Many politicians and many Americans are prejudiced against Muslims. Representative Goode of Virginia is just more blatant and public about his disdain for people of that faith. In a letter to constituents, Representative Goode wrote that unless immigration policy were changed more Muslims would come to America, and more Muslims would be elected to public office (article from CNN here). Such an outcome would be, in his mind, highly undesirable. And despite the disrespectful and blatantly prejudiced tone of his letter, he has refused to apologize. (Would such a letter about Jews, Catholics or any other group be tolerated? Of course not.)
Not only is Representative Goode prejudiced, he is also stupid. In the letter Goode wrote,
"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 Quran 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 Quran."
The thing is this: the Bible is not used in swearing in members of the House of Representatives. There is an oath of office that is taken en masse simultaneously by every member of the House, and this oath does not include any reference to the Bible. None. If you see a picture of your local representative being individually "sworn in" (a picture complete with a hand on Bible and the other hand raised, and the representative is surrounded by loving wife and children), please know that you are looking at a staged photo. Representatives often request photo-op swearing-in ceremonies which make great fodder for the local news cameras and contribute to the politician’s image as an honorable, God-fearing servant. But such ceremonies are a bunch of political hooey. (For more on the swearing-in tradition in the House of Representatives, listen to this story from National Public Radio.)
Representative Goode is a fear-mongering, despicable man. His hubris is exceeded only by his ignorance. He is an embarrassment to our country, to Christians, and to the otherwise honorable men and women who serve in Congress. I hope and pray that he repents of this disgraceful sin . . . and that he gets his ass voted out of office in the next election (is it 2008 yet?).