Seth Tupper has an article at the Rapid City Journal today which seems to draw some lines of demarcation between the candidates in the GOP Primary.
State Senator Neal Tapio has drawn a hard line against the practice of Islam.
Former Governor’s Chief of Staff Dusty Johnson has drawn a line in favor of the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion.
…and Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is doing her best to straddle the fence, and avoid direct statements:
But in a Friday press release, state Sen. Neal Tapio, a Republican from Watertown who has said he plans to enter the U.S. House race, questioned whether the First Amendment applies to the religion of Islam as practiced by adherents known as Muslims.
“Does our Constitution offer protections and rights to a person who believes in the full implementation of Islamic Law, as practiced by 14 Islamic countries and up to 350 [million] self-described Muslims, who believe in the deadly political ideology that believes you should be killed for leaving Islam?” Tapio wrote.
“We’re a country founded on freedom of religion, and that’s what the initial Founding Fathers fought for is freedom of religion,” she said in response to the Journal’s first question.
Next, the Journal asked if religious freedom extends to Muslims. Krebs said, “This nation has the right to practice the religion of choice.”
The interview ended with her never having said “yes” or “no” to the question of whether she supports religious freedom specifically for Muslims.
Johnson, a Republican from Mitchell who formerly served as a public utilities commissioner and as chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, said he “absolutely” supports the right of American Muslims to practice their religion.
“We live in dangerous times, and I know there are people across the globe and at home who hold extreme and un-American views,” Johnson said. “But I think we need to confront those threats with targeted, nuanced, intelligent solutions, and I think stereotyping all American Muslims is a great way to grab headlines, but a lousy way to keep us safe.”
What do you think? Do we want government telling us how to practice our faith? Do we object to that kind of oversight? Or should we all straddle the fence in some wiggly way?