With great shock and anger, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation denounces in the most forceful terms the inflammatory expressions of anti-Muslim, McCarthyesque sedition which have been uttered by Rick Womick, Republican state representative from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Womick, who has on numerous occasions scandalously called for the removal of Muslim-Americans from the ranks of the U.S. Military, has elevated hate speech from the gutters of marginal extremism to the national debate regarding the rights afforded to the honorable members of our armed services.
By giving voice to the scurrilous and false claim that the United States is at war with the Muslim faith, and that Muslim-American service members are thus undeserving of the trust of elected representatives such as himself, Rep. Womick has deliberately fed the dehumanizing firestorm of Islamophobic bigotry. Muslim-American service members, as well as their comrades-in-arms of all faith groups, know full well that the sworn oaths of loyalty to the mission of serving the American people and protecting our cherished constitutional freedoms take precedence over religious identity. In stark contrast to this noble and unifying pledge, Rep. Womick has opportunistically taken up the task of sowing division by means of galvanizing public opinion towards the implementation of an anti-Muslim witch-hunt within the armed forces.
Most importantly, Womick’s incendiary comments directly contradict Article VI, paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which unequivocally states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Whether Womick’s statements are the result of woeful ignorance or cynical disdain, such a reckless approach to the foundational documents of American jurisprudence are highly unbecoming of state legislators; this fact alone should raise alarm bells for all Tennesseans.
Additionally, we must express our profound regret that one would so carelessly add insult to the grievous injury undergone by the bereaved family-members of those U.S. soldiers of the Muslim faith who have sacrificed their lives for our country.
In closing, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation would like to state that the situation for religious minorities within the U.S. military is precarious enough without Rep. Womick’s attention-seeking incitements for a purge of Muslim service members. MRFF receives pleas for help from victims of religious persecution on a daily basis, and Muslim-Americans form a major portion of the aggrieved. With 453 clients of the Muslim faith, representing approximately 10% of all Muslim-American members of the U.S. armed forces, MRFF has proven instrumental in the ongoing exposure of the torment inflicted on these victims of religious bigotry, and we will continue to form a bulwark against the desecration of the human and civil rights of our Muslim-American clients within the armed forces. Rather than desecrating the memory of fallen U.S. soldiers of the Muslim faith and casting aspersion on the wholly innocent followers of the world’s second-largest religion, Representative Womick would do well to bow his head in honor of those who are faithfully serving an instrumental role in American Theaters of Operations worldwide, as well as those who have suffered injuries in battle or have made the ultimate sacrifice for those same freedoms which he seeks to discard.