Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bigots And Cowards - Hypocrisy In Action

In spite of the religious freedom protections within the highly-venerated-by-many-when-convenient United States Constitution we now have no shortage of politicians chiming in that an Islamic cultural center/mosque should not be constructed two blocks away from what is referred to as "hallowed ground" in New York City.

Why? Some claim it would be disrespectful. That it would be an affront. That it would dishonor the people who died in the attack. But when asked how it would be disrespectful, an affront, or dishonorable, you get no answer. That's because the real reason is that radical Muslims flew the planes into the towers and bigots think all Muslims share the blame. It does not matter that Muslims were among the victims who were also members of other faiths--or not members of any faith. The fact that all but one of the 9/11 attackers was from Saudi Arabia is not an issue. Nobody calls for an embargo or cutting diplomatic ties or doing anything to Saudi Arabia. But since the attackers were all Muslims...well...that's a different story.

Here's an example of just how gutless and politically expedient many of our senators and representatives are. Earlier this month the Senate by unanimous consent passed Senate Resolution 322 entitled A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on religious minorities in Iraq. Back in February the House overwhelmingly passed House Resolution 944 entitled Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the protection of members of vulnerable religious and ethnic minority communities in Iraq. For both resolutions there was a total of only three "no" votes and those were in the House.

These resolutions are similar in nature so I'm primarily providing excerpts from the House version.

Whereas threats against members of even the smallest religious and ethnic minority communities in Iraq could jeopardize the future of Iraq as a diverse, pluralistic, and free society;

Whereas in recent years, there have been alarming numbers of religiously motivated killings, abductions, beatings, rapes, threats, intimidation, forced conversions, marriages, and displacement from homes and businesses, and attacks on religious leaders, pilgrims, and holy sites, in Iraq, with the smallest, non-Muslim religious minorities in Iraq having been among the most vulnerable, although Iraqis from many religious communities, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, have suffered in this violence;

Whereas approximately 1,400,000 Christians were estimated to have lived in Iraq as of 2003, including Chaldean Catholics, Assyrian Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Syriac Catholics, Syriac Orthodox, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), Protestants, Evangelicals, and others;

Whereas it is widely reported that only 500,000 to 700,000 indigenous Christians remained in Iraq as of 2009;

Whereas the Yazidi community in Iraq reportedly now numbers about 500,000, a decrease from about 700,000 in 2005;

Whereas the Baha’i faith, estimated to have only 2,000 adherents in Iraq, remains prohibited in Iraq under a 1970 law;

Whereas the ancient and once-large Jewish community in Iraq now numbers fewer than 10, and they essentially live in hiding;

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--

(1) the United States remains deeply concerned about the plight of members of the vulnerable religious and ethnic minority communities of Iraq;

The bolding in the excerpts is mine for the purpose of asking if any of that sounds familiar.

There is one part of the Senate version I want to highlight.

Whereas during the 35-year rule of the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein, and despite the Provisional Constitution of 1968 that provided for individual religious freedom in Iraq, the Government of Iraq severely limited freedom of religion, especially for religious minorities, and sought to exploit religious differences for political purposes

Imagine that. Exploiting religious differences for political purposes. Oh, kettle, you are sooooo frickin' black.

So when it comes to religious minorities in Iraq our political leaders are alarmed, deeply concerned and expressing their "sense". But for one religious minority here at home which would like to enjoy--and is entitled to--the protections our country offers, many of our senators and representatives cowardly turn their backs because they are more concerned with their political future than they are with the future of America as a diverse, pluralistic, and free society.

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