Fanning the Flames of Bigotry in Texas

The Texas Eagle Forum’s verbal attacks on American Muslims are growing ever more paranoid and shrill. A new e-mail from the group’s president, Pat Carlson, brings another example.

Wednesday’s e-mail featured an article from The Torch, the group’s online newsletter, in which Carlson promotes absurd fears that Muslims are working to take over the United States by imposing Sharia law. Indeed, Carlson’s article — “Identifying Radical Islam” — reads like a long screed based on the most paranoid rantings of anti-Muslim bigots in America today. For example:

“Political correctness has blinded many to the growing threat of Islam in the United States. September 11, 2001, should have been the wake-up call. Instead, Sharia law is becoming part of the American landscape as Christianity is being systematically removed.”

Of course, Carlson offers no real evidence for this claim. She goes on to recite a list of urban myths, inflammatory generalizations and gross misconceptions that now pass for fact on the fringe right in America. Her readers are expected to accept the absurd notion that a relative handful of Muslims are imposing Islamic law and control over a country in which the overwhelming majority of the population is Christian. And in tying such nonsense to the horrors of the 9/11 terror attacks, Carlson smears all Muslims for the actions of a murderous few.

If that’s not enough to inflame the passions of her readers, Carlson moves on to a shameful tactic many demagogues have used to promote hate and bigotry in the past:

“Sharia is being implemented in the U.S. today through neighborhood mosques claiming to be community centers of peace and brotherhood bringing all religions together. This is only a front for dawa (deceptive proselytizing). Once the center or mosque is established then the demands begin to change the community.”

In Carlson’s mind every Muslim is someone to be feared. There is no real attempt to separate true extremists from others who simply share the same religion. A place where Muslims go to worship together, then, becomes a devious source of alien subversion — or worse. This is a classic rhetorical weapon the forces of intolerance have used to bludgeon religious and other minorities throughout human history.

It’s alarming, of course, that such rants unjustly smear and target an entire group of people simply because of their religion. But it’s equally troubling when elected leaders ignore such trash while seeking the approval and support of its purveyors. Indeed, there are elected officials in Texas today who have proudly promoted endorsements from Carlson and other Texas Eagle Forum leaders in their election campaigns. Will they now speak out against such intolerance? Don’t hold your breath.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    ‘No’ to Sharia Law. ‘Yes’ to Shakira Law.

  2. Charles
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    The Christian Neo-Fundamentalists should be concerned about the rapid growth of Islam, but they are clueless because they never read their Bibles. They just thump them at people. If they ever bothered to read the New Testament, they would understand a basic principal put forward by the Apostle Paul. Sinful human flesh is attracted to laws in a perverse sort of way. Whys is that? Well, with a certain mindset and psychology, laws can be a source of pride. It is a measuring ruler. You lay it out beside yourself, go blind for a moment, and say, “Hey, I did pretty good today.” That is how false pride gets built up. However, the biggie comes when we lay out that ruler beside ourselves and our fellow man and say, “God must love me more than Fred because I beat Fred today by 20 points on the goodness scale.” Yeah, right. This must be like the rich people who insist that poor people exist only to make them look good. Of course, the truth of the matter is that we human beings fail miserably every day, and if we are honest with ourselves, we realize that we fail and that we will never measure up to the law.

    The chief purveyors of law over grace and love (they would deny it) in American society today are the Christian Neo-Fundamentalists. Law and obedience to it is everything to them. Jesus is just cheap window dressing. Loving your neighbor as yourself? Out of the question!!! I look at it like this. To plant a good crop, you have to plow the ground, furrow it, and seed it. The current Christian Neo-Fundamentalist emphasis on the Old Testament law and turning Christians into really good American Jews is plowing the land, furrowing it, and seeding it. With such excellent groundwork already laid and the American people thoroughly conditioned to living under a legalist regime, the Islamists should be able to easily walk in and take over everything. When that happens, I think we should all write a letter to Pat Carlson and the Religious Right—and thank them for being the chief factors that made the Sharia takeover possible.

  3. james_breck
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    And the answer to Sharia law is Biblical law Pat Carlson?

    “Witness the fetid cockroach that is James Dobson; multiply his insanity by access to real power and the result is Sharia law.”
    A wise blogger, 2007

  4. K. Cunningham
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I am sure you have heard this one from her before, but an oldie is always a goodie – “”In Texas, schools do not even have to teach sex education.” – From the same lady, Pat Carlson –
    here is a link to an article that once again reinforces why Texas has led and is still probably leading the nation in teenage pregnancies – http://politifact.com/texas/statements/2010/mar/20/pat-carlson/texas-eagle-forum-says-texas-schools-dont-have-tea/
    So now we should not have the public schools teaching sex ed and we should all be aware of the impending Muslim threat because Sharia law is taking over the neighborhoods?!?
    Truthfully, Pat Carlson, you scare me a hell of a lot more than any Muslim I have ever met!

  5. Doc Bill
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Tomorrow it will be you and me! One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” Got the boxed set for Christmas!

    I remember discussing in either English or Journalism class about “they” and “them,” vague terms you can use to mean “not like us.”

    Since I heard the term “hippie” used the other day, yes a 40-year old, obsolete term, it reminded me of the hysteria in the country when Kennedy got elected and that he was going to be controlled by the Pope. Looking back it seems stupid, but at the time people were serious.

  6. Keanus
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Fundamentalist evangelicals always need demons and devils. Muslims and sharia law are their current fixation. Tomorrow is might be you or me.

  7. David
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    What would be nice would be for someone to track, over the years and decades, where the Eagle Forum put it’s focus, and how issues and enemies were shoved to the backburner when a better fundraising gimmick came along.

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