Monday, October 15, 2007

[wvns] 42 Congressmen Protest Ramadan

42 Members of Congress Protest Recognition of Ramadan
October 5, 2007

The House passed a resolution this week recognizing the commencement
of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, denouncing extremists of that
faith, and praising moderates. No members of Congress voted against
the symbolic measure, but—in a move reminiscent of protests when a
Hindu chaplain gave an opening prayer in the Senate—41 Republicans and
one Democrat declined to approve of the resolution, instead voting
"present" in an act of protest.

"To offer respect for a major religion is one thing, but to offer
respect for a major religion that has been behind the Islamic jihad,
the radical jihad, that has sworn war upon the United States, its free
allies and freedom in Iraq, is another thing," explained freshman
Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg, who won his seat last year by defeating an
incumbent of his own party in a right-wing primary challenge. Colorado
Rep. Doug Lamborn—who similarly captured the support of the far Right
in a bitter primary, earning the repudiation of the retiring
Republican who had held his seat—said, "I couldn't bring myself to
vote 'yes' on that resolution," adding that he "hope[s] that we have
more and more moderate Muslims speaking out about the cause of peace
in the future."

Another argument made by opponents of the resolution is the claim that
it represents an unfair treatment of Christianity. Rep. Tom
Tancredo—who has suggested the U.S. threaten to bomb Mecca as a means
"to deter them from attacking us"—claimed that the Ramadan resolution
was "an example of the degree to which political correctness has
captured the political and media elite … I am not opposed to
commending any religion for their faith. The problem is that any
attempt to do so for Jews or Christians is immediately condemned as
'breaching' the non-existent line between Church and State by the same

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) likewise said he was "troubled":

"There were a number of members who, as we call it down here, 'stayed
off' that vote and did not support it because I think that they looked
at it as something that Congress really should not be doing, should
not be picking one faith out and commending that faith."

Garrett says during his five years in Congress he does not remember
the House ever approving a resolution commending Christians for
celebrating Christmas or Easter.

Garrett may not have noticed that, among other acts, the federal
government marks Christmas as an official holiday every year, a
recognition significantly more substantial than a symbolic House
resolution imparting "respect." Similarly, Garrett might not remember
voting less than two years ago for a resolution in favor of Christmas.
One can almost understand Garrett's difficulty in making the
connection, because while the Ramadan resolution is designed to
encourage moderate Muslims while condemning violent ones, the purpose
of that Christmas resolution was to escalate a trumped-up "war on
Christmas" charade then making the rounds on the Right.



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