Howard Dean Defends Bigots, Update

In Current Events, Human Rights and the Constitution on August 23, 2010 at 00:42

As a super agnostic, I don’t care about the god debate. It gets in the way of real issues. As a religious libertarian, I say let people build a house of worship wherever they legally can. Christians certainly have built churches all over the world, and on sacred sites. And it’s debatable that this site or any other is sacred beyond being labeled so my humans. It’s also a property issue, for all you libertarians against the community center.

Many people have told me that we need to listen to those with reasonable objections to the Muslim community center. Well, I have yet to hear a reasonable objection to the center’s construction. So far it’s just stereotyping about Islam, fear, bigotry, ignorance and hatred. That is not what I can reasonable.

And being emotional about 9/11 is also NOT a reasonable objection. It’s an emotion, not evidence of harm that the center would cause. It’s evidence of the grief the 9/11 terrorists caused, not Muslims in New York, many who share your grief.

Eugene Robinson on the Community Center

Mayor Bloomberg Supports Center’s Construction

Fear All Muslims!

Tex Shelters

  1. Well done, Tex.

    When I heard Dean’s first remarks, I was sickened. Hearing him continue to nurture Hate makes me livid.

    Fallout of Hate is Spreading Across America

    More than once, People of Heart have stood up and driven back the disease of Hate in this land. Where are the People of Heart now?

    Violent hate crimes against those who are one or more of the following are on the rise: Muslims, immigrants, lesbians, gay men, transgendered folks, people of color, the homeless, the unemployed, the disabled, the developmentally-delayed… anyone that hate-addled people perceive as “Other”…

    To passersby here:

    If you are not taking a stand against Hate–in your own heart and mind, in your daily life, in the political realm–YOU are feeding it. Yes, you. People of Heart must take a stand.

    Whether you’ve got a Heart or just run on straight-up self-interest, you need to take a stand. Why? Well to paraphrase the old rabbi, if you don’t, who will be left when they come for you?

    • I’ve been wracking my brain over the last couple of days asking myself what any of us can do to fight back against this giant wall of hate that is growing in America.

      I keep thinking back about how easy it was for me to pass judgment on the citizens of Germany when I studied WWII in school. How I felt so smug in the fact that anyone could fight back against hate culture within a mislead populace.

      Now I can only sit and wonder, “How in the hell does one fight for common decency when almost one fifth of the populace has become brainwashed lunatics?” It’s not as easy as I had thought it would be years ago.

      • It has never been easy to take a stand when people allow themselves to become cells in a monstrous mob. Ask any teenager who has ended up in a pack, resisted a pack, been a target of a pack… of humans.

        It’s even harder when the media has become an instigator of hate. Or the government (see the link I posted in a comment below).

        Many have thought we had our Constitution and Bill of Rights to keep us from going down that road (again), but apparently (yet once again) those are optional for haters. Many thought we had anti-trust laws to keep our media from becoming the tool of the rich, but laws only work where there is will to enforce them.

        It has never been easy. It has also never been harder than to refuse to stand by in silence, regardless of the cost. Whether in the still-endless struggles here for Native rights, Civil rights, Women’s rights, Labor rights, Abolition, anti-McCarthyism, religious freedom, etc., etc., etc. or for those who watched the flames rise in Germany, I’ve always thought it comes down to a series of daily decisions made by each individual:

        Do I stand in silence or do I stand and raise my voice? If not here, now, then when? Do I want to live “safely” and never sleep again, never be able to look in the mirror, never be able to face my children…? Do I wait to take a stand when they come for me or someone I love?

        • Those are excellent questions MooseHammer and Little Sun.

          For a while, I was feeling very hopeful that more and more of my students were speaking out against the wars without any prompting on my end. However, yesterday a student of mine called Obama a Muslim, and I had to say, “So if I call you a Muslim, does that make it true”. He’s watching the Fox lie machine. I didn’t even get into the “so what if he’s a Muslim” reality. I had to step back and teach class. But I am tired of this lying and hate too.

          Keep educating and spreading common sense and perhaps a little fear mongering on the part of non-bigots regarding the hate in America against so many people, in this case Muslim, is a good idea.


          Tex Shelters

  2. Exactly Little Sun.

    Hate crimes are on the rise and this bigotry in New York only fuels the bigotry toward the other.

    I feel compelled to once more give Mayor Bloomberg my heart felt support and admiration in this instance. He has shown his heart. Mr. Dean has shown his ignorance of the reality of the situation.

    Tex Shelters

    • Did you catch this?

