The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

What does Christmas mean to you?

What does Christmas mean to you?

Yes... it is a Christian holiday.

Yes... it is a time for gift giving.

Yes... it is a time for families and friends to get together.

Perhaps it is a time for a little extra self-imposed stress.

Perhaps it is a time for fighting the traffic and the crowds in the shopping malls.

Perhaps it is a time for a bit of over-indulgence of all things good and maybe even of things not so good.

Perhaps it is a time to think of those who are less fortunate even people who may not be Christians.

Perhaps it is a time for good will towards all men and women even those who look different, worship different religions and represent different cultures.

Perhaps it is time to think about the picture depicted here and wonder about who these people were over two thousand years ago and where they were.

Isn't it kind of funny that the Middle East is still in the news every day here in America?

Take it easy, relax, reflect and peace be with you who ever you are and where ever you are!

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Congressman Goode has “Macacca” Moment!

Oh God… Say it isn’t so!

5th District Congressman “Islamophobic”!

New Word Added to Lexicon!

Embarrassed and Offended!

Maybe I had better strike that reference to God.

Let me start again…

And please don’t get me wrong. I love Christianity. I go to church and sing the praises with the best of them. I believe in God. I consider myself God fearing if not a perfect example of what a Christian should be. Some of my best friends are Christians.

But I know there are other people in this world and they do not share my religious beliefs. This does not make them bad people. In fact.. some of them also qualify as friends.

So what is this strange story we are now hearing about a letter that was apparently issued by United States Congressman Virgil H. Goode, Jr. singling out Muslims for immigration limitations to the United States?

Frankly, I like Virgil Goode… or at least I did. He is a likable guy… laid back… mostly straight talking…

Unfortunately, Virgil may not have read too closely a letter that he signed that seems to suggest that he is a bit of a bigot or worse yet is breaking new ground in adding to our lexicon the new word “Islamophobic”.

While Virgil is not, technically speaking, my official Representative in Congress, he does represent my fair Commonwealth of Virginia. And I am a tad bit offended that Virgil has degraded the reputation of our fair Commonwealth as being a place of religious intolerance.

If I may, I will remind readers of that little "technicality" that I like to refer to as the First Amendment of the Constitution… you know… the one that says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Of course there is no law in question here… just the words of a United States Congressman. And too, it is important to note that he is not trying to mess with the Constitution at all. All he wants to do is to keep certain types of people out so that they don't partake in the democratic process and elect more Muslims to office to mess with the "American Way".

I certainly love the American way of life but was some how of the impression that that life did not have any qualifications of religious affiliation. Actually, I am sure of it and am a bit troubled by the Congressman's letter, the complete text of which reads as follows:

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-4605

December 7, 2006

Dear Xxxxxxx:

Thank you for your recent communication. 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 Koran 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 Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

The Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, “As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.” Thank you again for your email and thoughts.

Sincerely yours,
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 East Court Street
Suite 215
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151

Amazing. I am dumb struck. Offended? Yes... you may surmise correctly.

I am particularly offended at certain language in Congressman Goode’s letter.

Let me be very specific. The letter reads in part: “…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 Koran.”

So… what exactly is the “Virgil Goode position” ? Certainly… an excellent question!

Well, it seems that the Congressman is opposed to illegal immigration… which sounds pretty reasonable. In fact, I am not aware of any other Member of Congress who is presently endorsing illegal immigration.

But what about the next sentence in his letter about ending “the diversity visas policy… allowing many persons from the Middle East to come into this country.”

What?!!! We are now to select people for admission to the United States by their religious affiliations?!!!

Yes... I know... there is a First Amendment to the Constitution and most of us remember what it says.

Ok… take a deep breath…

I remember 9/11. I remember it well. It was a horrible day. Yes there were Muslims involved. I get it! Ok?!

But… and this is a big “but”, it troubles me when a United States Congressman gets all xenophobic about Muslims… or for that matter… any particular group of people.

While there are some Muslims who are politically hostile towards America, there are many more who are just ordinary people who want to live in peace just like... say Presbyterians and Baptists.

Has Congressman Goode ever bothered to study history? Does he remember what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II.

Actually, I do not remember anything in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the subsequent amendments prohibiting Shintoism or Buddhism. But during World War II our government locked Japanese-Americans up just because they looked like the enemy.

I guess it made sense to our wise leaders at that time.

So now, I am wondering if anyone remembers any special exclusionary language in the Constitution concerning Muslims!

I don't think so.

I do remember that we as Americans had some “late unpleasantness concerning how we dealt with black people, sometimes known as African-Americans, negros, etc.

For that matter I also seem to remember some awkward moments in American history involving Jews, Catholics, Italians, Koreans and even the beloved Irish.

Is the good Congressman now going to introduce new legislation prohibiting Muslims and all Arabic speaking people from serving in the United States armed forces, the United States government, and the CIA?

Where does this strange attidude end?

Mmmm… Do we ever learn?

Bigotry… does that ring a bell?

Virgil… please tell us it isn’t so!

Has Congressman Goode had a “Maccaca” moment?

When are the next elections?

NOTE: We here at the Iconoclast apologize for our laziness since election day. Frankly, we were so dazed at the tectonic shift in American politics that we mistakenly thought that our work was done. Silly us!!! Gradually we are coming out of our slumber. Thanks is due to Congressman Virgil Goode who has reminded us that much work remains to be done!!!