Tag Archives: Islam

Yes, there is a church-state ‘separation’

A former colleague of mine used to insist that because the United States Constitution doesn’t contain the phrase “separation of church and state” that the concept somehow is not relevant.

Well, I would remind him that the First Amendment about a prohibition against writing laws that establish a state religion implies the separation graphically.

Enter the new man nominated to become the U.S. attorney general, William Barr. He has declared his skepticism about the “secular” state the founders created in the late 18th century. He wants to invoke “God’s law” when enforcing the laws of the land.

I am going to presume he means the laws of the Christian God. But what about the laws of all the other gods that Americans worship? The Islamic god, the Jewish god, the Hindu god, the Buddhist god, the Shinto god? Do they matter? Of course they do! Or at least they should.

Except the founders created a Constitution that say there should be no law passed “with respect” to a particular religion. It stipulates there should be “no religious test” for anyone seeking public office.

The words “Christian,” “Christianity” or “Jesus Christ” are not mentioned in the Constitution. Nor does it mention “Jewish” or “Muslim” or “Buddhist” or “Hindu.”

So, to the AG-designate, I merely want to urge him to stick to enforcing the laws of the land, as enacted by Congress, signed by the president and affirmed by the courts.

How’s this for religious bigotry?

To think that Texas’s third-largest county is home to a cabal of religious bigots who want to oust a local Republican Party vice chairman because — get ready for it — he’s a Muslim!

Ye gads, this story disgusts me.

At issue is the faith practiced by Shahid Shafi, a Southlake trauma surgeon. He ran twice for the Southlake City Council and was elected on his second try. He was informed by friends that as a Muslim, he would have difficulty being elected to any office in Texas in this post 9/11 era.

That didn’t dissuade him. So he ran and won eventually.

Now he’s vice chair of the Tarrant County GOP. But wait! He barely had taken office when a local Republican raised a phony alarm. A precinct chairwoman, Dorrie O’Brien, urged the county’s GOP chair, Darl Easton, to pull Shafi out of the vice chair’s office.

The bigot said, without any evidence, that Shafi believes in Sharia law and that he’s a closet terrorist.

Good grief!

I feel the need to remind everyone yet again that the U.S. Constitution is unambiguous about this point: There shall be “no religious test” applied for anyone seeking elected office in the United States of America. It’s written in Article VI, Clause 3 of the nation’s founding government document. Yep, that includes city council member and political party leadership.

The bigoted move has drawn immediate condemnation from some high-profile Republicans, such as Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and lame-duck Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. The Texas GOP Executive Committee has approved a resolution endorsing religious freedom in a move to stop the xenophobia that might erupt if the Tarrant County removal motion is allowed to proceed.

Here is how the Texas Tribune reports it

Yes, this story sickens me. It should sicken anyone who has an understanding of what the Constitution says about religion in politics.

Then there’s the issue of innuendo and unfounded accusation, which has become one of the dubious trademarks of the nation’s top Republican, Donald Trump.

Disgusting.

Pictures tell a graphic story of crassness

Spoiler alert. The pictures attached to this blog are offensive. I’ll concede that instantly. I apologize for them. But they do serve to speak to a hypocrisy that swirls around the criticism of a comic who delivered some offensive remarks to the White House Correspondents Dinner.

I am one of Michelle Wolf’s critics. I disliked the tone of her remarks to the correspondents dinner. I’ve made my case already, albeit to mixed reviews among those who have read them.

But I will concede as well that they were downright quaint and pale compared to what those on the other side of the political divide have said about those with whom they disagree.

Does this excuse Wolf’s monologue? No. It doesn’t. My hope would have been that she could have remained on a higher road while skewering the president and his White House staff.

Still, the hypocrisy of the indignation emanating from the right and the far right is, um, quite ironic.

Don’t you think?

Look out, ‘radical Islam’

President George W. Bush told us in clear and unequivocal terms while the nation grieved over the 9/11 attack: We are not at war with Islam.

President Barack H. Obama followed that message to the letter. On the night he announced the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the president told us that bin Laden was not a “Muslim leader,” but that he was a “mass murderer of Muslims.”

A new president has taken over. Donald J. Trump has just nominated Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state and has appointed John Bolton to be the new national security adviser.

