Entry for December 24, 2006

Illustration of the Koran from MSNBC’s hosting of WRC-TV’s story, “Va. Congressman Fears Election Of ‘Many More Muslims’

I’m writing this entry early, as the library will be closed for the holidays until December 26. When my friend Tilly told me December 22 Virginia’s 5th District Representative Virgil Goode (R) had bad-mouthed Muslims, I thought of George Allen’s Maacaca moment and so, obviously did the Roanoke Times, as they have printed an editorial , “Virgil Goode’s Macaca Moment” on December 23.

Tilly’s blog entry of December 21, “Virgil Goode (R-VA) doesn’t speak for me,” mentioned that C’ville Weekly had broken the story. On December 19, Erika Howsare’s article, “Goode makes complete ass of self: Anti-Muslim letter goes out to hundreds – not all are amused” shared a December 7 letter that John Cruickshank of Earlysville, chair of the local Sierra Club chapter, had recieved, unsollicited from Goode .

Dear Mr. Cruickshank:

Thank you for your recent communication. 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. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. 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.

The Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, “As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.” Thank you again for your email and thoughts.

Sincerely yours,
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 East Court Street
Suite 215
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151

Goode’s office says he sent the letter by mistake, in response to constituents complaining about new elected Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN)’s request to be sworn in using a Koran. Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to the Congress. He converted to Islam as a nineteen-year-old college student from Detroit. An attorney, he ran on a progressive platform which featured issues such as a call for:

  • immedaite withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • universal single payer health care
  • stopping the provision of Wall Street investors with a short term financial gain at the cost of long term ecological degradation
  • a strong and comprehensive public education funding and policy
  • comprehensive immigration reform to champion immigrants
  • opposition to gay marriage bans
  • law enforcement balanced by community involvement, respect for individual rights, and programs that attack the root causes of crime
  • right to choose abortion and omprehensive sex education
  • trade agreements with fully enforceable protections for workers rights and the environment on par with protections for business and the right of the nation and states to pass and enforce laws and regulations in the public interest
  • working towards a lasting peace in the Middle East
  • improved transit options

Ellison will take his oath of office January 2 at the Operating Engineers Local 49 Union Hall .

“Jihadists trash Muslim U.S. rep, “James Gordon Meek of the New York Daily News reported November 12 that Ellison would use the Koran. “A December 5 Religion News Service article by 2005 Alicia Patterson award winner Omar Sacirbey, “Ellison Won’t Be First Politician to Forgo Bible in Taking Oath of Office” ran December 9 in the Washington Post under the title,“Conservatives Attack Use of Koran for Oath: Sacred and Secular Books Have Subbed for Bible.” Reading it, I found out that John Quincy Adams took his oath using a law volume instead of a Bible.

While legal scholars and Jewish groups affirm Ellison’s right to choose the book, Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, president of the Becket Fund for [so-called] Religious Liberty, said,

It makes no sense at all to have him violate the Constitution in order to affirm his duty to uphold the Constitution.

What Constitution would that be?

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