A district attorney from Tennessee, an unapologetic Christian, quoted the Bible as he refused to apologize for — and even doubled down on — hateful comments about Muslims.
It all started when Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott wrote in a Facebook comment that Islam was “evil, violent and against God’s truth.” He also said that being a Muslim was like “being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc.” Screenshots of those posts were exposed by a watchdog group now calling for his resignation.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced Friday that it was asking for Tennessee’s Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott to resign. The advocacy group also said it was asking the Tennessee Republican Party to “repudiate” Northcott for posting the remarks.
Northcott responded to the criticism just about as well as you’d expect: He doubled down on them while making himself the victim.
In subsequent Facebook posts, the Tennessee government official insisted the answer was in the Bible.
The problem, of course, is that he didn’t call out hate. He called out Islam and Muslims as a whole, suggesting that Islamic radicals represent the entirety of the faith. (Case in point, he also wrote that all Muslims “by definition” support an “evil belief system whether they understand/act on it or not.”)
Despite the backlash he’s received over the social media posts, Northcott dug in his heels on Saturday, telling his Facebook followers, “I am not resigning.”
“If they figured I would apologize for calling hate in any form evil, they miscalculated,” he wrote. “If they expect me to denounce my faith because of their tactics, they are going to be disappointed.”
Northcott went on to quote the Bible several times, including comparing his “tribulation” to the experience of Jesus Christ himself. Here’s the entire Facebook rant:
Northcott is making a political decision here. He is hoping that by leaning into the hateful comments, he can rally an even deeper conservative base. So far it appears to be working. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asked the Coffee County Republican Party (CCRP) to do something about Northcott’s behavior.
They did. Just not what CAIR expected.
On Saturday, Richard Brooks, chairman of the Coffee County Republican Party, announced he had sent a letter to the executive committee of the Tennessee Republican Party “in regard to the attack on our District Attorney Craig Northcott.”
“He is the subject of a political hit job by the group known as CAIR fueled by a biased media and out of context reporting,” Brooks said.
The Coffee County Republican Party fully supports Northcott, according to Brooks.
“He has the same first amendment right to speak in any forum his own opinion and views,” Brooks said, adding that freedom of speech should apply to all citizens of the nation.
This isn’t a freedom of speech issue. This is a dealing-with-the-consequences-of-your-speech issue. If Northcott can’t be trusted to represent Muslim clients fairly — and that is a possibility in his line of work — than why should he remain in office?
It’s not surprising that the Party of Trump would defend religious bigotry. It’s just ironic that the same people who cry “persecution” when Christians are held to the same standards as everyone else are so quick to say it’s no big deal when a government official demonizes an entire religion.