis: not all religions are morally equal. Not all religions are equally likely to inspire mass slaughter these days. Not all religions are equally tolerant. Not all religons have “bloody borders.” Not all religions are equal about claiming a pedophilic, psychopathic warlord as their ideal. Not all religions equally preach (and practice) that women are chattel and gays are to be killed.

    J.

  23. Tlaloc says:

    I maintain that Cain will go nowhere in the primary. he’ll flame out like F. Thompson last time around. It’s one thing to pull off a successful insurgent campaign (where successful means getting disproportionate attention) but another to change that into a successful real campaign (where success means getting money and votes).

  24. Axel Edgren says:

    So why did MLK fight for this subhuman’s civil rights again? Cain can go to the back of the bus until he learns his lesson.

  25. Tlaloc says:

    Not all religions are equal about claiming a pedophilic, psychopathic warlord as their ideal.

    `

    kind of hard on the pope there aren’t you?

  26. TG Chicago says:

    So why did MLK fight for this subhuman’s civil rights again? Cain can go to the back of the bus until he learns his lesson.

    Apparently Southern Hoosier’s influence is rubbing off on others.

  27. TG Chicago says:

    TG, I got several thousand reasons why I think radical Islam should be put head and shoulders above the other religions.

    Above?

    Anyway, I’m okay with not hiring radical Islamists to administration posts, just as I’m okay with not hiring radical Christianists or radical Judaists or radical Rastafists. Violent radicals probably aren’t well suited for effective governance, regardless of their religion. If that’s what Cain meant, he should be more clear about it.

    I have a feeling that’s not what Cain meant, though.

  28. CB says:

    TG,

    by definition, all muslims are violent radicals. thats what i learned today in this thread, anyway.

  29. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jay Tea:

    Yeah, a lot of non-Muslims have done bad things. But how many of them explicitly did so in the name of their religion, cited specific religious doctrine, scriptures, and authorities to justify it, and were celebrated by a large number of their co-adherents?

    Christian terrorists are also “celebrated by a large number of their co-adherents.” Palin refused to say that Eric Rudolph is a terrorist. The people of Murphy NC hid him from the FBI and treated him as a Christian hero.

    Many Jews honor Baruch Goldstein as a hero. Menachem Begin’s terrorist bombing of the King David hotel (done ‘in the name of religion’) didn’t stop him from becoming prime minister, and that terrorist bombing is still celebrated in Israel.

    You seem to be starting with the premise that Muslims are especially likely to support terrorism. You need to tell us how you got to be smarter than Gallup:

    Muslims and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustifiable.

    Sorry to burst your bigoted bubble.

  30. mantis says:

    Oddly enough, mantis, the three examples I cited were all American citizens. Funny how I lucked into that one, huh?

    Gee, I was looking at your first list, right under your “treason” comment. Plenty of non-citizens there. Way to move the goalposts.

  31. mantis says:

    And let me clarify, mantis: not all religions are morally equal.

    I’ll not take lessons in morality from the likes of you.

  32. CB says:

    i would add that, generally speaking, religion is used a pretext for expressing mainly political grievances when it comes to terrorism. rarely is religion the primary motivating factor, at least at the strategic level.

  33. TG Chicago says:

    i would add that, generally speaking, religion is used a pretext for expressing mainly political grievances when it comes to terrorism. rarely is religion the primary motivating factor, at least at the strategic level.

    Excellent point. That is the difference between Islamism (which is often dangerous) and Islam (which rarely is).

  34. James in LA says:

    Herman Cain’s candidacy is now done. He declares that homosexuality is both sin and choice.

    http://theothermccain.com/2011/06/09/herman-cain-speaks-bluntly-i-believe-homosexuality-is-a-sin-their-choice/

    This will not sit well on the national stage, sorry. Friends and family members of GLBT people will be turned off. It is divisive in an ugly way that needs to die. No points will be scored continuing to kick gay folks. And hand me not Iowa nor South Carolina, his “alleged audience.” No, he believes it, and that is far, far worse than pandering.

  35. Joe R. says:

    In addition to the stupid of what he said…wouldn’t anyone in high positions have to take an oath of office anyway?

  36. Joe,

    All persons appointed by the President to any position are required to take an oath to the Constitution. His idea is absurd and silly, which is usually what most ideas that vanity candidates have are. And I’m coming to think Cain is just a vanity candidate.

  37. Not to split a hair or anything -did the transcript of the interview or the video actually say anything specifically about an oath? Or have many of you simply accepted TP premise? The problem with Islam is not Herman Cain. The problem with Islam is 9/11, and the USS Cole, Ft. Hood, and the embassy bombings in Africa, Times Square and Daniel Pearl, and Iran’s Ahmdamnmadjihad, and Hezbollah and Bali and Anwar Al-waki, and… and…. Other than having an opinion that many people disagree with and find politically incorrect, is there any reason to believe that Herman Cain is wrong to be concerned about Muslims?