human behavior

You say Hanson, I say Goode

Posted in American Culture & Politics by humanb on December 21, 2006

Why does everything seem to come out of Virginia? US Congressman Virgil Goode (R-VA) penned a letter to a select group of supporters that was mistakenly sent to the chair of the local Sierra Club. The letter was inspired by Keith Ellison’s decision to be sworn in on the Koran as the new Democratic Representative from Minnesota. Ellison is a black American convert to Islam. A copy of Goode’s letter was obtained by Talking Points Memo Muckracker:

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. (PDF)

Such xenophobia – and in a US Congressman – is beyond disgraceful. Fortunately, the most effective response to this kind of irrational bigotry is continued immigration and integration – events about which Goode can do very little in fact. Now we just have to get larger voting blocks of courageous Muslim Americans and immigrants to join my own family in moving to eastern Virginia…


3 Responses

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  1. Mark Richardson said, on December 21, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    I have to disagree with you. Why shouldn’t Americans be allowed to determine the character of their own country? If you love your own tradition then it’s only natural that you would seek to preserve it. To do so through immigration control, as Virgil Goode suggests, is not unreasonable or “beyond the pale” as you seem to suggest.

  2. humanb said, on December 21, 2006 at 7:07 pm


    I see your point. Of course Americans should be allowed to determine the character of their own country – we do currently, we have in the past and we will continue to do so. But our tradition is largely (and has evolved into) one of religious freedom, ethnic diversity, and a relatively generous immigration policy that is increasingly more welcoming to peoples from every part of the world. The Virgil Goode tradition and position on immigration might be the tradition of the 5th district of Virginia, but it has not been the tradition of most (voting) Americans, or it would prevail today.

    The citizens of every country should be allowed to determine the character of their countries however they might define that character, and no country is obliged to accept anyone who comes knocking. Immigration policies are and should be discriminating, but the grounds for that discrimination should be in keeping with the values, laws and traditions of that country. The freedom to practice any or no religion has always been sacred in America. It would be hypocritical and inconsistent to discriminate on the basis of it now.

  3. Leinad said, on December 21, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    Not to mention unconstitutional…

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