Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Just who is un American here?

I note with growing alarm the propensity by a certain segment of society to demonize Muslims.

This especially came to my attention (I specify this, because I'm certain it was an issue prior to this, but I'm just too dense to notice) with the denunciation by Dennis Prager of Keith Ellison for determining to take the oath of office by swearing on the Koran. I honestly wonder if Prager and his supporters would rather have Ellison swear on a holy book which Ellison holds no fealty to? This story is old news however, so I won't spend any effort trashing Pragers stupidity...

The next story that grabbed my attention did not display intolerance on such a national platform as Prager enjoys, but it is instructive none the less as far as I'm concerned. The story dealt with the neighbors of a piece of property that had been purchased by a Muslim association, who intended to build a Mosque and community center on their property. One neighbor in particular was acting like a total fool, threatening to hold pig races on his property next to the Mosque every Friday in an attempt to offend his neighbors. This story to me showed a couple of things. The typical Americans understanding of Muslims is horribly lacking, and filled with stereotypes. The notion that the neighbors would denounce the Mosque by saying it would be a terrorist hotbed, and that Muslims would be offended by pig racing is just silly! Not just silly... but stupid silly.

Today there are two more stories, both dealing with nationally known conservative voices who are promoting intolerance of the Muslim religion. First: Conservative pundit Debbie Schlussel has promoted the meme, first promoted nationwide by Ed Maurice Rogers on MSNBC, of making sure America understands that Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein. Schlussel however goes beyond Ed Maurice Rogers effort, and explicitly says that Obama ought not be President based solely upon his ties to Islam. Obama is a devout Christian, but the fact that Obama's father is, according to Schlussel "apparently" a Muslim, Schlussel has the audacity to question Obama's loyalties in the war on terror.

The next ugliness to come to light is a letter from Congressman Virgil Goode, R. Va. in which he is quite explicit in his intolerance of Muslims. Goode wants to crack down on immigration, even invoking (he who must be blamed) Bill Clinton as an example of liberal immigration policies that will allow many more Muslims to live amongst us. According to Goode it is imperative that these Muslims not be allowed to come here in order to preserve the values of the United States of America.

I have news for Goode, Prager, Ed Maurice Rogers, the neighbor of the Mosque in Texas, Schlussel and the entire cadre of bigots who think like them. YOU are the anti American ones in this debate. Unless your ancestors walked the land bridge from Asia to N. America and you are descended from them to your station in life here now, you immigrated. Even the Indians immigrated, they just did it to uninhabited land. Go look at the Statue of Liberty, learn it's history and check out the plaque at it's base and then tell me how shutting down immigration is an American ideal. In fact the notion that America would shut out immigration because we find a particular religion objectionable is about as un American an ideal as I can think of. Do these bigots understand why the Pilgrims trundled over here on the Mayflower?

These voices of hate need to be recognized for what they are. Yet, just in case anyone reading this thinks I show intolerance of my own by pointing out the un American rantings of these anti Muslim bigots, let me just point out that I'm not advocating any of them be oppressed. I'm not trying to be unavoidably offensive to them. I am simply pointing out how wrong they are. It is the calls of intolerance for Muslims that call for oppression and stupidity.

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