Anti-Hispanic, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-black -- it is hard to keep track of all the recent charges of alleged bigotry.
State representatives in Arizona overwhelmingly passed an immigration law to popular acclaim -- which the Obama administration for now has successfully blocked in federal court. Arizonans simply wanted the federal government to enforce its own laws. And yet they were quickly dubbed bigots and racists -- more worried about profiling Hispanics than curtailing illegal immigration.
In California, a federal judge has just overturned Proposition 8 ensuring traditional marriage. Voters in November 2008 had amended the California constitution to recognize marriage only between a man and woman, while allowing civil unions between partners of the same sex.
Californians took that step in response to the state Supreme Court's voiding of Proposition 22, a similar referendum on traditional marriage that California voters passed in 2000. Apparently, a stubborn majority of Californians still sees traditional marriage as it has been followed in some 2,500 years of Western custom and practice. In contrast, gay groups have framed the issue as one of civil rights, often charging prejudice on the part of their opponents.
Another controversy is brewing a mere 600 feet from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, site of the 9/11 attacks, where a Muslim group wishes to build a $100 million, 13-story mosque. Opponents feel this is hardly a way to build bridges across religious divides, but instead a provocative act that tarnishes the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists.
New York state residents poll in opposition to the project. Their unease reflects legitimate questions over the nature of the foreign funding for the project, and the disturbing writings and statements of the chief proponent of the plan, Feisal Abdul Rauf. They also worry that radical Islamists will use the mosque's construction (it will probably rise before the World Trade Center complex is rebuilt) as a propaganda tool.
In response, once again the majority has been dubbed bigoted and prejudiced, this time against Muslims for asking for a more appropriate location, farther away from Ground Zero.
After lengthy investigation, Rep. Charles Rangel, former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is facing charges of unethical conduct. In response, Rangel has scoffed that a plea bargain offer was nothing more than an "English, Anglo-Saxon procedure." The inference was that ongoing prejudice, not moral lapses, caused Rangel's problems.