      Our tax dollars at work: U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom–the folks we pay to criticize other countries for religious discrimination–have been practicing discrimination and are fomenting Hate and Fear. And, oh yeah, guess who picks their commissioners? The President and Congress.

      “Ground Zero Mosque” Foes Bankrolled By Feds

      • LS,

        No, I missed this.

        “A leader of this group—which receives $4.3 million a year from the government—has even proclaimed that the community center could be a front for Islamic terrorism.

        That’s not all: the same agency, the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCRIF), has been the subject of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint for allegedly discriminating against Muslim employees.”

        Well, every church could have a terrorist in it. Why target Muslims? Stereotyping and bigotry in the US. Yes, shocking. Again, we know what’s best in the world, and we don’t have to live up to our own standards. We have a separate set of rule.


        Tex Shelters

  3. Well Tex, being an agnostic Libertarian/Republican I’m indifferent about the Islamic center; after all they aren’t building it next to my property are they. (Personally I’m against it but they do have a right to build it) That said, A lot more Dems who hold actual power unlike Dean who doesn’t hold any are against it. I’m a bit surprised you aren’t holding their feet to the fire on this. If they build it, I can’t wait for Burka day at the pool. Personally I think if they truly were trying to build bridges like claim to be they would have included a Jewish Temple and a Catholic Church under the same roof. You do know there was a Greek Orthodox Church that was destroyed during the 9-11 attacks and they have been unable to rebuild as of yet. It might be nice if more people paid a little more attention to that.

    • Jake,

      Howard Dean was one of the most vocal people in favor of a “dialogue” and a supposed progressive, and I would expect more of a nuanced position from him. Plus, we have a video tape of him. Some Democrats are more conservative and question the mosque. I don’t see that as news. I had to make a choice, and I did. I don’t condemn their ignorance either.

      Why does the Burka scare you? If a woman chooses to wear a Burka, who cares. If you think they don’t have a choice in their culture, what about woman here that feel they HAVE to wear makeup, high heels and a skirt to work? Finding out why some Islamic choose to wear a Burka would be helpful, would it not?

      Would you ask a JCC’s across America to have a mosque in them? That is insulting to say a center without a mosque (with a floor or two for prayer) should have a Temple and a Church and a Darma space.

      So the Greeks can’t rebuild yet. Why is that? It’s not the Imam’s fault, and no one is stopping the building of a Greek Orthodox Church, are they?

      While I don’t care for the center one way or another (except the right of every religion to build their if they can), I care that there are people in America that would do violence to Muslim’s in the name of “freedom” or “America” and miss the whole point of Freedom or Religion.

      Thanks for the debate.

      Tex Shelters

      • Tex, why is it when someone disagrees with a Progressive about Islam they are assumed to be phobic? The Burka does not scare me; it amuses me much the same way a Nun’s Habit does. I find both repressive to women and I was raised Catholic.

        • Jake,

          Let’s see, someone paints a whole religion with one brush, stating that Islam is only about violence. Why would someone disagree with that?

          I was joking about you being Burkaphobic, I just get tired of that being used as an example of what’s wrong with Islam even when women choose to wear. And what about all the other relgion clothing Jews, Menonites, Amish and others wear? Why the Burka as a focus when people complain about Islam?

          It is amusing.

          Tex Shelters

          • Tex the Burka is the poster child of Islam’s treatment of women. The Religion as a whole treats their women as property. Women have to pray behind the men or separated from men. Now I am talking about mainstream Islam not to be confused with American Blacks who follow the Nation of Islam’s brand of Islam which isn’t as bad toward their women as Mainstream Islam is. You know I always thought Progressives championed women’s rights. I guess I was wrong. Down is up and up is now down.

            • Jake,

              Progressives can differentiate between the issue of women’s rights and the community center in NYC without supporting the poor treatment of women in some Islamic dominated nations.

              Muslim women have near equal rights in some nations and very poor treatment in other nations. One would hope that aculturation in the US will bring women of the Muslim faith more rights here in the United States.

              Again, this is a different issue than whether there should be a Muslim community center or not.

              Otherwise, we would have to get rid of all the Orthodox Jewish temples, and some Catholic churchs and Buddhist temples, etc because they don’t treat women equally. While we are at it, get rid of the strip club down the street from “ground zero” and all the Hooters in NYC and the all men’s clubs, and…

              You get the point.

              So, to me, rights and the center or two different issues. While I disagree with the way women are treated in MOST religions, I can still support Freedom of Religion.

