July 27th, 2010
08:40 AM ET
4 years ago

Tennessee gubernatorial candidate takes heat for Islam jibe

A Republican running in Tennessee's gubernatorial election is taking heat after some controversial comments he made about Islam surfaced online.
A Republican running in Tennessee's gubernatorial election is taking heat after some controversial comments he made about Islam surfaced online.

(CNN) – A Republican running in Tennessee's gubernatorial election is taking heat after comments he made earlier this month questioning whether Islam is a religion surfaced online.

In a YouTube video posted July 15 and reported by the liberal website Talking Points Memo Monday, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is seen at a campaign event expressing his opposition to an expansion of a mosque in Murfressboro, Tennessee.

The proposed expansion has become a hot-button issue in the city about 35 miles southeast of Nashville, with supporters alleging that opponents are displaying religious intolerance, while people fighting the mosque say zoning concerns and worries about Islamic radicalism are their chief concerns.

Ramsey, who has been endorsed by 20 Tea Party organizations, said he is a supporter of religious freedoms but such protections may not extend to facilitating "shariah [Islamic] law into the state of Tennessee. . .into the United States."

"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, a cult, whatever you want to call it," he continued. "But certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time, this is something we are going to have to face."

Ramsey's comments came the same day several hundred opponents of the mosque faced off against roughly the same number of counter-protesters in a march from the city's middle school to its courthouse.

Now the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging Ramsey to meet with Muslim leaders in Tennessee so he can be provided with a "balanced and accurate information about Islam."

"We see a disturbing trend in our nation in which it is suggested that American Muslims should have fewer or more restricted constitutional rights than citizens of other faiths," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Meanwhile, Ramsey defended his comments Monday, saying, "My concern is that far too much of Islam has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than peace-loving religion.

"It's time for American Muslims who love this country to publicly renounce violent jihadism and to drum those who seek to do America harm out of their faith community," Ramsey also said in a statement to Talking Points Memo.

Ramsey is facing Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp for the GOP nomination. Wamp has also been the subject of recent controversy, appearing to suggest last week that Tennessee should consider secession in light of mandates forced on the states by the Obama administration's health care bill. Wamp later walked back those comments.

A Mason-Dixon poll released Sunday indicates Haslam leading Wamp and Ramsey by double digits ahead of the August 5 primary.


Filed under: 2010 • Popular Posts • Ron Ramsey • Tennessee
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. misanthropicus

    1) Ramsey is perfectly right; 2) Ramsey deserves full support from the Tennessee population for his view; 3) and the simple fact that Ramsey's views have been presented by the CNN as a "controversial" shows, time and again, how the cultural relativism and the general liberal irresponsibility that characterizes the MSM is an active cause of the miserable state of affair this nation languishes in; 4) Support Ramsey – and no mosque on Ground Zero -

    July 27, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. Jack

    Uhuh. Here's a 25 watt bulb shining it's light over TN. I'm going to have to show this to my muslim friends at work. This will give them a chuckle or two. So, what cult does he belong to? Baptist? Pentecostal? Does he jump up and down and talk in tongues?

    July 27, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. charlie from the North

    I would encourage everyone to listen, really listen to what those who want to be our leaders say:

    The tea party is out of touch and Republicans trying to win their favor are sounding more and more like a bunch of idiots.

    Hey maybe the tea party can be helpful in forcing the GOP to show it's true colors.

    July 27, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. independent

    God made us all from the same blood. Then, he dispersed us all over the world.

    We are of one blood and in his image.

    There are many ways up the mountain. There is but one mountain.

    July 27, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Cedar Rapids

    'Meanwhile, Ramsey defended his comments Monday, saying, "My concern is that far too much of Islam has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than peace-loving religion.'

    Who-ever said religions are peace loving by definition?
    What a strange concept.

    July 27, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Nick , California

    What a hypocrite... its the crusade of white Christians that I am afraid of!!!

    "My concern is that far too much of Islam has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than peace-loving religion."

    My concern is that CHRISTIANITY has come to resemble a violent political philosophy more than a peace loving religion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These politicians use the example of religion to control their followers by using fear.. it is a philosophy revolving around fear.. fear of hell... fear of sin.. fear of other not like yourself! Fear leads to hatred... hatred leads to suffering!!

    July 27, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Erika

    The politics of fear...

    July 27, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Roscoe

    Keep drinking the Tea, boys.

    July 27, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. 2Tired2Care

    And we wonder why so much of the world hates us???

    July 27, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Chris_VA

    Oh...we have freedom of religion, so long as it's a religion the mob approves of. Got it.

    July 27, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. JohnM

    Yes, he wants to protect religion. The thing is, only if he gets to define what's a religion because now he believes himself equal to 'God' and therefore has the right to do so.

    July 27, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. gate

    Obviously the Constitution protects us from Sharia Law. It also protects us from the Christian Taliban like Ramsey who want to replace our freedoms with their own strict Christian Sharia Law. They want to limit the rights of women and homosexuals. If they could they would ban inter-racial marriage. These people are narrow minded bigots who want to force their beliefs on others. They are no better than the people they pretend to oppose.

    July 27, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. gw

    If he doesn't know if Islam is a religion, he's certainly not competent to serve as governor. This is beyond dumb. Any grade school child knows something about the major religions and every soldier serving in Afghanistan and Iraq knows that Islam is indeed a religion.

    July 27, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. abe

    Whatever happened to the Christian thing of 'Love Thy Neighbor'? Maybe that was taken out of context and really means in his mind "Love Thy Neighbor Only If They Are Christian'. Such hogwash these so-called Christians are. Islam a nationality?? Then I guess all those Chinese restaurants, Thai restaurants are a nationality and should be banned in the U S of A. How stupid can these politicians get? To quote Thomas Jefferson "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are
    injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor
    to say there are twenty gods or no god. " It follows then that it does not injure Mr Ron Ramsey that a mosque is being enlarged.

    July 27, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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