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Bigotry rules in the USA

By Walt Brasch - posted Wednesday, 2 July 2008

There should have been absolutely no controversy in a resolution presented in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently.

Speaker Dennis O’Brien, a Republican from Philadelphia, wanted to honour the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which was holding its 60th annual national convention in Harrisburg. These resolutions are routine and almost always non controversial. The resolution pointed out that the organisation’s purpose was to “increase faith and harmony and introduce various humanitarian, social and religious services”.

But that wasn’t what angered Rep. Daryl Metcalf, a five term Republican from north of Pittsburgh.


“The Muslims do not recognise Jesus Christ as God,” he declared indignantly, and said he would vote against the resolution.

Now, normally, Rep. Metcalf’s views would be heard - and dismissed as a bigoted attack. But this is Pennsylvania politics. So, Rep. Gordon Denlinger, a Republican from Lancaster, felt he had to talk.

“Certainly this nation went through an attack some years ago that is well-burned into the subconscious of our society,” he said, and then emphasised, “What I sense on our floor today is that, for some people, this evokes very strong passion and emotion.”

Apparently, Denlinger never considered that all religions, including Christianity, have violent extremists. Nevertheless, on Denlinger’s suggestion, the full House sent the resolution to committee, where it would ultimately die long after the weekend convention.

This nonsense in the House isn’t isolated. Voluminous lies and exaggerations about Senator Barack Obama permeate the conservative talk shows, e-mails, and Internet. From bitterness dripping in an equal amount of invective and stupidity, we are told that Obama is a radical Muslim “mole” who is waiting to take over America; that he attended Muslim schools and was indoctrinated in that faith; that he switched to Christianity solely to get elected to office; and that he took his oath of office by placing his hand on a Koran.

Obama’s supporters aren’t much better than the liars from the misnamed “right”. Their vigorous defence of the probable Democratic nominee is that Obama isn’t a Muslim but really a Christian; his staff has even gone to great lengths to distance Obama from any possibility that he could have any connection to Islam.


Apparently, being a Christian is more tolerable, certainly more acceptable, than being a Muslim, a Jew, or a believer of any other religion.

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, agrees:

Since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith. But that doesn’t mean that I'm sure that someone who is Muslim would not make a good president. I don’t say that we would rule out under any circumstances someone of a different faith. I just … feel that that’s an important part of our qualifications to lead.

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About the Author

Walter Brasch is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. He is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and author of 16 books. Dr. Brasch's current books are Unacceptable: The Federal Government’s Response to Hurricane Katrina; Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture; and Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (Nov. 2007) You may contact him at

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