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The Collective
Thursday, December 21, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT: Congressman Criticizes Election of Muslim:

In a letter sent to hundreds of voters this month, Representative Virgil H. Goode Jr., Republican of Virginia, warned that the recent election of the first Muslim to Congress posed a serious threat to the nation’s traditional values.

Mr. Goode was referring to Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Democrat and criminal defense lawyer who converted to Islam as a college student and was elected to the House in November. Mr. Ellison’s plan to use the Koran during his private swearing-in ceremony in January had outraged some Virginia voters, prompting Mr. Goode to issue a written response to them, a spokesman for Mr. Goode said.

In his letter, which was dated Dec. 5, Mr. Goode said that Americans needed to “wake up” or else there would “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,” said Mr. Goode, who vowed to use the Bible when taking his own oath of office.

How can elected officials of the United States government not understand that one of the fundamental tenets of the political philosophy of this land is that of religious tolerance? (Indeed, could it not be called one of America’s “traditional values”?) Certainly the desire for such was a motivating factor in the founding of some of the original colonies and the principles of it are enshrined in the First Amendment and in Article VI of the US Constitution. (And yes, I know that elected officials often don’t understand that which they should-it is just sometimes mystifying).

Further, this simply comes across as Islamophobia in the literal sense of the term.  If Mr. Ellison were a raving jihadist who had sworn allegiance to al Qaeda, then we would have a serious problem (such as how such a person got elected in the first place).  The fact that he is a memember of the Nation of Islam (while not my favorite group) is hardly cause for Goode’s missive.

And finally:  Goode makes himself look like a dimwit by linking Ellison to immigration, because Ellison isn’t an immigrant and he subscribed to a US-born variation of Islam.

Perhaps Mr. Goode should read Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration (here’s an excerpt).

(BTW, I dealt with the use of the Koran at Ellison’s private swearing in ceremony here and here).

Sphere: Related Content

Filed under: US Politics, Religion | |

4 Comments

  1. Mr. Goode is yet another reason to embarrass Christians. It makes me so sad when Christians come across as intolerant, mean, racist, homophobic, etc., etc. Do they forget that John the Evangelist says, If you love you have have God, if you don’t love, you don’t have God? No…don’t say that you love someone but you don’t hate what they do. That is condescending. God loves us where we are and asks us to do the same. Mr. Goode, may your term be short… Mr. Ellison, thank you for your strength to run and participate in politics.

    Comment by Connie Shelley — Thursday, December 21, 2006 @ 12:27 pm

  2. Mr. Goode is going to look like an even greater ass when Mr. Ellison first meets him in the halls of Congress and invites him to shake hands.

    Really, I think it’s a little astonishing that any Rep, however debased, would pull this re: a future colleague.

    Comment by Anderson — Thursday, December 21, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

  3. Mr. Ellison’s past associations with the Nation of Islam, CAIR, and supporters of Hamas make me want to puke. Add to that his defense of cop killers such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur and I have to wonder if there is not something sick in the souls of the voters who elected this man. This is not a wise Muslim. This is a dupe and a fraud who has went by a number of different names over the years: Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad.

    Comment by Jose Chung — Thursday, December 21, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

  4. […] Via WaPo (Va. Lawmaker’s Remarks on Muslims Criticized) we get part of Representative Goode’s response to the criticisms he has received for his letter concerning Representative-elect Ellison: In his written response, Goode said he will not apologize and does not see why his comments could be offensive to some Muslims. “The voters of each Congressional district select the representative that they choose to represent them, and perhaps voters in all districts will now ask prospective candidates whether they will use the Bible, the Koran, or anything else,” Goode said. […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Goode Responds — Thursday, December 21, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

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