As Greg Sargent notes, when Franklin Graham was disinvited from a Pentagon event for saying this –
We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.
Sarah Palin responded with this:
His comments in 2001 were aimed at those who are so radical that they would kill innocent people and subjugate women in the name of religion. Are we really so hyper-politically correct that we can’t abide a Christian minister who expresses his views on matters of faith? What a shame.
As Sargent points out, Graham’s language was clear: he believes Islam itself is a wicked and evil religion. Palin believes such a man should be an honored guest of the United States Army currently waging wars in majority-Muslim countries. Graham has since said that he and God love Muslims but they are all “enslaved” by their religion (just like Jews and gay people and such, no doubt). Palin has had a couple days since then to amend or retract her remarks and, like Graham, hasn’t backed down.
This seems like a fair time to ask the same right-wingers always demanding Muslim organizations more loudly condemn “the radicals in their midst” to do the same with Franklin Graham and Sarah Palin.
In the wake of Dennis Prager’s furious condemnation of Congressman-Elect Keith Ellison’s plan to be sworn in on his own holy text – a story Prager described this week as more important to the future of this nation than what we do next in Iraq – the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for his removal from the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. As M.J. Rosenberg notes, President Bush appointed Prager three months ago to the Council, which oversees the Holocaust Museum.
That appointment demonstrates that George W. Bush has not fully learned the lessons of the Holocaust.
That language bristles no doubt, because there’s an unfortunate tendency to see big, dramatic historical events on whose moral character there’s a broad consensus – the Civil Rights Movement, the Abolition movement, the Holocaust – as somehow beyond the bounds of politics. But these are all political events. They are seismic moments not because they transcend politics but because they both expose and transform fundamental conflicts between different social visions held by different people and advanced through the exercise of power.
The Holocaust was a genocidal murderous enactment of an ideology of racial, religious, and sexual hierarchy and bigotry. It was an act of murder writ large in the name of Aryan heterosexual non-disabled Protestants being more human, having more worth, and possessing more rights than others. There are still those in this country who hold some or all those prejudices. There are some who will say so openly.
History does not interpret itself. But it demands meaning-making by responsible citizens.
That is not and never has been a process divorced without influence from or impact on our politics.
The Holocaust Museum’s “primary mission is to advance and disseminate knowledge about this unprecedented tragedy; to preserve the memory of those who suffered; and to encourage its visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust as well as their own responsibilities as citizens of a democracy.”
No one espousing the view that the “acceptance” of Judaism “as equal” to other religions “signifies the decline of Western civilization” would have a shot at a spot overseeing the Holocaust Museum. But someone who believes such about homosexuals was appointed to the Board three months ago by the President. That’s because the full humanity of Jews is considered a settled question in mainstream American political discourse, and therefore inappropriate to “politicize,” while the full humanity of gays is up for debate, and therefore it’s inappropriate to judge those bravely taking the “politically incorrect” stance.
Count me less than totally reassured by George Allen’s latest response to charges he referred to Blacks as “niggers”:
I don’t recall every word I’ve said,” Allen told conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity. “But this portrayal that it was part of my everyday vocabulary is false.”
Did he just save the word for special occasions?
What Allen seems to be maintaining here is that there were at least some situations in which – however much of an effort it may have been – he wouldn’t use the word. Maybe even most. Which probably conflicts with accounts that he threw it around at public events in earshot of strangers. But doesn’t conflict with the developing sense that not so long ago he saw the word as something other than abominable.