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DesJarlais Rails Against Muslim Cemetery

Rep. Scott DesJarlais has taken time away from his very busy schedule of screwing his patients, impregnating them and urging them to get abortions despite his claim of being “pro-life” to pander to anti-Muslim bigots who are throwing a fit about a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee building a cemetery on their property.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) took to Facebook last Friday to inform his constituents that he had heard their concerns about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro being permitted to construct a cemetery on its grounds loud and clear and shared their worries.

“Friends, I have received numerous calls over the last couple of weeks regarding the Murfreesboro mosque cemetery,” DesJarlais wrote. “Although this is a state issue, I am deeply concerned over the impact it might have on our community.”

The issue DesJarlais was referring to was the decision from the Rutherford County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) at the beginning of the month to approve the Islamic Center’s request to construct a cemetery on its grounds…

While members of the mosque celebrated the decision, DesJarlais believes that the BZA’s approval could have been withheld if only the state legislature had not passed a law protecting religious freedom. “Unfortunately the Tennessee Religious Freedom Act, passed by the TN General Assembly, may have played a key role in allowing this cemetery to be approved,” the two-term representative wrote. “There is a difference between legislation that would protect our religious freedoms and legislation that would allow for the circumvention of laws that other organizations comply with on a daily basis.”

DesJarlais was referring to Tennessee’s passage of the Tennessee Religious Freedom Act in 2009, a bill which provides that “no government entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” The Republican’s newfound opposition to the bill was seen as surprising to Saleh Sbenaty, a board member of the Murfreesboro mosque. “Republicans in particular call for smaller government and the local government to manage itself,” she told to The Daily News Journal. “So now here he is interfering with a local process that has been following all rules and regulations [...] There are 514 cemeteries in Rutherford County. None of them have gone through the scrutiny we have gone through.”…

According to the BZA chairman Zane Cantrell, the decision from DesJarlais to strike out against the mosque on Facebook is a purely political move. “Obviously DesJarlais is desperate to get votes, especially in Rutherford County,” Cantrell, who supports a state senator running for DesJarlais’ seat, told The Daily News Journal. “I can’t imagine who would vote for DesJarlais over Jim Tracy. DesJarlais is desperate. He sees he’s losing the battle to Jim Tracy, and he’s doing something to call attention to himself.”

And just like the “Ground Zero Mosque” in Manhattan, we see the same Christian right that demands laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act to give churches exemptions from zoning regulations and other generally applicable laws throwing a fit when a Muslim group gets to do what they don’t want them to do — which basically means to exist. In the cases of both the Manhattan and Murfreesboro mosques, there wasn’t even an exemption needed or requested, both facilities were in full compliance with zoning regulations and had the approval of the relevant local commissions. So basically what we have is this: Christian groups should be exempted from any and all regulations in order to preserve their “religious freedom,” while Muslim groups should not be allowed to do anything even if it complies with the law completely. But nah, there’s not such thing as Islamophobia or anything, is there?

Comments

  1. matty1 says

    Is the objection just that Muslim’s shouldn’t get anything they ask for or is there actually an argument against this cemetery? At least in the case of the ‘ground zero mosque’ (or community centre a few streets away) they were making claims about it offending people, not good arguments but arguments, here there doesn’t even seem to be that level of thought.

  2. Chiroptera says

    I bet that DesJarlais would be even more unhappy if Muslims were immortal.

    -

    Seriously, though, what is the problem with the cemetary? Just that Muslims are going to be buried there? What the hell do they think they’re supposed to do with dead Muslims? Throw them in the dumpster?

  3. otrame says

    As I understand it, Muslims do not bury their dead in coffins and do not embalm them. That is not the common practice in the US but there is a growing movement for “green” burials. I suspect the concern is that the burial practices are just different from what most in Rutherford County are used to and, far more importantly, they are Muslim burial practices, which makes them, de facto, bad.

    So, parochialism with a big old serving of religious bigotry being taken advantage of instead of being discouraged. No surprise there.

  4. Wylann says

    “There is a difference between legislation that would protect our religious freedoms and legislation that would allow for the circumvention of laws that other organizations comply with on a daily basis.”

    He’s so close to the truth here.

    My fundiespeak translator says that he really means what Dunc @1 said.

  5. says

    matty1, you don’t understand. First, they come here at all. Then, they get a crappy job and a worse appartment. Then they get a mosk. Then a cemetary. Then, after a mere few generations, they’ll be considered “close enough” to Real Americans that they’ll be allowed to help Us kick down the next wave of foreign cultists with their weird accents, bizarre relgious beliefs, and food that smells bad.
    For America and Freedom and America, we can’t allow this to happen.

  6. says

    “Republicans in particular call for smaller government and the local government to manage itself,” she told to The Daily News Journal. “So now here he is interfering with a local process that has been following all rules and regulations [...]“

    Silly person. You really think the Republican call for smaller and more local government is a sincere statement of principle and not just an excuse for getting their way, readily abandoned when getting their way requires doing the opposite?

