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The Mythical Martyrdom of the Religious Right's Favorite Islamophobic General

He claims the Constitution doesn't cover Muslims and says mosques should not be permitted in the U.S. So West Point withdrew an invitation and drama ensued.

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There has been no indication that administration officials were involved in conversation about the prayer breakfast. Indeed, West Point officials initially defended the invitation to Boykin; he himself said he withdrew after a conversation with West Point’s chaplain about the pressure that had been put on the school’s leadership.

Propaganda Technique 5: Shout 'Sharia!'

Boykin is part of a brigade of right-wing activists who claim that the U.S. is under dire threat of having the Constitution supplanted by Sharia law. As noted earlier, Boykin is a co-author of Sharia, the Threat to America, popularly known as the Team B II report. American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer made the nonsensical claim that criticism of Boykin’s invitation to address West Point was somehow a sign that “Sharia law is gaining a preferred place in the United States military.

The Truth

No one has challenged retired Gen. Boykin’s freedom of religion or freedom of speech. He is like all Americans free to speak, preach and proselytize. He is free to continue to travel around the country promoting religious bigotry and calling for legalized discrimination against some Americans based on their religious beliefs. He is free to make his case in the media, as he has continued to do since withdrawing from the West Point prayer breakfast. And he is even free to claim that criticizing his outrageous statements is the equivalent of an attack on his personal freedom.

But General Boykin has no right to be free from criticism. And he has no right to have his irresponsible positions promoted by public officials. Indeed, Americans who value free speech and religious liberty have good reasons to challenge Boykin’s assertions, and to hold accountable public officials who give his extremism credibility it does not deserve.

Peter Montgomery is a senior fellow at People For the American Way Foundation.

 
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