Tennessee’s governor, Bill Haslam, recently appointed a well-qualified resident of the state to be the new international director of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Her name is Samar Ali. And you can guess where this is going.
The state tea-partiers and Republicans are hysterical. SHE’S A MOOOSLIIIIM!
They bought ads in the newspaper decrying the hiring of Ali because she’s Muslim. Various county leaders are outraged and are passing resolutions condemning Haslam because he hired a Muslim. Oh, and as long as the bigots are emboldened, they’re also tossing in complaints about the fact that Haslam hasn’t fired enough homosexuals.
You know, this is why government is supposed to be secular. As long as the people doing the work of administration keep their religion out of their work, as long as they are responsible to everyone in their state, as long as they are competent, I don’t care whether they’re Christian or Muslim or atheist. Unfortunately, our privileged, selfish Christian conservatives have this mistaken notion that the purpose of government is to act as an arm of the Christian church, and that evangelical fervor is an adequate substitute for competence, and that is doing us great harm.