  7. eric says

    You all don’t get the REAL problem here. Once we have muslim burial grounds, we will begin to have terrible horror movies about how buliding on them will release muslim freddie krugers. Allowing this cemetary to be built will let hollywood find a new low – a new barrel with a lower bottom, and doom, DOOM us to many seasons of even crappier hollywood ripoffs.

  8. markr1957 says

    They’ve gone from “The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim” to “Even dead Muslims are bad”? WTF.

  9. raven says

    What the hell do they think they’re supposed to do with dead Muslims? Throw them in the dumpster?

    Yeah, that was my thought.

    What does DesJarlais expect Moslems to do with their dead?

    Leave them on a hilltop for sky burial? Stuff them and put them on a wall? Make them into Soylent Green? I don’t think humans are halal.

  10. TxSkeptic says

    markr1957: They’re so misguided. First, it’s the christians that have their dead rise to be flesh eating zombies, am I right? Second, calm not terroristic muslims simply die, and go to heaven or hell, and stay there. Third, the dead ones we would really worry about, the true martyrs for Allah, Why in the (other) world would they come back? They’ve got their 72 virgins, which may have been what motivated them in the first place.

  11. Chiroptera says

    “no government entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”

    I’m already on record that I oppose this kind of crap. Religious people and religious groups should be required to obey the same laws that everyone else has to obey. If there is a reason that a “conscience exemption” should be allowed, it should be possible to write it in a way that is entirely secular. Personally, I don’t see this law as protecting religious liberty as much as I see it as a violation of the First Amendment.

    So, if the Muslims were able to put in a cemetary in a place in violation of zoning regulations that everyone else would be expected to obey, and if there no exemptions to this that would be available to other groups, then I would find this objectionable as well.

    On the other hand, it was the damned Christofascists who are responsible for the law to begin with! I have to admit a certain satisfaction to see the chill go up their spines as they realize that they just opened up their own privileges to other groups which they despise.

    -

    “There is a difference between legislation that would protect our religious freedoms and legislation that would allow for the circumvention of laws that other organizations comply with on a daily basis.”

    Translation: Shit! We once again forgot that “religion” refers to more than just Protestant Christianity! How do we keep getting that wrong?

  12. says

    Oh, please! To us Freedom-loving Conservatives, as long as it’s not in Muslin cemetaries we don’t care where they get buried. We haven’t thought that far ahead. In fact, we didn’t think at all. Didn’t need to. Thinking takes time away from stepping on groups we fear and loath.

  13. Synfandel says

    …he had heard their concerns about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro being permitted to construct a cemetery on its grounds loud and clear and shared their worries.

    Has anyone seen or heard even one of these “concerns” or “worries” articulated?

    I am deeply concerned over the impact it might have on our community.

    Has anyone seen or heard him define the alleged “impact” on the community?

  14. Synfandel says

    I think we’re reading this all wrong. The good citizens of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, have “concerns” and “worries”. Clearly they are concerned and worried that Muslims are building their own separate cemetery because they don’t feel welcome to bury their dead in the same cemeteries as the dead of their Christian neighbours. Think of the divisive “impact it might have on our community” if Muslims felt so alienated. The people of Murfreesboro are just reaching out a hand of friendship and saying “come bury your dead with ours.”

    What other explanation could there be?

  15. says

    Chiroptera said:

    I’m already on record that I oppose this kind of crap. Religious people and religious groups should be required to obey the same laws that everyone else has to obey. If there is a reason that a “conscience exemption” should be allowed, it should be possible to write it in a way that is entirely secular. Personally, I don’t see this law as protecting religious liberty as much as I see it as a violation of the First Amendment.

    Absolutely agree with this. Remind me how marriage equality became a “special right” demanded by gays, and yet religious exemptions to otherwise binding laws are not special rights for the religious?

  16. tubi says

    Imagine how they’d freak out if it was a Zoroastrian community.

    Though, to be fair, I’d be kind of freaked out by a Tower of Silence in my neighborhood.

  17. raven says

    Though, to be fair, I’d be kind of freaked out by a Tower of Silence in my neighborhood.

    I don’t see why. Vultures need to eat too.

    This is a form of sky burial. Not common these days but not unheard of. Some Tibetans still use it.

  18. eric says

    Chiroptera:

    I’m already on record that I oppose this kind of crap. Religious people and religious groups should be required to obey the same laws that everyone else has to obey.

    While I agree with you, the board member appears to be saying that they followed all the rules (and therefore the special law isn’t relevant anyway). So this looks to be just grandstanding by DesJarlais.

  19. matty1 says

    If there is a reason that a “conscience exemption” should be allowed, it should be possible to write it in a way that is entirely secular.

    I would go further and build a presumption of liberty into the law making process. If a law is not enough of a compelling public interest that even those who are strongly against it should be made to comply it is not compelling enough that anyone should have to comply. Conversely if there is a strong enough case to restrict anyone’s ability to do whatever they want then it must be strong enough to over ride sincerely held beliefs.

