Oklahoma state Representative John Bennett’s statements are more horrible and significant than press coverage indicates.
Last week, Bennett spoke to a hundred of his constituents. He told them that Muslims are “a cancer that must be cut out of American society,” because their goal is “the destruction of Western Civilization from within.” His constituents gave him a standing ovation. He followed up these remarks the next day by saying, “Muslim Americans who subscribe to Islam are just as bad as ISIS.” So all Muslims, including my own students, are just like an army that beheads, crucifies, and forcibly converts people.
In response, some groups asked Bennett to apologize and even to resign. Many religious and civil rights organizations and news columnists denounced his remarks. Some pointed out that Bennett’s comments could incite violence.
Bennett, in his horrible speech, said, “I’m not advocating violence against anyone.” How exactly does he expect to achieve his goal of cutting Muslims out of American society? It seems to me that he has four options, all of which require violence:
- Forcible conversion of all 2.5 million American Muslims.
- Mass expulsion of all 2.5 million American Muslims, including American citizens who were born here. Note: When you “deport” people from their own country, it’s no longer deportation, it’s ethnic cleansing.
- Concentration camps in which we hold 2.5 million people and their descendents forever.
- Mass extermination – genocide – of 2.5 million people, including American citizens who were born in this country.
There are lots of reasons to oppose such policies. In fact, since WW II, such policies are usually considered beyond the bounds of acceptable debate. But I’d like to offer a few selfish reasons to oppose such policies, just in case there are people out there who think Bennett’s position is reasonable.
1. Carrying out such policies would make America a pariah state. Our allies would abandon us. We would probably suffer economic sanctions and trade embargoes. We would be left isolated. This would leave us surrounded, for the first time in our history since the French and Indian War, by hostile countries. Our economy would be crushed.
2. Carrying out such policies would require that America become an authoritarian police state. That’s what happens when police and soldiers start taking orders to kill, detain, or expel innocent people who aren’t even accused of committing a crime. That’s when happens when a Congress or President starts passing laws or giving orders that are so obviously in violation of our Constitution. But perhaps Bennett thinks an authoritarian police state would be fine.
3. No one would be safe. Once a people cross a line like this, there’s no guarantee that it’s the end. Such a people will readily carry out such policies against other peoples. Who’s next? Gays? Hindus? Jews? Blacks?
Am I over-blowing Bennett’s comments? No, I’m just taking his stated desire and turning it into concrete policy for him. If he doesn’t actually want what I said above, then he needs to think about what he said.
If you’re one of Bennett’s constituents who gave him a standing ovation, consider all of the above. That’s what you’re signing up for. You’re supporting an isolated, poor, authoritarian America that in which your government rounds up one group after another.
Bennett’s colleagues and constituents should take a strong stand against him. Forget asking him to apologize. Forget saying that he should resign. The Oklahoma legislature should censure him and, if such legal mechanisms exist, remove him from office. His constituents should, if such legal mechanisms exist, recall him from office.
Hey John Bennett, Muslim-Americans aren’t “as bad as ISIS,” but you are. You’re the Christian, American version of Islamism.