Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | August 20, 2010

On prejudice and tyranny

Read and heed these wise words from The American Prospect’s Adam Serwer, prompted by a poll from The Economist that shows, as Serwer summarized, “that 48 percent of Americans think there are places where Muslims should not be allowed to build mosques where other houses of worship would be permitted, including 14 percent who think mosques should be banned outright.”

I’m going to reiterate what I said earlier about same-sex marriage, which is that prejudice does not cease being prejudice because it is widely held. Among both parties, prejudice against Muslims is widely held, and instead of tamping down this kind of sentiment, Republican leaders are exploiting it for political gain, and many Democrats are following along.

Finally, the point of constitutional rights is that they aren’t subject to the capricious whims of contemporary political anger. They exist to protect everyone, but they exist particularly to protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority, precisely because popular people and ideas rarely need protecting. [Emphasis mine.]

We forget this at our own peril, and at the peril of the country we claim to love.

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