Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis for Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, wrote a blog post yesterday saying that “America should have no more mosques. Period,” Talking Points Memo reports. “This is for one simple reason,” he wrote. “Each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.”
Click here to read Fischer’s entire post. Everyone should, because his analytics expose the underlying premise of this whole deplorable controversy–that all Muslims are equally responsible for 9/11 and every other monstrosity that has ever been committed in Islam’s name, much as Christians once blamed all Jews for killing Jesus. As repellent and profoundly unAmerican as this is, more than 68% of Americans, according to a recent CNN poll, also oppose the mosque. 49% of us, according to the same poll, favor a Constitutional amendment that will “prevent children born here from becoming U.S. citizens unless their parents are also U.S. citizens.” And for what it’s worth, 52% of us think it’s ok for gay people to marry. Go figure.
I know it’s futile to argue with bigots, but I couldn’t help noticing one glaring logical inconsistency. Fischer writes, “Muslims cannot claim religious freedom protections under the First Amendment” because they are “using First Amendment freedoms to make plans to destroy the First Amendment altogether.”
Ask the Hutaree Christian militia how much good it did them to plaster Bible verses all over their website while plotting attacks against government officials. They are currently pondering the limits of the First Amendment, as they should, from the inside of a jail cell. The First Amendment cannot be used as a cloak for subversive activity.
So here’s my question. Why should we distinguish between one Christian sect and another if we won’t extend that same courtesy to Muslims? According to Fischer’s own premises, shouldn’t the mere existence of one subversive Christian group be reason enough to ban them all?
In general, I think it’s a good thing when propagandists jump the shark; they not only discredit themselves, but their ostensibly “mainstream” allies too. They make ugly look as ugly as ugly is.
Nativism in the raw is not a pretty sight. Back in the 1890s, the American Protective Association circulated a counterfeit Papal Bull that ordered American Catholics to slaughter all Protestants “on or about the feast of St. Ignatius in the year of our Lord, 1893.” Similar rumors swept the country in the 1850s, at the height of the Know Nothing movement. Section 14 of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 specifically prohibited Chinese from Naturalization (“hereafter no state court or court of the United States shall admit Chinese to citizenship; and all laws in conflict with this act are hereby repealed”). The idea was that the Chinese were inherently unassimilable; much the same thing was said of Eastern and Southern Europeans–Poles, Hungarians, Italians, Greeks, Slavs, Ashkenazi Jews–when eugenicists like Madison Grant were in vogue in the teens and ’20s.
“If I were asked,” Grant wrote in The Passing of the Great Race, “What is the greatest danger that threatens the American Republic today? I would certainly reply: The gradual dying out among our people of those hereditary traits through which the principles of our religious, political, and social foundations were laid down and their insidious replacement by traits of less noble character.” I might say something similar, but I wouldn’t blame it on heredity or immigration.