Tancredo And Goode
In July 2005, the fanatically anti-immigration Rep. Tancredo of Colorado advocated the nuclear bombing of Mecca and other muslim holy sites, as the proper response to a future nuclear attack on a US city by Islamist terrorists. In December 2006, the avowedly anti-immigration Rep. Goode of Virgina objected to the fact that Democratic Rep. Ellison of Minnesota will use the Koran instead of the Bible during the swearing-in ceremony at the House of Representatives in the coming days.
We believe that this direct attack on the first amendment by Mr. Goode, and the bombastic statements by Mr. Tancredo are related, not merely in their anti-immigration perspective, but more importantly, in being an explicit declaration by two men elected by the people of their districts to the Congress of the United States, to destroy the ancient foundations of freedom in our country and to wilfully disregard the central tenet of our country's organizing document - the US constitution. Here's why.
While the world's religions have each taught many good and admirable things (including peace and tolerance), it is a historical fact that religious extremists of every major religion have used religion as an excuse for all manner of unspeakable violence and horrors. While 9/11 is the latest example of violence in the name of religion, the founding fathers made the first amendment into a cornerstone of our constitution being mindful of the history of bloody wars between Catholics and Protestants in Europe. Freedom of conscience in America is much older than the American Revolution - in 1636 Rhode Island wrote into its first code of laws that "all men may walk as their consciences persuade them". The famous words of Thomas Jefferson about freedom of religion bear repeating: " ... it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg."
It is this glorious tradition, of which every American can be justly proud, that Mr. Goode and Mr. Tancredo appear to be ready to flush down the toilet. They both believe, as does Osama bin Laden, that we are now engaged in a crusade/jihad. Their response, when anything conflicts with their religious beliefs, is the advocacy of indiscriminate force against the non-believers - whether as suspension of the first amendment rights of a fellow American or the nuking of Mecca. The Al Qaeda terrorists certainly agree with Mr. Goode and Mr. Tancredo in advocating indiscriminate force against non-believers.
As to Mr. Goode, every patriotic American would be shocked that Mr. Ellison, who traces his American ancestry to 1742, should be criticized for using the Koran during his swearing-in to Congress. As to Mr. Tancredo, who wants a military strike on a purely religious, non-military target, apart from endangering our troops in time of combat by advocating acting against the established laws of war to which we are a party, his advice is against plain military common sense: if some princes of Saudi Arabia, tacitly or explicitly, support a future nuclear attack against us, Jeddah and Riyadh may be valid military targets - but not Mecca and Medina.
It is hard to see how Mr. Tancredo or Mr. Goode can honestly take the oath required of Congressmen: "I ... do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States ... " when they have repeatedly publicly attacked the foundation of that same document and repeatedly publicly advocated acting against it. Accordingly, we respectfully urge:
- Incoming Speaker Pelosi to remember the ancient right of assemblies to seat their own members and to consider asking the House to refuse to seat the two gentlemen until they recant their statements
- The incoming House of Representatives to consider censuring these two gentlemen or to consider passing a sense of the House resolution to condemn those who would attack the first amendment
- The Democratic Party to take a principled stand on the issue of religious freedom and foment a confrontation between the honorable patriots in the Republican Party and the few religious extremists who label themselves Republican
- The Republican Party to heed the admonition of their late senior statesman, Barry Goldwater that "Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy"; and condemn religious bigotry in their midst
- Mr. Goode and Mr. Tancredo to realize that there is an ongoing war between those who uphold freedom of religion and tolerance on one hand and religious extremists who preach intolerance on the other and that should search their souls to decide which side they each wish to be on (Should they have the courage to apologize and seek forgiveness, they should realize that forgiveness will be swiftly forthcoming)
- Every one of our readers to take this issue of freedom of conscience most seriously as it is the most sacred of rights - a place within a man's soul where the use of coercion would destroy all that is holy, and to take such measures of advocacy on this issue as are within their power
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Regarding the Saudi Princess who was charged for economic exploitation of her servants (ID 12/29/06), this incident (though somewhat mild in nature), is indicative to the Arab culture generally. They tend to belittle, repress, and condescend to those they consider ther inferiors.
This is just another form of Human Slavery, that is still being practised in many Arab states today.
This penalty that the princess got is just "a slap on the wrist.' Which comes as no surprise, considering that Saudi Arabia's rulers have the Bushes family, and other wealthy American businessmen, and politicians, in their pockets.
New York City
I fully agree with JHF's opinion (12/29/06 ID) that "what we need is a
will to enforce the law". Our country is facing with a big problem of
illegal aliens at present. There is an increase of 408,000 illegal
aliens every year, and ICE does not seem to have tried so much to curb
illegal aliens. We are spending about $3.50 billion dollars every year
on ICE personnel's salaries and its expenses. Now $3,887,000,000. is
allotted for FY 2007 for this. We are spending a huge amount of money
to control illegal aliens, but there does not seem any satisfactory
progress on it Instead, they seem to be increasing every year.
Therefore, as JHF opines, a strong will is needed to enforce laws that
are passed by Congress.
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