The text of the letter:
This letter was sent to hundreds of constituents by the office of Republican Rep. Virgil Goode Jr. of Virginia:
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.
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 E. Court St., Suite 215
Rocky Mount, Va. 24151
I will start at the beginning of the letter where he states that he does not subcribe to using the Koran in any way... one of the two sentences in his letter I agree with.
Keith Ellison was elected in the United States of America, which brings others in from different countries and welcomes them with open arms and has no desire nor inclination to tell anyone what religion they should be practicing.
Keith Ellison did bring this upon himself though, because instead of upholding AMERICAN traditions, Re: the swearing in ceremony, he took it upon himself to deliberately cause a fuss about one of the things that are traditionally done in said ceremony.
The second part I agree with is only a "portion" of another sentence.
We need to stop illegal immigration totally
Illegal immigration does need to stop, we must protect our borders and insist that immigrants follow the legal procedures when entering our country and to stay here.
NOW, for what I severely disagree with in Goode's letter:
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 do not care whether it is a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent, when you are wrong, you are wrong. You cannot say, these are the countries we will accept people from and those are the countries we will not accept people from. That IS wrong.
There is good and bad in people, there are good people in every country and bad people in every country...we cannot mandate that everybody from a "certain" area is dangerous.
Persecuted for their religious beliefs, a long line of men and women have taken refuge in America ever since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Barred from their homelands as enemies of the state, dissidents have come to America so that their voices will not be silenced. Looking for a better life for themselves and their families, most immigrants have seen America as a promised land. Searching for safety, four million refugees have come to America since World War II. Drawn to the possibilities of a free society, creative spirits have come to America from all over the world and have flourished in its creative openness.
Have we forgotten what makes us a great country?
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Emma Lazarus, inscribed on our Statue of Liberty.
I disagree with Virgil Goode on quite a bit, but this line in his letter "to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America" IS what Keith Ellison is not doing.
We have traditions, we have little things, such as swearing on a bible in court, using the bible for swearing in ceremonies and Keith Ellison is not doing everything in his power to "preserve" those traditions, he is trying to make changes based on his "personal" beliefs.
Practice your religion, be who you are, but remember that it is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA that you were chosen to represent, whether you agree with every tradition or not, you were elected to preserve them.
In answer to TPM Muckraker's post asking "who will break the GOP's silence on Goode's comments", I do not know, but here is ONE conservative that thinks Goode was out of line in much of his letter.
[UPDATE] Because some seem to think "tradition" is determined by our bill of rights or our constitution, here is the meaning of the word tradition.
1. the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice:
2.something that is handed down:
3.a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting.
4.a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
For Tom.... no one said it was a law, or something in the constitution or the bill of rights...try reading it AGAIN....I said "tradition" and from the definitions listed above, it DOES qualify as a tradition.
Tracked back by:
The IRA vs. Hezbollah/Hamas from Rightwing Guy...