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What Was That About Virginia Going Purple?

Virgil Goode, the Muslim-loathing congressman from south-central Virginia, won reelection this fall by 59-40 percent over his Democratic challenger, Al Weed. It wasn't remotely close.

In tobacco country, the man who led the fight for a wildly generous federal tobacco buyout, seemed unscathed by the fact that he was also known as "Representative A," the man who was identified in court papers as the congressman who took $46,000 in illegal campaign contributions from a defense contractor that was trying to win his support for a big fat federal gift. The MZM company got its $3.6 million federal earmark thanks to Goode, and Virgil won reelection anyway.

So it shouldn't come as any surprise that Goode feels real good about his letter to a constituent warning against a Muslim takeover of the United States and ripping newly elected congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota for daring to choose to be sworn in using a Koran instead of a Bible.

Here's the complete text of Goode's letter to a constituent:

December 7, 2006

Dear Xxxxxxx:

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.

Sincerely yours,
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.

Of course, Goode's pride in his bigotry only goes so far: His press secretary noted that it was the congressman's personal choice to exclude members of the national press from his news conference where he affirmed his stand against Muslims. "Orders from Virgil," the spokesman said. Wouldn't want any of those negative questions from people who don't understand that this is a Christian nation, right?

"I do not apologize, and I do not retract my letter," Goode said at his news conference, where six sheriff's deputies were placed around the room because the congressman's office had received unspecified threats following his anti-Muslim remarks.

Not only reporters, but even Goode's own constituents were barred from his news conference. Now there's a congressman with confidence in his convictions.

If the prospect of a congressman putting his hand on a Koran gives Goode the willies, I hope he doesn't have occasion to enter the chambers of Hassan El-Amin, the Prince George's County district court judge who is the first Muslim judge in Maryland history. There, Goode would find--horrors--the text of the Koran sharing a place of honor with photos of Malcolm X, a miniature Statue of Liberty, and American law books. For many voters in Virginia's fifth congressional district, that might be a frightening vision. But some Americans find that tableau downright inspiring.

(I profiled Judge El-Amin back in 2001--full text on the jump.)

Of course, the question made him angry. Hassan El-Amin was up for a judgeship, a chance to become the first Muslim judge in Maryland history, and someone wanted to know if being a Muslim and being a judge, a custodian of American law, would be compatible.

"I wanted to say, 'Well, we have Catholic judges and Jewish judges, and nobody asks them that question,' " El-Amin recalls. But instead he said this: "The two are absolutely consistent, and I just revel in the harmonies between Islam and the American ideals, everything from the Preamble to the Bill of Rights and the great value that's placed on the individual as a creation of God."

You haven't heard much like that lately, have you?

Prince George's District Court Judge Hassan El-Amin, his black robes hanging on the coatrack, his tie loosened, lays that down and then launches into a soaring tribute to Jefferson and Madison and how their ideals became the rock of this nation and how those ideals struggled with the realities of slavery and other inequities until we reached this room at this moment: a Muslim, a black man, a guy who sold fish on the streets of Washington, who now comes to work each day, puts on a robe and interprets and enforces laws inspired by the Founding Fathers.

"We're evolving in this country almost at light speed, from Jim Crow through the earthquake of the '60s to the point where the law now can be used to further the interests of justice," says El-Amin, 52, who grew up working-class Baptist in Charleston, W.Va. "It's almost miraculous."

He was Vernon Jones then, and he won a full scholarship to Yale, traveled the world, indulged in women and wine, and in the confused times of the early '70s found himself searching for something more. He found Islam, in the version that attracted many young blacks of the period, the seething separatism of the Nation of Islam.

"That nationalism was healthy for us as an antidote to white supremacy, but fortunately, I grew through that," El-Amin says now. Looking at some followers of Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam who are peddling wacko conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attacks, the judge says: "I thank God I am not subject to such demagoguery. It is a one-way ticket to despair."

Instead, El-Amin followed W. Deen Mohammed, the son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Mohammed, in the 1975 mass conversion out of the race-based movement and into traditional Islam. Feeling liberated by his break from the Nation's cocoon, El-Amin went into the civil service and on to law school. As a lawyer, he handled criminal defense and civil cases in Washington and Prince George's County before being tapped for the bench by Gov. Parris N. Glendening last year.

In court, he is decisive and direct, pressing lawyers to cut out the baroque mannerisms and get to the nub of the issue. He rotates among criminal, civil, domestic violence and traffic courts. Like the best traffic court judges, he pushes through the staggering caseload with humor and moral outrage as his most effective tools.

One day in traffic court, he dispenses with 326 cases in six hours, dishing out fines, points, fatherly admonitions and the occasional scolding: When Denise Gibson, an insolent young woman up on a speeding charge, answers his questions with sullen "Mmm-hmm"s, El-Amin tries a gentle "Excuse me?" Gibson, oblivious, repeats her mumble.

"I feel sorry for your parents," the judge tells her. "If you can't say 'Yes, sir' and 'No, sir' to a judge, I can't imagine how you speak to your parents. Be careful about that. Courtesy will get you a long way in this world. All right?"

"Mmm-hmm," came the reply, and the packed courtroom broke up, as did the judge.

