A Letter in Support of Keith Ellison

Posted: Dec 04, 2006 12:00 AM
A Letter in Support of Keith Ellison

Author’s Note: Mike Adams intends to smoke a cigar with his favorite columnist Dennis Prager (on Thursday, December 7th in Malibu, California) after his 7 p.m. speech at Pepperdine University.

I am seldom embarrassed to be a Republican. But recent Republican efforts to keep newly elected Democrat Representative Keith Ellison from taking his oath of office on the Koran are indeed embarrassing. These efforts have been justified by some as a necessary part of the War on Terror and by others as a stance against multi-culturalism. I view these efforts as acts of unmitigated religious bigotry.

Those who are surprised by my stance on the Ellison controversy need only imagine what it is like to be a religious minority - in my case a member of the “religious right” – in academia. In my experience as a professor in the UNC system I have had to listen to the anti-Christian bigotry of “colleagues” who explicitly injected their venom into the hiring process. I have also been forced to endorse views offensive to my religious beliefs including specific attacks on my religious affiliation. I provide two examples for the consideration of those who oppose Ellison’s oath on the Koran.

Last fall, my department was engaged in a heated debate over whether we should co-sponsor (with other departments) a film celebrating the sex changes of four teenagers. The controversy was exacerbated by the fact that we were not asked to give any money to support the event. In other words, “sponsor” meant “agree with.” The homosexual thought police were simply trying to determine who was “with them” and who was “against them” in the current cultural war. Needless to say, I am against them.

When someone suggested that we simply vote on every request to “endorse” a given event I responded with the following argument: “Such votes will inevitably result in endorsement of the majority view. The minority view will always be rejected and collectivism will defeat individualism. While that result may comport with the socialist bent of most faculty members present, it is decidedly at odds with our stated interest in tolerance and diversity.”

Although our department had already voted to endorse the aforementioned film – one that clearly celebrates acts I oppose on religious grounds – a change of policy was put in effect for future requests. The new policy allowed my chair – an avowed Marxist and feminist – the authority to make these decisions unilaterally. The result was predictable.

The next request was for the department to “sponsor” a presentation on the ex-gay movement. The event featured a speaker who scoffed at the notion that homosexuality could be learned or un-learned. He also badly denigrated the “religious right.”

As a proud fundamentalist Baptist and self-proclaimed member of the “religious right” I was simply appalled that the event would be advertised with posters saying “Sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.” Saying that “we” sponsored that attack on fundamentalism was an act of deep religious bigotry. It was almost as bad as forcing me to take an oath (read: endorse) the Koran or the Book of Mormon – two books I consider to be both fictional and blasphemous.

Please make no mistake about where I stand on this issue. I support Ellison’s decision to take his oath on the Koran just as I would support the decision of a President Romney to take an oath on the Book of Mormon. I would even support an atheist’s decision to take a secular oath so long as it was devised in a manner sufficient to awaken his conscience to the necessity of executing his responsibilities in a truthful manner and in accordance with the laws of this great nation.

It has been said that such a stance would have adverse consequences. Indeed, some have noted that Muslim extremists would see Ellison’s oath on the Koran as a victory that would encourage them to commit acts of violence in the name of Islam. That is true. But Muslim extremists would see a prevention of Ellison’s oath on the Koran as an insult that would encourage them to commit acts of violence in the name of Islam.

In that respect Muslim extremists are like American feminists whose emotional instability justifies Jihad – whether against the “infidel” or the “fetus” – under any conceivable circumstance. Those of us who oppose their fanaticism can take some consolation in the fact that the Muslim extremists will eventually martyr themselves – just as the feminists will eventually abort themselves – out of the gene pool.

Since we can expect a negative consequence no matter what we do with Ellison’s request we should make a decision based on principle rather than pragmatism. In my view, the overriding principle is individual religious liberty, not collectivism hidden beneath the veil of mainstream conservatism.