Politics of Religion: Examining the Proposed Muslim-First Massachusetts Bill

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The Massachusetts State Senate is currently considering a bill (S. 1994) petitioned by State Senator James Eldridge aimed at inclusion of Americans of a singular religion – American Muslims – in the Commonwealth. Among its clauses is one which reads: (5) identify and recommend qualified American Muslims for appointive positions at all levels of government, including boards and commissions, as the commission considers necessary and appropriate…” This proposal is essentially an explicit collusion of the state government with religion – an old-age notion explicitly rejected by our founding fathers.

This bill has been flagged as unconstitutional by legal scholars, including Professor Steve Resnicoff of the DePaul College of Law who said, “It would clearly violate the principle of separation of church and state.” It is shocking that Sen. Eldridge, who earned a law degree from the Boston College Law School, is ignorant of our nearly 250 years of constitutional practice. He represents the Middlesex and Worcester senate districts, home to a diverse population including about 100,000 American Muslims who make up just 5% of the district, but are among the most affluent. From Eldridge’s Facebook posts, it appears that American Muslim activist groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Justice Education Technology Political Advocacy Center (JETPAC) are behind the bill.

While it is clear that CAIR and JETPAC have very cleverly pushed their own agenda of Muslim exclusivity, it is incomprehensible that elected officials in a mature, secular republic would succumb to such tactics. Muslims tend to vote as a collective for Muslim causes – is the Senator desperate for Muslim votes to win elections? The Muslim community in the Senator’s district is affluent – is the Senator desperate for contributions to run for public office? Muslim groups build and disseminate narratives to trigger sympathy for Muslims from innocent, secular Americans – has the Senator been groomed to take on Muslim-first causes by unscrupulous means? 

We have started to witness examples of Islamic agendas being implemented at local levels. For example, Hamtramck, MI – which has an entirely Muslim American run City Council –  recently revised their animal ordinance to allow the religious sacrifice of animals in residential homes against the objection of animal rights activists who insist that it will lead to animal cruelty and sanitation problems. Another example is the city of Minneapolis, which revised its noise ordinance so that Mosques can broadcast their call to prayer over loudspeakers, five times a day. In summer these calls could go out as early as 3:30 a.m. and as late as 11:00 p.m.

CAIR and other Muslim activist groups have also targeted any groups or politicians who they feel may thwart their agenda. For anyone opposing their views, their well-calibrated practice is to attack with supremacists/fascists labeling. They have succeeded in using local political units as proxies to launch these attacks so they can cover their tracks. An example of this was an unprecedented resolution passed by Teaneck New Jersey’s Democratic Municipal Committee attacking organizations of a different minority faith, including Hindu faith-based charity Sewa International, which serves all humanity and is active across the globe. Its volunteers have helped the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, evacuated thousands of students from Ukraine upon the start of the war, distributed thousands of oxygen concentrators at the height of the Delta wave, distributed food rations in Pakistan and Kenya to provide relief from food shortages, and raised money to help the earthquake affected in Turkey.

It is time for both political parties and their local units to wise-up to the propaganda tactics of such anti-secular activists, and not let them become a Trojan horse for pushing resolutions such as S.1994, that are contrary to the founding principles of our great, secular republic.

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