    Anything else is playing favourites.

    Caveats
    – the law applies to similarly situated people I’m not demanding car insurance for people who don’t own a car.
    - there are a few groups of people who may merit different treatment such as minors or prisoners but these should be the exception and note that they are groups that get less leeway from the law not more.

  20. savagemutt says

    Leave them on a hilltop for sky burial? Stuff them and put them on a wall? Make them into Soylent Green? I don’t think humans are halal.

    Well, duh. they should be buried in the cemetery in Muslimia or wherever it is that evil foreigners come from.

  21. marcus says

    Hey, I’m sure DesJarlais is willing to compromise. If the law was changed to specify “live” burials only I bet he would happily support it.

  22. says

    billdaniels “Forget the dumpsters. Why don’t we feed the dead Muslims directly to poor, hungry children.”
    Pah! Typical Liberal! You want to just give poor people free stuff! Instead, ban the FDA, defund ACORN (just in case) and then stand back and let the Free Market decide how much dead Muslin meat is worth!

  23. says

    But, but… People! It’s Murfreesboro! Home of the most iconic, red-necked american weapon ever invented in foreverness. How can we let the birthplace of the Murfreesboro .50, be desecrated by not-white blood?!? And, and, the islamozombies will attack the factory (actually, that would be kinda funny).

    Hmm, I wonder if DesJarlais even knows that.

  24. dingojack says

    Nonsense! Muslims have exactly the same right to buried in a Christian ceremony in a Christian cemetery, just like everyone else.*
    Dingo
    ——–
    * besides Muslim graves will cause the break down traditional burials because of – well – something or rather.
    Won’t anyone think of the children?!?

  25. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Well I’m surprised – since a dead Muslim is the only good Muslim* I’d have thought he’d have welcomed and cemetary for them and would want it to be rapidly expanded to as many of them as possible!

    Seriously, WTF?

    I’m no great fan of Islam but having Muslim cemetaries – not a problem at all.

    (I suppose you can make a good case for burying the terrorist ones at sea like Osama bin laden got todeny shrines for their fans – but then most Muslism aren’t terrorists although the majority of terrorists are Muslim.)

    ****

    * Do I really need to say this isn’t what *I* think but how I think he might think? I guess I do. Muslim like all people are individuals, most are okay humans, a few are really good a few really the opposite. Islam is set of very bad ideas but Muslims are just people like the rest of us.

  26. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. If some here don’t agree with this statement : “the majority of terrorists are Muslim.”

    They need to look at this page and explain the prevalence of Islamic groups there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorist_groups

    Note too that I accept that most Muslims aren’t terroists and Ihave noproblem with Muslims who aren’t seeking me or others any harm or trying to impose their religion on the rest of the planet by force.

    Back in the Cold War era, most Russians were just trying to get by too – but Lenin and Stalin and the other hard core Communist leaders were truly a menace to the rest of the world and oppressive tyrants of their own populations in the same way as now with the Islamofascists.

    So don’t strawmonster me as something I’m not or argue I’m saying stuff that I’m not ‘k y’all?

  27. Joey Maloney says

    Soon as I saw “DesJarlais” I knew that I was about to read something cataclysmically stupid. Was not disappointed.

  28. says

    People you are missing the BIG PICTURE. They don’t embalm their corpses. Do you know what that means? They plant their dead and they GRO MOAR!!

    “but then most Muslism aren’t terrorists although the majority of terrorists are Muslim”

    Cite required–not WikiCite

  29. eric says

    StevoR:

    PS. If some here don’t agree with this statement : “the majority of terrorists are Muslim.”

    The problem is you’re implying a causal link between the religious teaching and violent terrorism…but the religion is 1400 years old, and the prevalence of muslim terrorists over other types of terrorists is less than 30 years old. That’s a lot of years of true negatives you’re ignoring. Even over the last hundred years the types of non-nation groups committing violent acts to try and change national policies or bring down governments (i.e., terrorists) has radically shifted around. So sorry, but it clearly isn’t just a result of what’s in the Koran. At best it’s “Koran + a cultural component” which is driving the violence – and when we say that, we must admit that “a cultural component” has in the past been added to a lot of different books and produced terrorists. So which is more important, the book or the cultural component? I’d argue the latter.

  30. dogmeat says

    What the hell do they think they’re supposed to do with dead Muslims? Throw them in the dumpster?

    Hey Now! None of that special treatment. If digging them up and shipping them to the Smithsonian was good enough for my ancestors, it should be good enough for theirs too!

  31. dingojack says

    “What the hell do they think they’re supposed to do with dead Muslims? Throw them in the dumpster?”
    I suppose they could feed them to starving kids* – that’d keep Rush happy (at least).
    Dingo
    ——–
    * Never mind the blow-back – it’ll be simply more starving kiddie food

  32. says

    I think savagemutt may be on to what is driving some of the opposition. They think if a Muslim cemetery is allowed, then the Muslims will never go away. They’ll want to stay near their deceased ancestors and be harder to harass out of town.

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