06 January 2007

At the Intersection of Immigration, Islam, and Intolerance

Listen, I'm not a big fan of maintaining political correctness, but I still must wonder about the following--

FOXNews.com - Congressman Criticized for Muslim Letter - Politics See also: Actual Letter (via thesmokinggun.com).

Two points: First. The letter demonstrates an extraordinarily poor way of discussing immigration policy. For it is legitimate to ask whether an intending immigrant will subscribe to the collective and enduring values of the United States. I would also suppose it may even be legitimate to ask whether the United States has the resources to handle an increased immigration population--legal or otherwise--or whether there are economic or social impacts to be concerned about. But to suggest, as Rep. Goode (R-VA) does, that only persons who subscribe to Christianity or Judaism can be entrusted to sustain American values or uphold the Constitution seems not only to cross the line, but does so by an astonishing margin.

Second. Significant opposition has been raised, by commentators purporting to be conservative, regarding the use of the Islamic scriptures in an oath ceremony. Let me say this: While I cannot subscribe to Islam, and I consider myself to be very conservative as a Christian, the fact remains that it is holy scripture as to this faith. Our country stands, among the most important of things, for freedom of religion and thought. All members of Congress, all members of the Executive Branch, and all members of the Judiciary each swear to uphold the Constitution. In view of these facts, frankly, I don't see the issue here.

Seeing that this post appears immediately above the one from last August, I must make one other comment, lest this post be viewed as a contradiction. To the extent that one upholds terror in the name of religion--that absolutely needs to be addressed. But that issue is not confined to any specific faith, let alone Islam: One only look to the likes of Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph and know that there are other relevant examples. Moreover, it is entirely separate from the question of whether one is free to practice the religion of his or her own choice, to the extent that such a choice does not abridge the rights or freedoms of others.