Monday, August 13, 2007

Fighting Our Image as Bigots

Except for time spent in the military and a 7-year spell in Ohio finishing college and working, I've lived in Idaho. For many folks I ran across, I was the first person they'd ever met from Idaho.

Most people were aware of the slogan, "Idaho potatoes", and of course our unfortunate and misinformed reputation based upon the white, Nazi-based white supremacy of Richard Butler and the Aryan Nations. The complex in Hayden Lake was a refuge for this scum until a law suit in 2000 awarded in favor of mother and her son who had sued; the property was ultimately sold to satisfy the judgment. The Aryan Nations name cannot be used and is officially no longer part of the Idahoan landscape; and, Mr. Butler is long deceased.

Enter Bill Sali (R-Idaho).......whoo brought this up. As a 'conservative Idaho lawmaker', he believes America's founding fathers would not have wanted a Muslim elected to Congress or a Hindu prayer delivered in the U.S. Senate.

"We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes -- and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers," asserts Sali.
So here we are, history is being made in the House of Representatives with a Hindu chaplain offering the prayer. we'll forego the offering of prayer in the HOR and the separation of church and state discussion for couldn't just be a Christian, be respectful as you would expect one to be of your beliefs and prayers, and listen. Nor could you let it go. Nope. You had to go and do this! You just had to talk to these nutjobs. (Sali is heard by pushing the 'hear this report' near the top of the page)

Julie at 'Red State Rebels' - has this to say to which I do not have much else to add.
Suffice it to say that Sali has cemented his support with people who seek a Christian theocracy in America, and he has shown his true nature to the majority of Americans who value the rich religious pluralism of our nation, not to mention the Constitutionally guaranteed separation of church and state. Through his comments, Sali is feeding the anti-Muslim frenzy in our nation and giving legitimacy to the handful of extremists who shouted down the Hindu prayer from the Senate gallery, cat-calling, “No Lord but Jesus Christ,” “There’s only one true God,” and labeling the prayer an “abomination.” He is an embarrassment to Idaho.........
Dave Neiwert at Orcinus is one who has tracked bigotry in the Northwest for a good long time. He's on my 'Daily Checklist' of reads. Dave brings up Sali's foot-in-mouth syndrome and then Sali's, uh, "clarification." Um-hmm.....

Now - there's a bit of growing tide for Sali to either apologize or resign. (Comments are always ever 'enlightening' and downright scary.)
The United States was founded on the principle of religious freedom, Idaho Democratic Party Communications Director Chuck Oxley said. ...“I’m flabbergasted and astounded that we have somebody serving in the U.S. Congress who essentially says any religion besides Christianity really is not what was envisioned by the founders,” Oxley said. “First of all, the founders were not all Christians, many of them were Deists. To try to divide the nation like I think he is doing is just flat un-American.”
Thursday, Democratic Party Chairman Richard Stallings called for Sali to step down from Congress or retract his comments. These words from a supporter of Sali were highlighted in Dan Popkey's column in the Idaho Statesman - Bryan Fischer from the Idaho Values Alliance:
The citizens of Minnesota certainly have the right to send anybody to Washington they wish, but when you examine nations whose public institutions have been shaped by Islamic politicians, you find no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, no freedom of conscience, no fundamental rights for women, and no freedom for ordinary citizens to choose their leaders," Fischer said in a release from his group, Idaho Values Alliance.
If an Islamic-inspired world view were to shape America's public policy, this country would be a far different land than the one handed to us by our Founding Fathers. It would no longer be the ‘sweet land of liberty' of which we sing. That's not the kind of nation we want, and Rep. Sali is right on target in issuing his word of caution.
Sali and Fischer seem to forget that those safe havens for the Puritans became the poster children for 'separation of church and state' here in these United States.

Isn't there an island somewhere or a planet out there that's unoccupied?

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