According to CNN, Congressman Goode from Virginia’s 5th district seems to think that the only good congressman is a Christian congressman. Muslims need not apply. I must say that it didn’t take long for the Spirit of Senator Macaca to find a new home. Yes, this is the land where intolerance is not just a Constitutional Thing, it’s a Goode Thing.
Congressman Goode actually sent a letter to his constituents railing about Congressman-elect Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress who wants to be sworn in to office with the Quran rather than a Bible. Seems Congressman Goode has forgotten about the American ideas of freedom of religion, diversity and the melting pot of the world in favor of the Senator Allenesque ideas of discrimination and intolerance. Congressman Goode is trying to send one of two messages.
The first possible message is that we don’t want people who think differently in a position of power. The second possible message is that it’s un-American to use anything but a Bible to swear in a Congressman. On second thought those are really two sides of the same thought: intolerance + bigotry is alive and well.
People like Congressman Goode, though their own fear and insecurity, actually help to bring about the problems they fear. Because they react with such negativity and actively try to create and environment of “us” and “them,” they create an environment of fear and distrust that creates a viscious circle that can be almost impossible to break if it goes on for too long.
It is time for leaders to stop fomenting fear and start accepting that that America isn’t a country of white, straight, Christian Cleaver family clones. We’re all different and we can all get along if people like Congressman Goode would stop trying to stir up trouble and start working for the common good. Congressman Goode owes Congressman Ellison an apology and he owes all of Virginia an apology for furthering Virginia’s image as a hotbed of bigotry.