Tennessee state Rep. Rick Womick has gone public with his view of a necessary reform of the U.S. military to make our country safer: bar all Muslims from military service. The openly bigoted proposal was accompanied by equally bigoted rhetoric and insulted not just all Muslims but dishonored the many Muslims serving honorably in our armed forces. His website proclaims that “[o]thers may regard politics as a basis for gaining power and influence, but Rick sees politics as a chance to provide conservative leadership that will uphold our state’s slogan and ensure, ‘Tennessee…America at its Best!'” You can judge if Rep. Womick represents America at its best.
Womick explained “Who are we at war with?. We are at war with al-Qaida and the Taliban, who are Muslims. It’s a Catch-22. They are not allowed to kill their fellow Muslims; we’re at war with Muslims. The only solution I see is that they not be allowed in the military. . . . “Personally, I don’t trust one Muslim in our military. . . If they truly are a devout Muslim and follow the Quran and the Sunnah, then I feel threatened because they’re commanded to kill me.” He made these comments in an interview with Eli Clifton of thinkprogress.org Friday at an anti-Shariah conference in Nashville and later refused to retract them or apologize.
The article below quotes a New York Times article in 2009 reporting that 3,557 military personnel identified themselves as Muslim among 1.4 million people in the active-duty population.
The most immediate concern is not that such people exist but that one of them is a legislator passing laws that affect Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Under the Tennessee Constitution, each legislator must take an oath pledging to act without prejudice and in adherence to the Constitution:
Each member of the Senate and House of Representatives, shall before they proceed to business take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States and also the following oath: I ………. do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this General Assembly, I will, in all appointments, vote without favor, affection, partiality, or prejudice; and that I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to me injurious to the people, or consent to any act or thing, whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State.
What Womick is advocating is raw religious discrimination in violation of the First Amendment as well as the equal protection clause. Yet there has been relatively little outcry from non-Muslim groups and more importantly other legislators, particularly fellow Republicans.
Womick is a combat veteran and an active commercial pilot:
In 1983, he entered the U.S. Air Force as an officer and served as an F-15 Fighter Pilot through the 1st Gulf War.
It was during Rick’s time in the Air Force that he met Jan, his beautiful wife of 24 years. In 1992, he left the active duty Air Force to go to work for a major airline, as a pilot, based in Nashville. Rick was flying 140 people from Dallas to Los Angeles on the morning that the events of September 11th occurred. He has since become a licensed Federal Law Enforcement Officer and qualified to carry a firearm in the cockpit while flying. Rick is still employed as a Boeing 777 international pilot. He and Jan have been blessed with four wonderful children and have been living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee since 1993.