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Religious Leaders Push Back Against Rep. Goode
Sunday, 07 January 2007 10:56
by William Fisher

More than 20 prominent religious leaders have launched an online petition demanding that Rep. Vigil Goode (R-Va) reexamine his opposition to newly-elected Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim from Minnesota, taking his unofficial oath of office using the Qur'an, and to apologize for his statement that, without punitive immigration reform, "there will be many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Qur’an."

The petition warns, “An attack against one religion is an attack against them all. Next week, it could be Jews. Next month, it could be Christian fundamentalists or evangelicals. Right now, it is Muslims. It is they who feel targeted by repression and abuse, and they who live among us in a growing climate of fear. … We hold it to be self-evident that all Americans have the right to practice their faith, whatever it may be, and that any Americans - regardless of race, color or creed - may be elected and sworn into office holding whatever book they consider sacred…We would point out that there are some five million Muslims in the US. Many have been here for generations. They are every bit as American as Rep. Goode. Some Americans have also converted to Islam, including Rep. Ellison. We call for a renewed unity among people of conscience and of faith.”

The petition adds, “In a spirit of reconciliation and peace, we invite Rep. Goode to join with us in an inter-religious delegation to visit a mosque in his district, in order that the healing may begin.”

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The Goode-Ellison firestorm was triggered by remarks by right-wing talk-show host and writer Dennis Prager, who got the ball rolling about a month ago, arguing that Ellison, Congress’ first Muslim, will literally “undermine American civilization” and “embolden Islamic extremists” if he takes the oath of office on a Koran instead of a Christian Bible. Rep. Goode was part of a wide assortment of right-wing critics who came forward with similar denunciations. Goode argued that Ellison is proof that we need immigration reform to prevent Muslims from entering the United States.

On swearing-in day last week, Rep. Ellison did in fact place his hand on the Muslim holy book in a private ceremony for family, friends, and staffers at the Capitol. The Qur’an he used had belonged to Thomas Jefferson, who was a native of Goode’s Congressional District.

Earlier, following the en masse swearing in of the 110th Congress – at which no holy book is used – Rep. Goode was seen making his way to Rep. Ellison on the floor of the House. The two shook hands, but Goode has refused to retract his statements.

Appearing on Fox's "Your World" program with guest-host David Asman, Goode insisted he does not want to forbid Keith Ellison from using the Qu’ran outright. "But," he said, "I am for restricting immigration so that we don't have a majority of Muslims elected to the United States House of Representatives."

To block the invading hordes, Goode wants to curtail legal immigration for Middle Easterners, and end Diversity Visa programs that were created to increase the immigrants from non-European countries.

Religious leaders and organizations backing the petition include Dr. George Hunsinger of the Princeton Theological Seminary, Rev. Robert Edgar of the National Council of Churches, Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs of the Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs Progressive Faith Foundation, Rev. Dr. Larry L. Greenfield of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, Rev. Cedric A. Harmon of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Joseph C. Hough, Jr. of the Union Theological Seminary, Vincent Isner of Faithful America, a program of the National Council of the Churches of Christ USA, and Rev. Timothy F. Simpson of the Christian Alliance for Progress.

Readers wishing to read the full petition and original signatories can do so at http://ga3.org/campaign/reconcile.

In a statement, Rep. Ellison said, “We seem to have lost the political vision of our founding document -- a vision of inclusion, tolerance and generosity. I do not blame my critics for subscribing to a politics of scarcity and intolerance. However, I believe we all must project a new politics of generosity and inclusion. This is the vision of the diverse coalition in my Congressional district. My constituents in Minnesota elected me to fight for a new politics in which a loving nation guarantees health care for all of its people; a new politics in which executive pay may not skyrocket while workers do not have enough to care for their families.”

He added, “I was elected to articulate a new politics in which no one is cut out of the American dream, not immigrants, not gays, not poor people, not even a Muslim committed to serve his nation.”

Right-wing religious groups and the Republican Party have remained largely silent on the Goode-Ellison controversy. Only one prominent Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, has publicly defended Ellison’s Qur’an decision and criticized Rep. Goode. Conservative religious groups have    deviated little from promoting their more customary issues, such as opposition to “activist judges” and gay marriage. But there is mounting evidence that the more inclusive religious communities in the U.S. are determined to make their voices heard.

Princeton’s Dr. George Hunsinger, one of the original petition signatories, told us, "We were outmaneuvered by the Religious Right. We have a 20-year deficit to make up for. But remember that it wasn't so long ago that the likes of Martin Luther King and Rev. William Sloane Coffin were on the scene…From a Christian point of view, faithfulness is a higher virtue than effectiveness. Which doesn't mean that we can afford to be slackers when it comes to making a difference."

Goode was elected to Congress in 1996 as a Democrat, representing the historically conservative 5th Congressional District of Virginia, located in the southwest part of the state, where the largest city is Charlottesville. Like many Southern Democrats, Goode strongly opposed abortion and gun control and vigorously supported the tobacco industry. He is also a long-time opponent of same-sex marriage and gay civil unions. He officially became a Republican in August 2002 before the primary election, making him the first Republican to represent this district since Reconstruction.

In 2005, Goode faced questions when a major corporate campaign donor, defense contractor MZM, Inc., was implicated in a bribery scandal that resulted in the criminal conviction and resignation of California congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Although Goode insisted that his relations with MZM were motivated solely by his interest in bringing high-paying skilled jobs to his district, in December of that year he donated the $88,000 received in MZM contributions to regional charities.

