To demonstrate the extent to which religion rules the Republican Party, a Muslim man in Harris County, Texas was temporarily prevented from serving as a precinct chair in his local Republican Party because to one member of the party, “Islam and Christianity don’t mix.”
Harris County contains Houston, which houses the largest Muslim population in Texas. Syed Ali, a 62-year-old longtime Republican, was voted to become a precinct chair, having been “nominated by [precinct] committee and voted on by the local party," according to Gawker.
This was passing during the meeting when local pastor and party chaplain Trebor Gordon interrupted with a motion to block the nomination, feeling the need to publicly express his bigoted views.
“Islam and Christianity do not mix,” Gordon lectured. “During my prayer, this man did not bow his head. During the pledge of allegiance, he did not utter a word. He didn’t even try to fake it and move his lips.
If you believe that a person can practice Islam and agree to the foundational principles of the Republican Party, it’s not right. It’s not true. It can’t happen. There are things on our platform that he and his beliefs are total opposite.”
Gordon appears to be unaware that all branches of the U.S. government operate on a fundamental separation of church and state—Christianity is no more tied to the Republican Party than Islam.
According to the Washington Post, his pronouncement was met with disbelief—precinct chair Felicia Winfree Cravens recounted that, “There were more shocked faces in that room than you could count.”
The room began to debate Gordon’s motion, with one man even questioning whether Islam was a religion. Ultimately, the majority voted in favor to appoint Ali, although as the Post notes, “numerous people [could] be heard agreeing with Gordon’s motion to block [Ali.]”
This level of ignorance and discrimination in 2016 is unfathomable— even Ben Carson said earlier this year that Islam is not consistent with the U.S. Constitution.
While it is commendable that the majority of Republicans in this particular room voted for Ali, religious discrimination is unfortunately still deeply seeded within our political parties that seem inextricably bound to Christianity.
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