If there’s anything to be learned from the flap over MSNBC’s mean cereal-based tweet, it’s that you should never reduce people to one-dimensional stereotypes. (OK, that and MSNBC will lean backwards to placate screamy butthurt Republicans.) And so, with this important lesson in mind, let us consider the may facets of Tennessee Congresscritter Scott DesJarlais, who we must confess we’ve generally only thought of as “that hypocritical ‘pro-life’ douchekettle who pressured his mistress to have an abortion and also turned out to be a big supporter of his wife’s right to choose, just not any other ladies’.” But it turns out that there is actually much, much more to Scott DesJarlais than mere reproductive-rights hypocrisy! For you see, children, it turns out that he is also a religious-freedom hypocrite as well! You see, he has learned that a lot of Muslims think that they have some kind of right to bury their dead in a cemetery, just like normal people! This gives him a sad, as he explained on his Book of the Face:
Friends, I have received numerous calls over the last couple of weeks regarding the Murfreesboro mosque cemetery. Although this is a state issue, I am deeply concerned over the impact it might have on our community. 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.
Stupid religious freedom! As philosopher-king poet-warrior Gil Scott Heron observed, “God damn it…first one wants freedom / Then the whole damn world wants freedom.”
The good people of Murfreesboro, having failed to outlaw the First Amendment for Muslims, are now very, very upset that the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro — which was patriotically arsoned a few years back, but was rebuilt despite that clear evidence that Islam is a violent threat to the community because Tennessee mosques keep catching fire — has now gotten approval to build a cemetery on its grounds, which is pretty much unheard of. Needless to say, opposition to the cemetery had nothing to do with bigotry or Islamophobia, no no no — people are just worried that since Muslim burials don’t use caskets, vaults, or embalming, those dead Muslim bodies might poison the city’s drinking water. So this is not about their filthy alien religion; it is only about the threat posed to public health by their filthy alien religious practices. The planning and zoning board was somehow convinced that the cemetery would not breed flies, typhus, or cooties, and so they approved it, possibly because they just don’t understand how freedom works in this country.
DesJarlais appears to think that the Board of Zoning Appeals would — or might — have been able to turn down the zoning request if only it weren’t for Tennessee’s stupid 2009 Religious Freedom Act, which stipulates 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.” Besides, as anyone knows, that law was meant to protect oppressed Christians, not weirdos who pray five times a day in their incomprehensible terrorist durka-durka language.
Zane Cantrell, the chair of the appeals board, said that Desjarlais wasn’t so much motivated by concern for his constituents as by concern for his seat. DesJarlais faces a primary challenge from state Sen. Jim Tracy, who is supported by Cantrell, so it may have been expedient, Cantrell suggests, to whip up fear of Muslims and, not incidentally, to suggest that the state’s Religious Freedom Act gave Muslims unfair advantages.
“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.”
Cantrell said the BZA followed the law in approving the ICM cemetery request.
“We don’t legislate the laws from the BZA,” said Cantrell, who has served on the BZA for more than 30 years. “That’s exactly what we do in this county. DesJarlais should follow that lead.
Now, while it may sound like he’s accusing DesJarlais of not following zoning laws, Cantrell is clumsily trying to make a contrast with how Dr. Desjarlais was reprimanded and fined last year by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners for doing sex with two patients, which is considered unprofessional behavior for a doctor, even in Tennessee.
A land-use attorney said that the cemetery request appeared to be in line with all county regulations, noting that the Board of Zoning Appeals would have had no reason to turn down the request. “The mosque has been treated like in everybody else, and that’s the way the system ought to work,” he said.
Yeah, but Muslims are still really scary, even when they’re dead, and you can’t fault a good Christian pro-life affair-having mistress-pressuring Congressman for calling attention to that important fact.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He will never bury anything except the lede.