Could Cruz have said "Allahu Ackbar"? Acceptable Expressions of Religious Faith in the United States

"Let me first of all say, to god be the glory."
- From Ted Cruz's victory speech in Iowa


"I’m a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican fourth. I’ll tell ya, there are a whole lot of people in this country that feel exactly the same way."
- Ted Cruz while campaigning for Iowa

I keep on reflecting on the fact that not only was what Cruz said acceptable but was said with the expectation that it would garner him votes. And he's almost certainly right.

I want to be clear that I don't think an American should have to hide his or her faith. Or lack of faith. But I'm picturing if would have been acceptable for a Muslim candidate to have said "Allahu Ackbar" under similar circumstances. Would it have been ok to have said "all glory to Satan"? We know the answer. The mere suggestion that then-Senator Obama was a Muslim was something that had to be refuted. I think former Secretary of State Colin Powell had the best response I'd ever heard to such an accusation:
I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian.  He's always been a Christian.  But the really right answer is, what if he is?  Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America.  Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?  Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America. 
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine.  It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave.  And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone.  And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death.  He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.  And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey.  He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.  Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way.  And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know.  But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.
 Meet the Press, October 19, 2008


I'm thinking about the Kareem Rashad Sultan Khans of the United States. Had he lived he'd be 29 at the time of the 2016 election, more than old enough to run for Congress. In 2024 he'd have been old enough to run for president. He died for his country and so he can't. But he was also a Muslim. And in the America of 2016 he couldn't because of the mere fact he was a Muslim. Not by the Constitution, which explicitly forbids a religious test. In today's American we would not elect a Muslim. His policies would not matter I assure you. I hope in 2024 that will no longer be the case.



Again, is it illegal for Ted Cruz to praise God? No. But it is embarrassing that a public Christian declaration is beneficial while a Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu declaration would be disqualifying for the presidency. To say nothing of having no religious beliefs. And every State of the Union the president, when saying "God bless the United States of America", is excluding many Americans. A Hindu cleric was greeted with protests when he came before the United States Senate as a guest chaplain. Representative Bill Sali of Idaho later suggested that having such a prayer would cause God to stop protecting the United States. A Representative.

To be honest I don't think there should have been a Hindu prayer in the Senate. Nor a Christian prayer. Nor a Muslim prayer. Nor a Satanic prayer. The easy solution would be to not have official prayer in the Senate. But if you do have one, then all really need to be welcome.

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