OK, the headline is a bit of a stretch, but maybe not as much as you might think.
Newt Gingrich, seriel philanderer and former House Speaker who resigned in disgrace, now spoken of as a possible contendor for President in 2012, has a piece in today’s Washington Post talking about a proposed Muslim worship center near the cite of the World Trade Center in New York, the 9-11 site.
Much is written about that proposed mosque, how Muslims killed all those people so we can’t have a mosque (or whatever it is) near there. That’s sort of like saying Baby Face Nelson was a Christian so we can’t have Christians working in banks, or something, but that’s the argument.
I kinda thought the whole point of freedom of religion was that we have it because we’re better than them. Now Newt is saying we should do away with it because the Saudis don’t allow it? So we should be like them?
No thanks. The Saudis cut off hands and support suicide bombers. They also donate money to the guys shooting at our soldiers in Afghanistan. If Newt wants to be like those sort of people, that’s his business, but not me.
And really, the Saudi Arabians (mostly) in those planes on 9-11 did not, by all accounts, represent the Islamic faith or beliefs. They were rogue extremists, sort of like the allegedly Christian white supremists in this country who kill blacks and Jews in the name of God.
Should we ban Christian Churches in Idaho because of them?
Gingrich’s argument is even more of a stretch. Saudi Arabians don’t allow churches in Saudi Arabia, he said, so why should we allow a mosque in this country. Really, go read it. That is precisely what he says.
Needless to say, this harkens right back to the experience of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which was persecuted and harassed and burned out of town several times for holding beliefs not in line with their neighbors. They generated a lot of fear by talking big, causing hundreds to suffer for the actions of a few. Do Mormons today want to be discriminated against because of what Porter Rockwell did?
Gingrich is preaching the sort of religious intolerance that our country was specifically founded to do away with. It’s amazing that someone who claims to believe in this country, to support this country, who once (as a member of Congress) took an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution, could take such a stand.
What he’s doing is hoping the current hate-filled atmosphere in this country, coupled with unreasoning fear of all things Muslim because of the actions of a few whackos, will get people to accept his insanely unAmerican thinking. He’s hoping to ride to the White House on that same wave of fear and hate.
He attacks “elites” who defend the mosque without ever saying who they are. Setting up straw men and attacking them is the laziest thinking around. Lazy thinking is the hallmark of those who hate and those who believe the haters.
Newt really thinks a sizeable number of Americans are dumb enough to ignore their own base founding beliefs and follow along with his hate.
What’s sad is, he’s probably right.