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Yesterday, in the birthstate of the Scopes "Monkey" trial of the 1920's, Tennessee struck again, this time in the town of Murphreeboro.  Judge Todd Campbell gave the final approval for occupancy of a new mosque after a protracted war with a bunch of so-called Americans who declared that Islam wasn't a "real" religion. These folks, apparently either too bored to think or simply unable to tell the difference between the Constitution and a roll of outhouse paper, were convinced that Muslims were going to destroy the country and substitute Islamic law. They must not have had much faith in our way of life.

However, whereas Scopes' trial was about a teacher daring to teach what almost every rational person accepts as fact - Evolutionary Theory-  the latest battle dealt with the affrontery of a group of people to want a place of worship that was - gasp! - different from the majority of flag-waving Murphreeboro-ians. All this in the name of Jesus, good old Mom and apple pie.

Too bad it wasn't televised.

O.K., I'll stipulate that the Scopes trial was staged. John Scopes, the teacher involved, was fully aware of what he was getting into and, according to some reports, even relished it. He was also aware that the local Board of "Education" was commanding every teacher not to teach what was a part of the approved textbook, which he felt was not only wrong, but against the whole idea of education. But the facts were that Tennessee had something called the Butler Act on the books that made it illegal to teach evolution and that was that.

The people who wanted to worship in the mosque, however, weren't aware of doing anything wrong. Wasn't this the Land of the Free? Wasn't there a First Amendment? Not quite. According to the intellectual pygmies who tried to keep the mosque from happening, the one and a half-billion humans who follow the teachings of the Prophet are just wasting their time because the good God-fearing people of Murphreesboro have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but what Uncle Zeke and Fox News says is the truth. 'Cain't trust them  A-rabs!

This reminds me of the guy who gets a cell phone call in his car and his wife says, "Honey, watch out! There's an idiot going the wrong way on the freeway!!" The guy says, What do you mean one? There's thousands of them!"

Of course, not all people who live in the fair state of Tennessee are congenital cretins. Letters have poured in distancing the writers from the lunatic fringe that evidently is a force to be reckoned with in good old Murphreeboro, TN. I'm sure, now that a federal (boo! hiss!) judge has thrown out what surely must be one of the most asinine law suits in U.S. history, there will be parades, complete with presidential effiges (That Muslim!) and maybe even a white sheet or two. Yessir, you can't beat the land of the free.

John Scopes must be spinning in his grave. Almost a hundred years after Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan slugged it out over some misguided fanatic's effort to forbid truth in the name of God, here's another bunch that wants to squash people's right to worship in the name of the same God. I'm reminded of the German WWII Storm Troopers, each shiny little Nazi wearing a belt buckle that proudly stated "God With Us."

Thank God they weren't Muslim.

Originally posted to boguseconomist on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 11:00 PM PDT.

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