These two men — not to mention the president — seem intent on changing the narrative. They want to take direct aim at “radical Islam,” as if the terrorists with whom we are at war represent a great world religion. They do not. They have perverted Islam to fit some ruthless ideology.

As Politico has reported: Both Bolton and Pompeo will now be working for a president who has alleged, with no evidence, that American Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks, and who has proposed banning all foreign Muslims from U.S. shores. Critics say the personnel moves suggest Trump’s worst instincts on how to approach the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims will find receptive ears among his foreign policy aides.

Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster, who will be leaving the State Department and the National Security Council, respectively, were thought to have some sort of moderating influence on Trump. But the president has shoved them aside, elevating two more fiery confidants to help formulate U.S. foreign policy. They are likely to seek to steer the president toward a position that mainstream Muslims might interpret to be more hostile to their religious faith.

That, I suggest, is a dangerous trend.

The killers with whom we have been at war since 9/11 need damn little pretext to recruit new militants to follow their perverted cause.

No, Mr. POTUS, Islam doesn’t ‘hate’ us

I watched a two-year-old video of Donald John Trump in which he told an interviewer that Islam “hates Americans.”

That comment has bothered me from the moment I heard it the first time.

I’ve long wondered, given what the president said at the time, why this country is full of so many Muslims. Why do people who follow the Islamic faith choose to live in a country full of those they supposedly “hate”? And, oh yes, what about Islamic Americans? How do we categorize those fellow citizens?

To me the answer is obvious. Muslims don’t “hate” Americans just because we are, um, Americans.

Muslim perverts — those who commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam — certainly do hate Americans. They also hate other Muslims.

I remember the night President Barack Obama told the world that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden. The president made it clear — just as President George W. Bush had made clear — that bin Laden wasn’t a Muslim leader. “He was a mass murderer of Muslims,” President Obama said.

I keep circling back to that notion every time I hear Donald Trump harp on this falsehood, that the Islamic faith teaches its followers to hate others who adhere to other faiths.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria posed the question the other day to Jordanian King Abdullah about whether the president was right to say that Muslims “hate Americans.” The king said, quite simply and with eloquence, that the president needs to learn more about Islam before making any statements about what the faith teaches.

Indeed, the president needs to learn more about, oh, just about everything before he opens his mouth.

Is there a Liars Anonymous organization?

Donald Trump needs an intervention.

The president of the United States cannot tell the truth. He cannot state simply the reality of any situation he confronts, or that stands in his way.

Trump decided to lie like a rug yet again when he announced his decision to cancel a planned state visit to Great Britain. His excuse? He said former President Barack Obama brokered a bad deal to purchase the site for a new U.S. Embassy in London.

Trump blasted his immediate predecessor for paying too much public money to relocate the embassy.

So, that was his pretext for deciding against visiting the UK?

Two points are worth making here.

One is that his stated reason is as transparently phony as it can possibly get. The president doesn’t need to fabricate a reason to avoid going somewhere. The real reason clearly has to be that Brits cannot stand him. He was going to run straight into the teeth of intense public protests were he to visit Great Britain.

He has insulted British Prime Minister Teresa May; he has hurled ill-founded criticism of London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, who happens to be a Muslim (and we certainly know how Trump feels about those who practice the Islamic faith).

The second point is this: The deal to purchase the embassy site was brokered under the administration of President George W. Bush. It was finalized in 2008, the year before Barack H. Obama took office.

Donald Trump has a serious grudge against Barack Obama. What fuels it? Is it that the former president exhibited the class and grace that the current president lacks? Is it the former president’s continued high standing among Americans? Is it because of the former president’s racial … oh, you know.

Donald Trump cannot tell the truth. He is a pathological liar.

He needs to enroll in a Liars Anonymous session — if there’s one available … and declare: My name is Donald and I am a liar.

 

No ‘real Christian’ would do this

You likely cannot see the writing on the side of the building shown here.

It says “Happy birthday, Jesus Christ.” Then it adds, “From a real Christian.” The building happens to be a mosque in Clovis, N.M., the only such house of worship in the city.

What does one say about such a disgusting act?

I’ll start with this … whoever did this is no “real Christian.” He or she is a religious pervert. He or she is as faithful to Christianity as the perverts who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam.

Scripture teaches us many lessons about how Christians should act. Vandalizing property that belongs to those who follow another religious faith is nowhere to be found in either the Old or New Testaments.

