Editorial: Goode's beliefs are a display of intolerance
Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. has displayed an intolerance and Islam phobia that is downright shameful for a member of Congress. The Virginia Republican told his constituents in a letter that "many more Muslims" will be elected to Congress unless ille...
Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. has displayed an intolerance and Islam phobia that is downright shameful for a member of Congress.
The Virginia Republican told his constituents in a letter that "many more Muslims" will be elected to Congress unless illegal immigration is ended and legal immigration is curtailed.
The congressman was responding to constituents' concerns that Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, a Minneapolis Democrat, plans to use a Quran as part of his oath of office ceremony. Ellison converted to the Muslim faith during college.
Goode should be ashamed of himself.
First, Ellison is not even an immigrant. Ellison is a black American born and raised in this country. He can trace his American roots back to the late 1700s. Neither his election nor his religion are a factor of immigration since he was born here.
Second, the fact that he is of the Islam faith is not a negative. In fact, it may bring a fresh perspective to Congress as its deals with issues, both at home and abroad.
Third, Goode's Islamic phobia is just plain disgusting. Just because Ellison follows Islam as a religion does not make him any less qualified to serve in office than Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic; Sen. Joe Liebermann, a Jew; or any Protestant serving in Congress.
Fearing Islam because a number of this religion's followers have turned to terrorism is not a good practice either.
This wide-sweeping fear about Islam is not appropriate, especially for a congressman. It is similar to the fear of Japanese Americans during World War II or German Americans during either World War. It is similar to fear of Irish immigrants or Irish Americans or Italian immigrants or Italian Americans in parts of the past two centuries. It is also similar to the current fear of Hispanic immigrants or Hispanic Americans today.
This fear and intolerance has often occurred during American history as new groups of immigrants emerge in this country. The fear and intolerance has never been acceptable.
How can Rep. Goode swear to uphold the Constitution while believing we must deny the equal protection to Islamic Americans?
Ellingson's faith does not define his citizenship any more than Goode's faith defines his. Goode should apologize and leave his intolerance and religious hatred at home.