Typically, an interfaith event is a great way to honor people of all religions (and, more frequently, no religion) without alienating anyone’s tradition. But not according to South Dakota State Senator Neal Tapio, who believes such an event is clearly a conspiracy to undermine Christians and persecute them.
We know this because of comments he made in response to Interfaith Day taking place at the state capitol building, during which local Jews, Muslims, and Christians were invited to participate. For Tapio, however, being asked to share the playground with others was out of the question. He needed to let the other kids know it’s his slide, and no one else is allowed to play on it because… well, that’s just how it works.
J.T. Fey of the Watertown Public Opinion reports,
In his press release, Tapio said he “expressed concern today about the political motivations of religious leaders sponsoring the Interfaith Day at the Capital.
“A simple check of their social media accounts will verify these people violently oppose President Trump and his efforts to keep America safe,” Tapio said in the release.
Right… because appealing to a president eager to ban Muslims from entering the country and who surrounds himself with White nationalists is a surefire way to earn their trust.
Conveniently, Tapio doesn’t mention the many Christians who oppose Trump as well.
But strong dislike of Trump wasn’t Tapio’s only concern:
Tapio warned about the spread of sharia law that governs followers of the Islamic religion…His release stated that the interfaith dialogue people have labeled the tens of thousands of South Dakotas who voted for Donald Trump as racists, haters, extremists and Islamaphobes.
Gee, I can’t imagine why anyone would use those words to describe the kinds of people who stay up at night worrying about how Sharia law is taking over South Dakota…
In a separate conversation with reporters, Tapio went even further, declaring that interfaith activism seeks to marginalize Christianity.
“Interfaith dialogue is a part of a war. It’s a silent part. It’s a part about taking away the Christian fabric of our nation. Now some people are okay with that. That’s their prerogative. But there’s American patriots that want to fight.”
Meanwhile, Tapio ignores the sort of Christian “sharia” being implemented by the conservatives in power. He ignores how conservative Christians who wish to ignore the law are being given permission to do it. He forgets that he represents a faith with leaders who want to criminalize homosexuality, defund women’s health clinics, and lead Christian prayers in public schools.
If any of those other religions even suggested doing what Christians in the government are doing right now, maybe Tapio would have a point. Until then, he can’t even handle being in the same room as people who don’t share his beliefs because he thinks he’s surrounded by enemies.
Tapio, by the way, is seeking the GOP nomination for the state’s sole seat in the U.S. House. If he wins the primary, there’s a strong likelihood this bigotry will add to the noise in D.C.
(via The Daily Beast)