              Tex Shelters

              • Come now, Tex. You know very well that, no matter what religions might say about their women, there is no comparison with Islam in the way women are actually treated in practice, including being brainwashed to accept such treatment. What other religion punishes being raped with the death penalty?
                Islam in general has zero interest in “acculturation”. This is a huge part of the problem. Islam does not wish to go to other countries and become members of that culture. Islam wishes to change all cultures to Islamic culture. That is why there are so many efforts to get Sharia law established as THE law in many places in Europe.

                • T,

                  I wasn’t comparing only to say that other churches have their problems and maybe they shouldn’t throw the first stones.

                  We have laws, and that would make the fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia mute. Not all “Sharia” interpretations allow for “honor” killings and rape and so forth. In fact, many scholars would say that is a bastardization of Islam. There is no evidence Europe will be under sharia law. It’s just more fear mongering. If someone breaks the law, they face the consequences, period.

                  Who is trying to establish sharia law in Europe, and are you talking about the law that discusses tolerance, or the interpretaion with the violent aspects of Sharia?

                  They are outsiders and will be shunned.

                  Again, it’s fearmongering that shouldn’t be used to take away religious rights.

                  Tex shelters

                  • Laws can be changed. And they will be if supporters of freedom and one law for all do not stand in support of freedom. “They” are NOT outsiders and will not be shunned. The are mainstream Islam. They are not even shunned by many westerners. http://richarddawkins.net/articles/486470-what-isn-t-wrong-with-sharia-law. It is beginning to be a problem in the UK, among other places.

                    • T,

                      Laws against murder and domestic abuse won’t be changed. And yes, laws can change. These won’t though.

                      What’s the problem with Muslims? Different religious practices? I don’t care as long as people obey our laws.

                      I agree that there should be NO Sharia court except for internal church matters such as when one should bow to Mecca. Otherwise, it’s bullshit and we won’t allow it here.

                      However, I still believe in the rights of Muslims to have a community center where they want and I see this as two different issues, both addressing the Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion does not mean freedom to break the law.

                      I also disagree with most Rabinical courts as well except to settle marriages and other church issues. One can always leave the church (Temple) to get a civil divorce.

                      “Decisions concerning marriages not recognised under English law, polygamy, and disputes regarding children are being made by at least 85 sharia courts, according to the report by the thinktank Civitas.”

                      Yes, these decisions are NOT the law, and if someone wants to live here, Muslim, Mormon, Scientologist, Protestant, they cannot use their relgion to break civil laws.

                      However, we can not use our religion, or faith, or lack of faith to keep rights to practice and worship and build community centers away from any religious group practicing the law.

                      If people don’t want to follow the civilian laws, they can go elsewhere.

                      The people who planned the Muslim community center got all the permits, went to the zoning board, followed all the laws. What kind of society says “you must follow the laws of this nations to be here” and then takes away someone’s rights even when they DO follow the law?

                      Tex Shelters

              • Tex, my examples were of typical mainstream Islam’s treatment of women in the US. I did not bring up the honor killings of the most extreme nor did I bring up the other extremists cheering the bringing down of the towers. I brought up the segregation that goes on in non-Nation of Islam Mosques. I wonder what Rosa Parks would have done if she was asked to pray at the back of the church. You stick to your guns Tex, I stay on the side of segregation you continue to be a cheerleader for it in the name of religious tolerance. I started on my path to Agnosticism because of the way the Catholic Church treated my Grandfather when I was told he would not get to be in Heaven because he was a Presbyterian when I was 8, I also saw the church turn its back on my mom after a divorce. Like I said Tex Stick to your guns, I’ll be on the side against all segregation. Segregation has no place anywhere in America in the year 2010. I’m sure the suffragettes and patriots such as Rosa Parks are very proud of your stance.

              • Tex, my examples were of typical mainstream Islam’s treatment of women in the US. I did not bring up the honor killings of the most extreme nor did I bring up the other extremists cheering the bringing down of the towers. I brought up the segregation that goes on in non-Nation of Islam Mosques. I wonder what Rosa Parks would have done if she was asked to pray at the back of the church. You stick to your guns Tex, I stay on the side of segregation you continue to be a cheerleader for it in the name of religious tolerance. I started on my path to Agnosticism because of the way the Catholic Church treated my Grandfather when I was told he would not get to be in Heaven because he was a Presbyterian when I was 8, I also saw the church turn its back on my mom after a divorce. Like I said Tex Stick to your guns, I’ll be on the side against all segregation. Segregation has no place anywhere in America in the year 2010. I’m sure the suffragettes and patriots such as Rosa Parks are very proud of your stance.

