Louisiana Rep. Jeff Landry is in a tough reelection fight. Louisiana lost a congressional seat, forcing Landry to run against fellow incumbent and Republican Charles Boustany. Boustany has the backing of the Republican establishment. That left Landry being the Tea Party candidate, which he openly welcomed.
In a tough political race in Louisiana, easy targets are Muslims and Barack Obama. It is even an easier target when both can be mixed together, which is exactly what Landry has done.
Landry has taken a strong position against mandating that contraception be included in the health insurance policies of religious institutions. As Landry said during the Jay Sekulow Live radio show:
“This strikes at the very foundation of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, if we allow the federal government to violate this principle there is no limit to what the federal government can do thereafter.”
Opposition to contraception is one thing, but to claim that it opens the door to unlimited government powers is hyperbole. There remains quite a distance between mandating that contraception be included in a health plan and Stalin’s totalitarianism.
Nevertheless, Landry thinks that he sees hypocrisy:
“Down here in south Louisiana this is huge, this is very important to my constituency. I think the biggest problems that a lot of Americans are having out there is the hypocrisy of this administration. Remember, this is an administration who has no problem granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings. Look, as they believe that there is a need to grant them special rights as they go through the TSA screening based upon their religion, that’s fine, I’m ok with that. But then don’t turn around and attack Christians when they stand up and say ‘listen, we believe that the policies you’re putting in place violate our religious freedoms as well.”
There would be hypocrisy here, if it were true. The TSA does not grant exemptions to screening to Muslims. The TSA’s website makes it clear that a passenger can wear anything onto a plane from baggy clothing to a head covering but do not expect any special treatment. Instead, expect to be singled out for a more in-depth search.
Travelers can wear any type of clothing or head covering to the security checkpoint. If the officer cannot reasonably determine that the clothing or head covering is free of a threat item, individuals may be referred for additional screening.
If Muslims were really getting exemptions, the Council for American-Islamic Relations would not have issued a press release calling the screenings “invasive” and “humiliating.” CAIR did present a list of recommendation, but it did not seek to have Muslims opt out of the TSA process. Their main emphasis was to avoid the full-body scanners, which are deemed offensive. A lot of non-Muslims would agree. CAIR urged that in place of the body scanners pat-downs could be completed in private for Muslim women who felt uncomfortable with the security procedures.
So the exemption that Landry states is “ok” with him does not exist. There is not any hypocrisy. This is a bunch of political garbage from a candidate trying to present himself as better than his opponent to the voters. Instead of attacking a fellow Republican, Landry decided to turn his attention on Obama and Muslims because there are not many Obama supporters and Muslims who are going to vote for him.
Far more troubling in Landry’s comment is that he seems to be fine with religious exemptions for security measures. If there is ever a time that all people should be treated equally that time should be for matters of security.
In the meantime, passing around lies like this keeps myths about the TSA alive while adding fuel to the efforts to defeat Obama, regardless of the truth.
This will probably play well with Landry’s constituency in Louisiana because he is telling them what they want to hear. Unfortunately, it is just more of the same foolish political chatter that poisons what is left of honorable political campaigning.