Indeed, what I think we have here in Clovis is an act of terrorism. The dictionary defines the term as an act that seeks to make some sort of political point.

When police capture whoever is responsible for this hideous act, perhaps they can consider asking Curry County prosecutors to charge them with committing a terrorist act.

Real Christian? Whoever did this is nothing of the sort.

A second ‘Day of Infamy’ still burns

Sixteen years ago our world changed.

Americans started the day, Sept. 11, 2001, like any other day. Then the news came bursting forth from New York City and from Washington, D.C.

Jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. The images still burn seemingly as brightly as the flames that burst from the Twin Towers.

Then came news that the Pentagon had been hit by yet another jetliner. That image isn’t recorded. But the crash hit at the heart of our vast military complex.

We would learn later that morning of a fourth jetliner that crashed into a Pennsylvania field. Passengers sought to wrest control of the aircraft from more terrorists. A struggle forced the plane to plunge into the ground.

I was at work that morning at the Amarillo Globe-News. My colleague came in, stuck his head in the door and asked: “Did you hear about what happened in New York?” I responded, “What?” He said a plane crashed into the World Trade Center.

My next response was another question: “What’s the weather like?” My colleague said it was gorgeous. I blurted out a profanity while wondering out loud, “What kind of bleeping idiot would crash an airplane into the World Trade Center?”

I turned on my TV. I watched the tower burn. Then I watched, right along with the rest of the nation, the second plane crash into the second tower.

That … was no accident.

And, thus, our world was shattered into a million pieces. Three thousand lives were lost. The families and other loved ones of those who died were shattered permanently. There never will be repair coming for them.

As for the nation, I am not sure we’ll recover fully, either. We would go to war in Afghanistan. Later we would take the fight into Iraq. We are now waging a war without a foreseeable end against terrorists who claim to be acting on behalf of fellow Muslims. They are murderers; they are not religious zealots, let alone leaders.

President Roosevelt called the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii not quite 60 years earlier a “date which will live … in infamy.” It has done exactly as FDR predicted.

The other day of infamy that we’ve all shortened into “9/11” will share forever that frightening distinction.

The enemy is different than those who bombed our ships and planes. Today’s enemy does not represent a sovereign nation. It represents a profoundly perverted ideology. It is more cunning, more elusive than those we defeated so many decades ago.

This fight will require maximum perseverance.

Why the silence on mosque bombing?

The president of the United States is elected to represent all Americans.

He takes an oath to defend us, to fight for us against our enemies. The presidential oath makes no mention of certain Americans deserving more protection than others.

Some of our countrymen have been attacked. Their place of worship was bombed. It is a mosque near Minneapolis, where Muslims pray and worship.

And yet … the president hasn’t condemned the attack. His silence on this incident is, shall we say, deafening in the extreme.

We all know of Donald J. Trump’s feelings about Muslims. He once called for a complete ban of all Muslims entering our country; he softened it somewhat; the federal courts have challenged what’s now called a “travel ban.”

Meanwhile, some Americans who happen to be devout Muslims are dealing with damage being done to the place where they worship. They need a word of support and encouragement from their president.

It’s time for him to deliver it.

How about those anonymous sources, Mr. POTUS?

This item almost doesn’t deserve comment. Aww, but what the heck.

Donald J. Trump fired of a tweet that cited anonymous sources after, um, blasting anonymous sources.

It’s become normal, I guess, for the president to do this kind of thing. Do as I say, not as I do.

* He blasts Michelle Obama for not covering her head while touring a Muslim country, only to have his wife do the same thing during his recent journey to Saudi Arabia.

* He rips into Barack Obama for all that golf he played as president, then hits the links with reckless abandon when he takes office.

* Trump leads rally crowd chants of “lock her up!” for her use of private e-mail account while serving as secretary of state, then he blabs to Russians about classified security information.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/335598-trump-retweets-story-based-on-anonymous-source-after-blasting

The president retweeted a Fox News report that cites an anonymous source relating to his son-in-law’s current difficulty with “the Russia thing.” He did so just days after tweeting a rant equating anonymous sources to “fake news.”

Here’s a suggestion for the president: Take a breath and be sure about what you’ve put into the public domain before firing off another of those nonsensical tweets.