A congressman said Thursday that he will not retract a letter warning that unless immigration is tightened, "many more Muslims will be elected" and use the Quran to take the oath of office.Well, no, you don't have to. Just like he shouldn't have to swear on the New Testament, even though most Muslims and Islam itself tend to treat Christianity with a hell of a lot more respect than you're demonstrating.
Republican Rep. Virgil Goode triggered angry responses from a civil rights group and some colleagues with a letter this month to constituents concerned about a decision by Rep.-elect Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, to use the Quran when he is sworn in.
"I will not be putting my hand on the Quran," Goode said at a news conference Thursday at the Franklin County Courthouse.
It reinforces the idea that the true conflict in the world right now, if such a thing exists, is between secular, moderate tolerance and intolerant theocrats. No "Islam" or "Judaism" or "Buddhism" or "Shinto" or whatever; theocracy knows no single faith. The problem isn't just theocrats themselves, though; I doubt this guy is even that faithful. It's those who exploit it to their own political ends that are the most dangerous, because they'll overcompensate and be more extreme than the true believers ever would.
Nothing new in that, of course, but it's worth remembering.