I have no idea whether Herman Cain is an intelligent person or not. I assume he probably is, since he was the CEO of a company, and one that made pretty good pizza (not that it's too hard to make "pretty good" pizza). But he sure says some stupid things.
Recently, he took a stand against the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which has been the subject of protests there by people who think that building a mosque is necessarily part of an Muslim-extremist conspiracy. He seemed to agree with that idea and said that the mosque should not be built because it would be "an infringement and an abuse of our freedom of religion."
Yes, it's hard to think of a greater infringement on freedom of religion than building a place of worship. The next thing you know, they'll be abusing that freedom by actually exercising it in there.
"This is just another way to try to gradually sneak Shariah law into our laws," Cain said. He did not explain how building a mosque would help Muslims "sneak" stuff into the law, or why it would justify an exception to the First Amendment even if they were trying to do that. In fact, he doubled down on this nonsense Sunday, when he insisted that any community has the right to ban a mosque if it wants to, on the theory that Islam "is both a religion and a set of laws" and so banning it would not be "discriminating on the basis of religion." Not only does that make zero sense, it would also be unfortunate for any religion that similarly had its own "laws," such as all of them.
Cain has previously said he would not be "comfortable" with having a Muslim as a member of his cabinet, a comment he later tried to qualify by saying he meant only those Muslims who "are trying to kill us." Well, I wouldn't be opposed to a general rule against hiring somebody who is trying to kill me, I just wouldn't discriminate. By doing so, Cain is necessarily taking the position that most if not all Muslims are dangerous just because they are Muslims, which is stupid.
Meanwhile, one of those dangerous Muslims is currently trying to save the life of a guy who shot him in the face a few weeks after 9/11. Rais Bhuiyan was shot by Mark Stroman, a white supremacist who killed two other people because he thought they looked Muslim, too, and who is currently on death row in Texas and scheduled to die on Wednesday. Bhuiyan has been trying to get Stroman's sentence commuted, saying that that spooky faith of his "teaches that those who forsake retribution and forgive those who have wronged them become closer to God." But maybe Herman Cain would take the position that he is just trying to get us to let our guard down.
Cain is probably just pandering to primary voters, of course, but as Popehat points out, he's not pandering properly.