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Sunday, October 24, 2010

 
Religious Tests

by digby


Yeah, they're going there:

A Tea Party Nation e-mail (requires login) sent late Saturday night in support of Lynne Torgeson, the Republican candidate in Minnesota's 5th district, went full negative against Rep. Keith Ellison, the Democratic incumbent.

Best to just let you read it, verbatim:

There are a lot of liberals who need to be retired this year, but there are few I can think of more deserving than Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the most radical members of congress. He has a ZERO rating from the American Conservative Union. He is the only Muslim member of congress. He supports the Counsel for American Islamic Relations, HAMAS and has helped congress send millions of tax to terrorists in Gaza.



I think what's most amusing (and terrifying) about the new Teabag GOP is the fact that they wave the constitution around constantly and yet never seem to have read it.

This one's easy:

Article VI, paragraph 3:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.


Now I suppose they could quibble by saying that the state isn't administering a religious test, just an activist group, and they'd be right. Teabaggers can require that all their members be Christian fundamentalist throwbacks if they want to.

But that's not the excuse they would use. They would say the founders were Christian conservatives who designed the constitution for believers like themselves and that they were just indicating that there should be no sectarian test among them. This is not a matter of history or interpretation to them. It's a matter of faith.

They believe that Keith Ellison should not be in the US Congress because he is a Muslim and Muslims are the enemy of the United States. That is also an article of faith, which is being mainstreamed by FOX news and, unfortunately, all those who defended Bill O'Reilly and his ilk for saying "they killed us on 9/11." Once you start with that sort of sweeping condemnation of "them" it's only a matter of time before this sort of thing happens.

I have to say that as I've been watching Condi Rice (and soon George W. Bush) on the circuit hawking books, it would be really nice if they stood up on this. Bush was a rotten president in almost every respect, but he did keep a lid on this sort of chauvinism and religious intolerance and he could show some moral leadership right now.
Not that he's likely to, of course. His admonitions to not demonize Islam in general were driven more by electoral strategy than anything else. But his legacy could be somewhat burnished if he showed some now.



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