                • This heathen mix-blood lesbian isn’t particularly fond of the actions and beliefs of many of the followers of ANY of the major patriarchal religions (vast understatement). All of these religions, even Buddhism, have long, long histories of being used by their followers to justify all sorts of mayhem and oppression. If you think Islam is the worst in this regard, you simply haven’t been paying attention. It’s like arguing if Dahmer was worse than Bundy.

                  Nonetheless, this heathen will fight for others’ rights to practice their religions while simultaneously fighting, each and every single day, the mindsets of those who use their religions as excuses to oppress and harm me and those I love, on a myriad of pretexts.

                  Why? Why would I fight for the rights of those who have murdered, tortured, enslaved, oppressed my relatives and loved ones–not just historically but also in my life time and who continue to do so now? (Including the followers of that poor peace-loving economic justice radical fella from Nazareth who have inflicted/ Continue to inflict the most direct heinous carnage, torture, and oppression upon my ancestors, my loved ones, and me?)

                  Because I value my own rights under the Constitution and Bill of Rights, even though my country only belatedly recognized my full rights as a citizen, on several counts, and EVEN NOW still doesn’t afford me all of them (thanks largely to people who use their religious beliefs as pretexts for denying them to me).

                  I can’t answer for Rosa, for all I know she might have been a bigot toward faiths not her own. But what I can say is this: Most I know who have had to seriously fight for their own basic civils rights (who have any sense anyway) are generally not so quick to want to strip others of theirs. Why?

                  A threat to the fundamental civil rights of One is indeed a threat to the rights of All.

                  • Little Sun,

                    I don’t think I rank up with you heathens, but I am a heathen acomplice.

                    Well said on the right’s front. I defend other’s right to religious expression. That doesn’t mean I don’t protest, write, kvetch, complain and agitate for better rights for women or anyone else who is being discriminated against through the auspecies of religion.

                    That’s why I could never join an organized church.


                    Tex Shelters

                • Jake,

                  I have said nothing about segregation and this isn’t an issue of segregation. Yes, I stand up for rights. Thanks for recognizing that. Now, to the issue of rights. This has NOTHING to do with the issue of segregation. That is just a red herring.

                  And Rosa Parks would have stood up for the rights of others to pray as they want, and even take cooking classes and play basketball and swim as they plan to do at the community center.

                  Now, how is having a Muslim center that is open to everyone “segregation”? And if I don’t want to hang out with Dutch people, how is segregation if I choose not to?

                  Tex Shelters

  4. Keep up the good work. My hubby was one of the poor misguided souls screaming how wrong it was to build there until I asked him to be a bit more informed and one of the ways was point him to you and your posts. Thank you for what you do.

    • Samantha,

      Wow, thanks. If this center had been built without the squawking of the far right, no one would have noticed. It’s manufactured controversy. I dislike ALL fundamentalists, but I don’t see that as an issue here.


      Tex Shelters

  5. I’m sorry Tex, but I haven’t heard Dean saying anything at all in support of bigots and racists. I watched his interview with Keith Olbermann. Seemed perfectly reasonable to me. Of course there is nothing legally or Constitutionally wrong with putting a mosque there. That is NOT the whole point. If the intent were to “build bridges” of community and tolerance wth non-Muslim people, why not build a community center with all the good stuff in it, and leave out everything that is made specifically for religion? To show care and concern for the feelings of those upset by it, why not take the Governor’s assistance and move it further away from Ground Zero?
    I do not fear or hate any Muslims, though I do loathe Islam with a passion…maybe it’s something about the beating to death of women with the audacity to get themselves raped, or the beating to death of men, women and children for other matters, or the public hanging of gay people. Sure, parts of the Bible commands the same, but Christians very seldom would actually DO any of that crap. Go to a Muslim country and declare yourself an atheist (or even agnostic) and say Mohammud was a nutjob child molester and see what happens.

    • Temy,

      I think he is misguided when he calls some of these people “reasonable” and supports their agenda of moving the community center when it is clearly about the stereotypes surrounding Islam and NOT the actual plans. He is an accomplice in the bigotry by accepting it and condoning it. While there are many nations that are controlled by fundamentalist Islam, that doesn’t mean we should take rights away from law abiding Muslims here. People say, “move the mosque” like it’s easy. An empty building was found, one that needs retrofitting, and this group is willing to spend money and fix it up. They have the permits and permissions. Who’s to say that the next spot won’t get the same type of resistance. You have to make a stand against bigotry somewhere.

      I don’t think we should mix up the fundamentalists with those of good faith. Also, the “prayer center” is a small part of the center. No actual “mosque” is panned.

      Thanks for the debate. It’s great!

