Thursday, December 21, 2006


That's "What Wall Would Jesus Build?" of course.

Today's Star carries an article headlined "Muslim group asks congressman to apologize." You can read the whole thing by clicking above. (The headline's different online. I have to say that, because I am an English major, and don't want anyone thinking I wrote it incorrectly, or something horrible like that.)

It seems that Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode Jr. is one of the many folks unhappy that Congressman-elect Keith Ellison--a Muslim--wants to be sworn into office with his hand upon the Qu'ran. The stated objection is some nonsense about how every American leader has been sworn in with his (and they probably are saying "his") hand on the Bible. This is patently untrue, but truth is increasingly unlikely to serve as a litmus test for public statements in Our Nation's Capitol.

So Rep. Goode sent out a letter in which he touted his zero tolerance policy on immigration, saying: "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."

Of course, this dustup really isn't about the Bible and the Qu'ran, which are, after [Side story: I went to San Francisco State University, which is a wonderfully diverse community, accepting of a huge variety of lifestyles, "Christian" not necessarily one of them. I got over it--hey, I usually understood their point of view. But I was annoyed, or at least bemused when a young woman in one of my classes said, at least three times, "most of the bad things that have happened in the world throughout history have been done by the Bible." I wish I could draw, because I've had this cartoon in my head ever since that day, of a Bible, decked out like Rambo, rushing around in an evil stupor, leading crusades and burning witches and bad stuff like that.]

Anyway, as I said, this isn't about the Qu'ran and the Bible. It's about Muslims and Christians. It's about how Christians have been in the majority in this country, especially when one looks at the annals of leadership. For a lot of years now, this country has been run by white, Christian men. (Presumably straight, but that one is up for review.) And those white, Christian men like it that way. Most people like being in charge, or at least like to have their opinions count more than other people's.

So now there are Muslims in this country, and one of them has been elected to the US Congress, and lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Clearly the new terrorist plot is to have Muslims elected, one at a time, to the congress, so that they can take over this country.

In 434 years, which is when they would have a majority under that plan.

Those of us who live in and around Kansas City should probably be grateful to Rep. Goode, along with Senator-unelect George Allen. (If that isn't ringing a bell, here's a memory-jogger: "macaca"). For a brief moment in time, Virginia is replacing Kansas as "most backward US state." And since most of the folks I know who don't live here do think I live in Kansas (we really do need to improve our secondary schools' geography classes), it is good to get Kansas out of the spotlight. For the people of Kansas and the people of Kansas City. Missouri. And Kansas. It is confusing, isn't it?

But all kidding aside (hard for me but I can do it), this is truly sad. That walling ourselves off from the huddled masses yearning to breathe free can be considered a legitimate "policy" is beyond me. Truly disturbing is the desire to wall ourselves off from other American citizens, just because they practice a different (and very much related) religion.

We keep hearing about the "global economy." We are increasingly caught up in the World Wide Web. The walls between peoples are coming down. That's a wonderful development here in the global village.

It's certainly a development which should be applauded by Christians. Perhaps Rep. Goode and his comrades ought to spend less time worrying about folks putting their hands on the Bible, and take some time to put the Bible in their own hands. And open it up. Try Galatians, chapter three, last verses:

As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, seed heirs according to the promise.

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