In July 2006 Richard Berglund, a former supervisor of the Martinsville, Va. office of MZM Inc., pleaded guilty to making illegal donations to Goode's campaign. Court papers indicated that Berglund and MZM owner Mitchell Wade, who previously pleaded guilty, engaged in a scheme to reimburse MZM employees for campaign donations.There was no allegation of wrong-doing on the part of Goode's campaign.
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Comments (7)add comment

Netram said:

Sharia Law...Here We Come!
When Muslims are in great numbers and they have the democratic ability to elect each other and believe me they will, slowly but surely they will eventually demand their own set of laws...Sharia law. That problem is going on as we speak in Europe. Bleeding hearts and the ignorant will ignore the truth and continue to fantasize in their dreamworld that a perfect utopian diverse multicultural society can exist. IT DOES NOT!! Just look around and get a taste of the real world. The bleeding hearts will come around all right...but it will be too late. The only places in the world that will remain overwhelmingly Muslim will be Muslim countries where they will not accept Christian beliefs and demographic changes that threaten their way of life. Sound familiar?

Political correctness is the cancer that will slowly destroy us. Why? Because most don't play by those rules. That is a fatal disadvantage to the "good guys".
January 07, 2007
Votes: +0

Richard Kastelein said:

Richard Kastelein
If anything...
You should also be wringing your paws on the US turning Catholic within 50 years when Hispanics become the majority. Remember - the Pope says 'no' to condoms.

As for your comment - it's sheer lunacy. First off - not all Muslims believe in implementing Sharia Law... in fact very few Muslims in the West want it. Second - multiculturalism works fine in Canada and to a certain degree in Australia. Shall I assume that you prefer some sort of Apartheid in America to keep the whities' from the browns... and the Muslims from the Christians?

It's interesting how people such as yourself cast 'Political Correctness' in a negative light in order to blanket your own prejudicial ignorance and blatant racism.
January 07, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

Netram said:

Back At Ya
To #2 Richard Kastelein,

"You should also be wringing your paws on the US turning Catholic within 50 years when Hispanics become the majority. Remember - the Pope says 'no' to condoms."

Wow. something we can agree upon. Our country will double in population in less then 100 years mainly due to liberal legal immigration policies and the illegal immigration invasion. Are you ready for the Mr. liberal environmentalist?

I want proof from the bleeding heart to your statement:

"not all Muslims believe in implementing Sharia Law... in fact very few Muslims in the West want it."

Or is that just your opinion? Do you really think Muslims in this country will reveal their true feelings when their numbers are few. It would be political suicide and you know it. There are mnay good Muslims but there are many that are not.

"multiculturalism works fine in Canada and to a certain degree in Australia."

Let me catch by breath from the uncontrolled laughing I spewed from your statement before I respond......................... OK, Quebec has tried twice to secede from Canada and become an independent Nation. The last time they lost by small margin, 50.58% "No" to 49.42% "Yes" and they promise to try again.

Australia's top Muslim cleric has been barred from preaching for up to three months, after comparing immodestly dressed women to "uncovered meat" who attract sexual assault. Yea it's working there too.

I don't know what the answer is but it certainly is not a multicultural immigration free for all, where my country is a massive petrii dish, a grand experiment where everyone hopes and prays that in the end all will work out and everybody will get along and live happily ever after. Well, what if it does not work out? Go down that road please.

You called me a bigot and racist from one statement I made. But I won't call you a bleeding heart open borders xenophile who favors foreigners more then his own countrymen. That would be presumptuous of me.
January 07, 2007
Votes: +0

Equinox said:

You are inventing problems. There is no Sharia debate in Europe. Nobody is asking for it. Not even in Turkey which is 99% Muslim but also a secular country. More secular than USA. There is no Sharia in Indonesia which is the bigest Muslim country in the world. Why do you think that muslims in USA who are even more secular would want one?
January 07, 2007
Votes: +0

Richard Kastelein said:

Richard Kastelein
Right back at me? I think you are kicking sand in your own face.

First off - I could care less if America becomes a Hispanic nation in 100 years. With a Canadian Cree Grandmother - I am also a 'Mestizo' - but one that comes from the north.

There are many good Muslims yes. You said it. Have you ever been to a Mosque? No. I didn't think so.

As for Canada - I grew up in Vancouver which is almost half Asian - chock full of Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Sikhs and you name it. Toronto isn't much different - nor is Montreal for that matter. Everyone is an immigrant or the son/daughter of one.

I know you came from a site called Immigration Watch Dog and that already tells me enough about you and your primitive mind set.

January 08, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

Netram said:

Richard Kastelein:
So your bias is evident then being a "Mestizo". We bad Europeons "stole" your land from the indeginious and owe you some kind of reparations for the indignity from here to eternity. Sorry, but nobody alive today had anything to do with that. "White guilt"? Never had it.

You shot pass my statement of our population doubling in less then 100 years and went for the jugular about Hispanics. Typical race bating.

I have been to Mosques. They're nice.

I am not an immigrant. Nor an I the son of one. Nor the gandson or great grandson. That is a far back as I know. So the "everyone is an immigrant" line is gettin old. But if you want, all peoples in North America are immigrants. Even the indiginous immigrated across the Baring straits to settle.

In Stockholm, Muslim teenagers can be seen wearing a T-shirt that says "2030 - then we take over."

Muslim youth are still buring over 100 cars a day in the countryside around Paris.

For a little video proof check out this You Tube video of some not so friendly Muslims in Malmo, Sweden.

Thanks for the plug for the site I am a member of. I am proud of it and my fellow members who are fighting the good fight against the illegal alien invasion of my country. Want to join us or are we to "primitive" for your sensibilities?
January 08, 2007
Votes: +0

Netram said:

January 08, 2007
Votes: +0

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