      Tex Shelters

      • Sure it’s easy to move the mosque with the assisstance of the Governer. I hear the top two floors are intended as a Muslim prayer space”. If this is true, then it is a mosque regardless of what else may be in it. No one I know is arguing that they don’t have a legal and Constitutional right to build it there. Dean said folks who argue that should have no voice in this issue, and I agree. It’s just hella ironic that a place supposedly about “tolerance” shows little tolerance for the feelings of those who oppose it. And I think many who oppose it, do so with very good reasons (albeit not legal ones). I think the Muslims of “good faith” are the ones who publicly agree the thing should not be built there. I do support the allowing of the building, because there is no valid legal reason not to…and because I think it will slightly hasten the understanding of more people about the reasons they want to put it there.

  6. Temy,

    You make many valid points. However, a prayer space is not the same as a mosque. That would be like calling a Friends meeting house a Church. It’s not the same. People would go to pray, and no services, or rites, or marriages, or other “sacred” events would happen there. People would talk and do their 5 meditations-ablutions to Mecca that is required of Orthodox Muslims each day in a space where they can do so quietly and with other Muslims. I am fine with that, and I would be fine if it was an actual Mosque, or temple, or anything legal.

    Where is the nearest Temple or Church to this site?

    Tex Shelters

  7. Tex here is what I’m ultimately getting at, the South used to think Segregation was ok, it was a cultural issue. Were we wrong to ignore their culture and stand up for what was right? I think not. Were the women championing the right to vote wrong? After all it was a cultural a religious issue wasn’t it. Honor your husband or father after all. I will never stand with the segregationist, ever and I’m leaving the vilest aspects of a dark age’s mindset out of this debate. The way many religions think Islam being the worst of the worst has no place in America in the year of 2010.

    • Jake,

      Yes. And we need to continue to champion women’s rights in Islamic nations and in the United States.


      Tex Shelters

  8. NO TEX, we as Americans need to stand firm. We need to say segregation under any circumstances is un acceptable. If you com to the US you must life as the Romans do so to speak We as a Nation has it’s values. WE ARE ALL EQUAL. We need not ever compromise on that…EVER. If out siders don’t like it? Fuck’em we don’t need them here… I welcome everyone, but they must want to become American and not change America.

    • Hmm… I suppose I shouldn’t get my hopes up and interpret that as meaning you are ready to behave yourself as my Wha-Zha-Zhi grandmothers (who resisted Xtian genocide, torture, enslavement, and patriarchal coercion) would have you behave… or that you are ready to send all non-Native folks home?

      It isn’t Muslim-Americans (many who were born here, btw)–liberal, moderate, or insane who scare me these days nearly as much as those European-Americans who want to destroy the U.S. Constitution by applying it EQUALLY only when they feel like it (even more than they already historically have).

    • Jake,

      So, I thought you were supporting women’s rights, but apparently, you were trying to attack Muslims using women’s rights as a wedge issue.

      So you are saying we shouldn’t support women’s rights? And are you saying that Muslims have no right to have a community center? Then we need to close all the Jewish Community Centers, all the Catholic book stores, all the Scientology stores, all the Santeria stores in the Gulf states, all the religious paraphenalia bible stores, all the Salvation Army outlets, etc. We do have to have equality as you point out.

      You are supporting discrimination under the guise of “equality”. We have equal rights, we don’t have to be equal people or have the same religion or have the same ideology.

      Every immigrant group adds and changes America. So, try as you may to deny reality, America is changing. Oooo, that’s scary! I tried to meet you half way, and you throw back your ignorant bigotry. Who are the real Americans and who is to say HOW we should all act? Are you the one who is going to determine how we all act as Americans?

      The point of America is individuality and a mix of cultures while working for the common good. And you want us all to be sheeple. That’s pathetic.

      Tex Shelters

  9. watching this develop from half a world away and seeing all the hateful comments on various comment sections of news stories, it’s damn frightening how small minded and ugly people are on this issue.

  10. You’re yammering and running your mouths and waiting for each other to shut up so you can run your mouth some more. You are fools. It has ever been this. The ancient Greeks were saying the same things about society that you are. Nothing is going to change. All that has changed is that we can be imbeciles in front of larger numbers of people at the same time and we can watch our wars live.

    We are between ice ages. We are a blip on galactic radar. We’re fucked and we were ever fucked. You yammer and you yammer and you take yourselves seriously.

    You are shit. I am shit. Humankind is shit. We are ignorant, self-serving and not about to change.

    Same debate in 2000 before common era.

    Same debate until the day the galaxy can no longer stand the smell of us.

  11. And you know what, our bigoted, destructive, nasty, evil species deserves whatever it will get.

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