Posted by: toddzilla | December 22, 2006

Virgil Goode, Keith Ellison, and people with buckle-hats

Representative Virgil Goode of Virginia has railed against Representative-Elect Keith Ellison of Minnesota for wanting to use the Quran during his swearing-in ceremony.

Here’s the link:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/12/21/quran.congress/index.html

To quote the story: “Goode wrote that to “preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States,” an immigration overhaul was necessary to avoid “many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran.” ” (Journalism majors and grammar pros-please forgive my misuse of quotation marks there…quoting a quote).  So apparently religious freedom is not a tenant of traditional American values.  Am I not mistaken that the pilgrims came here to avoid religious persecution in the first place?  Ellison has taken the high road in all of this by refusing to get involved with name calling and asking to meet Goode face-to-face to discuss Islam.  Which is something that I think we all could benefit from given the tensions in this country since 2001.  As was brought earlier this month, even our own national security leaders do not fully understand the Islamic faith, its subgroups and the major world players in it.

It is, typically, not the different religious bases that are worrisome to the world, but it is each group’s “fundalmentalists” or extremists.  I don’t fear Muslims as a whole, just the ones who want to destroy infidels simply for being infidels.  likewise, I don’t fear Christians, just the ones that are willing to shoot abortion doctors or bomb the Olympics.  Most major world religions have splinter groups that go too far.

American life has been tense and fearful since 2001 and rightfully so.  but we must learn from the McCarthy era of the 1950’s, not to go on witch hunts just because of labels.  The more I think about it though…wouldn’t it be a great disservice to us as Americans to make our Representatives swear on the Bible if they don’t believe in it?  Wouldn’t that oath be worthless?

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has piped in on the matter and I understand why tehy would be upset, but they are calling for an apology and I think that the recent wave of apologies for thoughts and quotes is too much.  Everybody wants everybody else to apologize for what they say.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to single out the American-Islamic Relations Council, it’s just the latest in a trend.  I despise too much political correctness just as much as I despise trying to push your beliefs on someone else, but seeking aplogies for every little thing also goes against a little thing known as freedom of speech.  So with that in mind, let others spout their intolerance, just try to be like Ellison, in this case, and seek to discuss the differences respectfully and diplomatically.

Sure Goode brings up a good point about the need for immigration reform and I won’t get into that here, but remember, the U.S. has no official religion.  It doesn’t even have an official language and when you’re considering immigration policies and your attitudes towards it all…remember that the vast majority of us have immigrant ancestries (sorry Native Americans…you can’t claim immigration heritages…unless you count the Alaskan/Baltic Island bridge theory).

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Responses

  1. The First Amendment states that all Americans have a freedom of religion. That means that to each of us comes the right to believe as we so desire. Should we feel led to be Christians, we have that right, same as being a Muslim, Jewish, or even have no religion at all. It’s one of the greatest aspects to our country, unlike others that require you to subscribe to the country’s religious opinions.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote repeatedly about the need for government to stay out of relgious affairs and is the chief person responsible for our country’s interpretation of Freedom of Religion.

    I bring that up to say this – if Ellison wants to swear in on the Quran, more power to him. The splinter groups, as you said, are the problems the Eric Rudolphs and Osama Bin Ladins of the world. It’s not people like Ellison. However, Goode, as you say, is right that we need some immigration reform in this couintry, but it’s not proper to bring that up when discussing what Ellison will place his hand on in two weeks.

    This seems to be an argument, for Goode, that is much to do about nothing and an attempt to use people’s fears against a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Which is wrong, just as much as McCarthyism was illogical in the 1950s.


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