Surely if hard questions can be posed to Mitt Romney and if deep suspicions about theocracy can be raised every time a conservative Christian speaks, were entitled to know exactly how Ellisons faith informs his politics.
What, for example, does he mean by this:
"You cant back down. You cant chicken out. You cant be afraid. You got to have faith in Allah, and youve got to stand up and be a real Muslim."
Or how about this:
Ellison, speaking at the annual convention of the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America, said that Muslims can help teach America about justice and equal protection.
"Muslims, youre up to bat right now," he said. "How do you know that you were not brought right here to this place to learn how to make this world better?"
And then theres this, from a speech to an interfaith group:
Ellison added that religion should be something that unites, rather than divides.
"Many people see their religion as an identity thing, much in the same way Crips or Bloods might say, Im this, this is the set Im rolling with, " Ellison said, referring to the infamous street gangs.
"Theyve never actually tried to explore how religion should connect us, theyre into how religion divides us. ... They havent really explored ... how my faith connects me to you."
Many of the practical positions he has taken seem to be those of a garden-variety liberal Democrat, but he should be pressed to show how those positions flow from what he says is his faith.
If he can make a plausible argument, perhaps we should applaud him and encourage to speak out, not just to his fellow Americans, but to Muslims all over the world, demonstrating to them how they can make their peace with liberal pluralism.
In other words, he, no more than anyone else, should simply be given a free pass, claiming, as he does, that his faith informs his politics. And he should be pressed on the passages from the Koran that are hard for non-Muslims and liberals to swallow. And he should be pressed to take a stand anytime any Muslim anywhere makes any sort of bloodcurdling statement. Let Ellison condemn them, quite publicly.
This is an opportunity for someone who calls on others to "stand up and be a real Muslim," which presumably means hell do so himself.