This Week in God

First up from the God Machine this week is a story out of South Florida, where a Republican voter ran into trouble when he sought a position on the party’s executive committee. (thanks to W.V. for the tip)

The man’s name is Nezar Hamze, who’s been a registered Republican voter for nearly a decade, and was eager to help the GOP because he’s “aligned with Republican values.” Hamze is, however, a Muslim American, which led members of the Broward Republican Executive Committee to accuse him of possibly being a terrorist.

The vote didn’t go well.

In the end, the Broward Republican Executive Committee voted 11-158 to block him from committee membership. He can still attend meetings, but as a general member of the public. […]

After the vote to deny membership, Broward Executive Committee Chairman Richard DeNapolis said simply: “Mr. Hamze, your membership has been denied.”

The crowd cheered loudly.

In 2000, 78% of Muslim Americans voted Republican. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that it may take a while before the GOP sees that kind of support again from this constituency.

Also from the God Machine this week:

* A week ago, we talked about an Alabama town that offered minor criminal offenders a choice of jail or mandatory church attendance. Given the obvious constitutional problems and subsequent media interest, the Alabama town of Bay Minette has delayed the program.

* Radical TV preacher Pat Robertson recently told his television viewers that a man should divorce his wife suffering with Alzheimer’s. This week, he reversed course, claiming he’d been “misunderstood.”

* Thanks to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Google, the Dead Sea Scrolls are now available in their entirety, online, for free, at an extremely impressive resolution. (thanks to R.P. for the tip)

* And in Tennessee this week, the Murfreesboro Islamic Center finally broke ground.