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When an elected official talks religion

Should the supervisor of elections be telling you what he thinks about a certain religion?

That question was front and center last week when Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections Paul Stamoulis gave a lecture entitled “The History of ISIS, al-Qaida and Radical Islam.”

The talk is part of a lecture series the supervisor gives entitled “Politics and Government: Strange Bedfellows.”

The question here isn’t the supervisor’s opinion about Islam. This is America and he is entitled to his own opinion. The issue is whether he is giving his opinion as the person whose job it is to ensure fair elections in our county.

It is hard to separate Stamoulis from his job in this case. Your tax dollars paid for the advertising for the class. He listed himself as “The Honorable Paul Stamoulis, Supervisor of Elections” in the ads. A reasonable interpretation of that would be that he wanted the public to know that he was doing this in his capacity as the supervisor of elections.

In the days before the event, Stamoulis sounded very even-handed about his motives.

“This is one of the biggest issues facing voters today. I try to present it objectively and from both sides,” he said. “I don’t believe there’s anything we should not talk about in this country. People should not prejudge what this class is about,” he told our reporter before the event.

I listened to the entire audio recording of the lecture and it sure sounded, at times, that he was judging Islam in ways that were not just limited to radical, crazy elements like al-Qaida or ISIS.

When talking about whether Muslims could follow U.S. laws, Stamoulis said, “I’m not sure Muslims

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

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