Thursday, December 21, 2006

Virginia and religious freedom

Letter written by Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) in response to constituents commenting on Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) using a Koran to take the oath of office:

Thank you for your recent communication.

When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand.

I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.

We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country.

I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

The Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, "As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office." Thank you again for your email and thoughts.
I guess he's not heir to the Jefferson-Madison tradition.


Scott of Hybla said...

Justin Rood at Talkingpointsmemo is struggling frantically to find any Republican leader or member of Congress has any comment on the "No-Goode-Koran" story so he can go home and celebrate Christmas.

Meanwhile, Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) issued the following statement:

"Tolerance for different religions speaks to the very character of this country and the precepts on which it was founded," said Emanuel. "President Bush has reminded us time and again that freedom of religion is a fundamental American value. As such, I call on President Bush to be consistent and denounce Congressman Goode's intolerance."

John B. Chilton said...

Virginia's senior senator, Republican John Warner, said in a statement Thursday that he respects the right of congressional members to freely "exercise the religion of their choice, including those of the Islamic faith utilizing the Quran."

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, an Illinois Democrat who is Jewish, said Thursday that he hoped Goode would meet with Ellison, saying he would "see what I saw: a good American with good values of a different faith who's trying to do right by the people he represents."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations had asked Goode to apologize, saying the remarks sent "a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office."

Ellison was born in Detroit and converted to Islam in college.

His decision to use the Quran at his ceremonial swearing-in next month prompted criticism from conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager. The American-Islamic relations council has called for Prager's removal from the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.