Saturday, December 23, 2006


First let me start off by saying Happy Holidays to everyone on here.... Which so far means Mitch, Bill and Larry.....

Last year, I received a Christmas card in the mail from an old college friend of mine. In it she gave the obligatory "This is what my husband and I have been doing for the last year, blah , blah" info. But of the most interest and annoyance for that matter, was that she closed her writing with (paraphrase)
'although society wants us to be politically correct and wish people "Happy Holidays", we hope that you wont be afraid to stand up and wish someone a "Merry Christmas"'

Now its probably my undeniable social liberalism that causes me to think of this card 12 months after the fact, but it ties in with something in the news that of late has decidedly pissed me off, the Virgil Goode letter.

Now dont get me wrong, I understand that letters like Goode's are sent all the time, attempts to point out various political bogeymen of the day.
But Goode's is in a class by itself.

Im really not sure where to start my criticism of the letter. There are so many angles from which to make an incision.

Theres the Constitutional angle: Article VI, Paragaph 3 of the U-S Constitution.

"...but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualificatiion to any Office or public Trust under the United States"

Theres the factual angle: Goode writes:

".....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,"

Never mind that Ellison is a convert to Islam to was born and raised in Detroit.

There are the common sense angles:

Things like: why in the hell would we want to swear someone into office on a text on to which they dont assign any theological significance?


'Ours is a nation of laws'(Goode, Tancredo and the rest of the anti immigration crowd love to repeat that one at their convenience), not a nation of religious dogma.

But really the very worst of it is that Goode feeds the ignorant mindset that all Islam is anti thetical to being American. That our "American culture" is under seige from muslim immigrants, and in this case Muslims in general. And that religious freedom is somehow detrimental to freedom itself, and not an integral part thereof.

People like Goode sadly are lacking in many aspects of knowledge. Political savvy and pandering aside. Goode shows a poor fundamental understanding of American history, World history, US Constitutional Law, and the philosophical concepts of freedom and liberty.

Its the misunderstanding of history that leads Goode to offer the same criticism of a Muslim in Congress, that his Congressional ancestors offered of Catholics elected in the first half of the 20th century, and its his misunderstanding of our constitution that leads him to think that swearing in on a bible is some binding legal concept. and its his fundamental misunderstanding of concepts of liberty and freedom that lead him to lament the inevitable change in our society that new immigrants and increased religious diversity will bring.

Free societies change... because freedom itself is a catalyst for change, and the only way halt changes is to undermine freedom. Civil Libertarians need to ask ourselves if we really believe in freedom, and can we accept the social evolution that goes with it.

If not, we need to stop philosophizing about our "libertarianism" and our love of freedom.


At 9:59 AM, Blogger Mitch said...


I think you touch on part of the issue that the card was trying to address indirectly. We are so afraid of "offending" anybody, that we walk on eggshells and try to mask who we are in order to be sensitive to other people's feelings. I think it would be much better if anybody could say whatever they wanted and nobody got their noses out of joint. Ideally, no body should be ticked by "Merry Christmas" nor should they be when a Muslim gets sworn into office on a Koran.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger sophia said...



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