"I think it is an infringement and abuse of our freedom of religion, and I don't agree with what's happening here because this isn't an innocent mosque," Cain told reporters after speaking to a crowd of hundreds on the Murfreesboro Public Square.
"This is another way to sneak Shariah law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that," Cain said.
As Adam Serwer points out, the law that's a problem for those in Murfreesboro who have tried to block the mosque from being built isn't Shariah. It's federal and state laws that keep local zoning rules from blocking construction of religious facilities. Foes of the mosque tried to get around that by declaring that Islam is not a religion. The judge, apparently without a single guffaw, ruled last November they were wrong and that construction could move ahead.
Cain isn't exactly being original here. Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey leaped into the fight last year with similar claims:
Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on. But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee—to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution.
All about freedom of religion as long as it's not that religion.
Bill Ruark of Tyler, Texas, attended Cain's rally in Murfreesboro and was pleased with what he heard:
"He wants to define who are our enemies right now, and who are our allies," he said. "Morally, he's not afraid to say he's a Christian. He's not trying to force it down people's throats, and I appreciate that. And he's not afraid to say who he is."
On the contrary, forcing it down people's throats is exactly what Cain has in mind.