By Christopher Jackson
In just the past 24 hours, multiple stories have arisen about religious bigotry entering back into our nation's political conversation. First, if you haven't heard, the new Miss USA was crowned last night. Miss Michigan, Rima Fakih, is a Lebanese-American, who is a member of a large Lebanese community in Dearborn, MI. She is only the second Arab-American to win the crown, and the first Muslim. Oh noes, she's a Muslim! At least that is what the right wingers are saying today. I would link to some reactions from the right wing responses directly, but they don't deserve the site traffic, so check out the ThinkProgress link above to see some of the savageness and insults being hurled.
In addition to this, Congressman Carson was tagged in a new story that Channel 8 did on anti-Muslim comments found associated with the campaign of perennial candidate Dr. Marvin Scott. The video on Facebook is found here. The video also mentions a blog post over at the Indianapolis Times, by fellow blogger Terry Burns. At issue is a fundraiser invitation and a Facebook page post, since deleted, the implied that Congressman Carson is a Muslim extremist and terrorist. Dr. Scott denies that he knew about the comments when they were made, and when told about them, he flatly states that he does not agree with them and that Congressman Carson's religion will not be made into a campaign issue. While I believe that Dr. Scott does not agree with the allegations made, the issue still stands on why religion bigotry is able to permeate our political discussions?
Why does it matter that Miss USA (who coincidentally attended a Christian high school, and who's family celebrates both Muslim and Christian holidays) is a Muslim? Why does it matter that Congressman Carson is Muslim, and one of only two serving in Congress? It shouldn't, both should not be issues. Both of these facts should be seen as progress for our culture in America, and then that be the end of it, no negativity applied. Don't we have more important issues to deal with in America? How about that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which the CEO of BP has said is "relatively tiny"? How about the financial reform bill that will have a vote for cloture, this week? What about the Arizona immigration law that is so blatantly unconstitutional, that its not even funny?
The US needs to have a serious debate about policies and governance, not these petty things that have no effect on our government or our country. Maybe I'm biased because I'm an atheist, maybe not, but I believe that the majority of sensible Americans on both sides of the aisle will agree that we need to move on from these senseless attacks on Americans just because of their religious beliefs. So my question is, will you join me in fighting to end these attacks?
Side note: I apologize for any errors or formatting mistakes on this post, its the first time I have written and posted a entry with my iPad.