Ban all mosques and illegal immigrants?!

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A substantial number of people in this country have reached a level of xenophobia and hatred that, at the very least, doesn’t bode well for the future. The swell of rants and rancid emotion over the construction of an Islamic center, including a mosque, a couple of blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks has been as irrational as it is disturbing. In addition, the ongoing rise in anti-immigrant ire is reaching ridiculous proportions. And now, things have just gotten a bit worse.

Simply being against the “Ground Zero mosque” apparently isn’t enough for those who think that Islam itself is an enemy of America. Protests against mosques in other American cities are also on the rise, and now, Bryan Fischer, one of the honchos of the ultra-right American Family Association, says that U.S. policy should be "no more mosques, period." Fischer writes that every mosque in America "is a potential jihadist recruitment and training center, and determined to implement the 'Grand Jihad.'" He also says that "because of this subversive ideology, Muslims cannot claim religious freedom protections under the First Amendment.” This is scary stuff, when supposedly sane citizens don’t bother to distinguish between one of the world’s major religions and a small, violent offshoot of that religion. Fischer's thinking is no more rational than if someone were opposed to a new Baptist church being built because it would be a potential recruitment center for killers of abortion doctors. Nonetheless, Fischer’s brand of thinking is on the rise.

It’s not just Muslims, of course, that have many members of the right wing in a frenzy. Despite all evidence to the contrary, pundits and politicians talk about a mythical "spike in violent crime" by illegal immigrants, and Arizona’s reality-proof governor ludicrously claims that nearly all illegal immigrants are here to transport and/or sell drugs. Yesterday, the fine Christian folks who run the city of Summerville, S.C., near Charleston, gave initial approval to a law that would ban illegal immigrants from living within the city limits. The ban would also keep most illegal immigrants from working in Summerville. The law will be up for final approval next month. Needless to say, lawsuits related to civil rights and the federal government’s authority over immigration are expected, and could drag on for some time.

Summerville Councilman Walter Bailey, a former state prosecutor, said the ordinance came about because of the Obama administration’s challenge of the well-publicized new law in Arizona. Bailey continued, "I am frustrated the federal government is doing nothing," even though deportations of illegal immigrants are at an all-time high under the Obama administration.

Reality, though, comes in a distant second when prejudice and fear enter the race for public opinion. America has gone through periods of foreigner-hating and religious intolerance before. I hope the current mania will subside once the election season is over, but judging from many conservatives’  collective nervous breakdown since Obama was elected, it’s not looking good.

Signs of our times
  • Signs of our times

It’s not just Muslims, of course, that have many members of the right wing in a frenzy. Despite all evidence to the contrary, pundits and politicians talk about a mythical "spike in violent crime" by illegal immigrants, and Arizona’s reality-proof governor ludicrously claims that nearly all illegal immigrants are here to transport and/or sell drugs. Yesterday, the fine Christian folks who run the city of Summerville, S.C., near Charleston, gave initial approval to a law that would ban illegal immigrants from living within the city limits. The ban would also keep most illegal immigrants from working in Summerville. The law will be up for final approval next month. Needless to say, lawsuits related to civil rights and the federal government’s authority over immigration are expected, and could drag on for some time.

Summerville Councilman Walter Bailey, a former state prosecutor, said the ordinance came about because of the Obama administration’s challenge of the well-publicized new law in Arizona. Bailey continued, "I am frustrated the federal government is doing nothing," even though deportations of illegal immigrants are at an all-time high under the Obama administration.

Reality, though, comes in a distant second when prejudice and fear enter the race for public opinion. America has gone through periods of foreigner-hating and religious intolerance before. I hope the current mania will subside once the election season is over, but judging from many conservatives’  collective nervous breakdown since Obama was elected, it’s not looking good.

Signs of our times
  • Signs of our times

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