2007-01-05

"The fundamental argument is fear ... and I reject that as a political philosophy."

With all the excitement and discourse surrounding the Democrats "taking over" congress, the story of Detroit native Keith Ellison becoming the first Muslim to serve in Congress is has only been discussed to coma instead of discussed to death.

Glenn Beck of CNN Headline News asked Ellison to, "prove to me that you are not working with our enemies," saying, "And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

Ellison replied that his constituents, "know that I have a deep love and affection for my country. There's no one who's more patriotic than I am, and so you know, I don't need to — need to prove my patriotic stripes."

When asked about his opinion on 'Muslim extremists' Ellison said, "They're criminals. But I think that people who commit criminal acts should be treated like criminals, regardless of their faith."

Ellison has also said, "Osama bin Laden no more represents Islam than Timothy McVeigh represented Christianity."

Ellison's choice to be sworn in with a Qur'an make perfect sense to me but has drawn fire from many, most notably U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, a Virginia Republican. Here is his voting record.

"When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don'’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."

Goode followed this up with another screed that almost smacks of eugenics.

"[I]f American citizens don'’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."

Goode's law office was soon vandalized with the word "bigot."

Ellison was sworn in using a Qur'an - Thomas Jefferson's, a man who actually assembled his own version of the Bible.

"It demonstrates that from the very beginning of our country, we had people who were visionary, who were religiously tolerant, who believed that knowledge and wisdom could be gleaned from any number of sources, including the Qur'an," said Ellison.

After the swearing in, Ellison shook Goode's hand.

Thanks for the story, Ben.

6 comments:

Jim Winter said...

Doesn't Virgil Goode represent Jerry Falwell's district? And isn't Jerry still a bit peeved that the Vatican - last I checked an independent state - gets an ambassador, but he doesn't. (And last I checked, Thomas Road Baptist Church wasn't an independent state, just a tax exempt organization.)

Jennifer Jordan said...

Why would Jerry need an ambassador when he has God?

Chris said...

Jefferson's Qu'ran? Man, I'm having a tough time reconciling his reputation as one of the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence with the fact that he was a dangerous terrorist.

On a more serious Jeffersonian note, it's worth mentioning that the Declaration originally began "We hold these truths to be sacred...", but "sacred" was changed to "self-evident" to prevent any unintended religious connotations. Glad they cleared that up early -- otherwise, our nation might've turned out to be chock-a-block with smug fundamentalists convinced they were in charge...

Graham said...

I frequently vote Republican, and I really get tired of apologizing for dipshits like Virgil Goode.

'Dipshit' seems to be my word of the day

David said...

So much to say on this, but I'll keep it short (maybe). Any time I see anything fundamentalist, fear based, etc, I immediately think of the five step axiom: ignorance leads to fear, fear to anger, anger to hate, and hate to violence. A little knowledge, or at least pursuit of knowledge, would help a lot. The more I learn, seems the less I know. Ignorance isn't a crime, but a refusal to learn should be.

Okay, kinda short.

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