Moments later, El-Amin reluctantly lets off James Tkatch on a negligent driving charge that came to court after Tkatch cursed out a state trooper. The judge calls the driver's behavior "offensive and uncivilized" but finds for Tkatch nonetheless because the law requires a negligent driver to have endangered himself or others, and there's no proof of that here. "I'm very upset about what I heard, but I have to uphold the law as it is written," El-Amin says.

The next day, presiding over a trial in which the family of an 8-year-old boy is suing a neighbor whose dog bit the boy as he played in his own yard, El-Amin again finds himself letting off someone who acted poorly. "The problem is, the law does not provide a remedy for every wrong," the judge softly tells the disappointed father of the victim.

It's not a message many people like to hear in court. But it is the heart of El-Amin's philosophy of fidelity to the law and openness to all citizens. "I wanted to give the kid some money," the judge tells me later. "But I have to follow the law."

Since Sept. 11, El-Amin has heard only support from his colleagues in the courthouse. Those who come before him sometimes stare at his nameplate, but no one has said anything remotely abusive or disrespectful. (The judge says that because he is black and native-born, he probably has had an easier time than he might have were he an Arab Muslim.)

Yet like all American Muslims, El-Amin has come face to face with questions about the compatibility of his identities. He is secure in his answers. "In many respects, America is more Islamic than many of the Islamic countries, because there is opportunity here for the human soul to develop. Nothing in this country interferes with the internal development of the individual."

What makes America great, El-Amin says, is the flexibility our system allows each person to follow his own path -- in faith, in work, in family. Islamic countries once fostered that flexibility, "and they should again," he says. "The prophet Muhammed respected Christians and Jews; the flow of Islamic knowledge into Europe sparked the Renaissance. But the Muslims themselves got lost in schools of thought. And the importance of improving the lives of every man and woman -- and I mean to emphasize 'woman' -- has unfortunately taken a back seat in Islamic countries to the ironclad rule of Islamic law."

Unlike too many Muslim leaders who seem tongue-tied in the aftermath of Sept. 11, El-Amin is straight and clear: "We are in a war with people who are hijacking Islam. The hallmark of Islam is to be reasonable."

"I try to live my life as best I can," says the judge, whose adopted name, Hassan, means "one who improves." "I certainly don't look at myself as a role model, but as a striver, someone who's trying to lessen the burdens of life whether it's in the courtroom or on the golf course or as a Muslim."

His office houses a wonderfully American melange of symbols: photos of Malcolm X with other Muslim leaders, a miniature Statue of Liberty, certificates from the highest courts in the land, and in a prime spot on the wall, just across from the books of American law, a framed edition of the Koran.

By Marc Fisher |  December 22, 2006; 9:25 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Goode is a bigot and an idiot, and El-Amin sounds like a wonderful person whom I would like to know better.

There is, however, an important difference between using a religious text to swear an oath and using a religious text as a courthouse decoration. The latter is problematic, no matter which religion and no matter how well-intentioned.

In the swearing in, the religious text -- whether the Bible, Koran, or whatever -- is used soley for the purpose of binding the oath-taker to his oath. No reasonable person (that is, no person other than an idiot like Goode) could suppose that using the Koran in a swearing-in implies an effort to impose religious doctrine upon our laws.

However, the use of a specific religious text as a symbol in a judge's courtroom or office, especially if it is not part of a larger display of multiple religious and legal traditions (as in the oft-cited Supreme Court frieze), may in fact give the impression that the legal system of that religion will unduly influence the interpretation and application of the law. Or, it may convey the impression that adherents to that religion will receive favored treatment from the judge or judges in that courthouse.

This is why displays of the Ten Commandments have been objected to and barred from courtrooms -- not out of any hostility to the Ten Commandments to specifically or even to God generally -- but to preserve both the fact and appearance of neutrality in a court of law. I recognize that there is a difference between the courtroom and the judge's chambers, but many meetings are held between judges and lawyers in chambers -- in many ways, they are extensions of the courtroom.

Judge El Amin sounds like a wonderful person, but if I were him I would save the Koran display for home, just as I would not decorate my chambers with the Bible, or the Ten Commandments, or any other religious text. At a time when people are mistrustful of government in general and the fairness of the justice system in particular, few principles are more important than the neutrality of the courts, and anything that undermines that appearance of neutrality is unhelpful, no matter how well-intended.

Please do not infer from this post that I agree with Rep. Goode with regard to the swearing-in. As I hope I made clear above, the use of a religious text (or no text at all) is highly personal and clearly protected constitutionally.

Posted by: Meridian | December 22, 2006 10:14 AM

The bible should be used at all times during swearing in ceremonies. Period. The U.S. was founded on the bible and no one can force me to recognize otherwise, nor will I recognize anyone who was sworn in office with anything other than the bible. I don't care what color people wether they hold an office or not. But I will take a firm stance on our nations founding beliefs.

Posted by: said what others are thinking | December 22, 2006 10:30 AM

If Goode were truly Christian, he'd repent, resign, and go pray for discernment.

I don't know that he's an idiot so much as a fraud: cynical, contemptible, with the usual appetite for the public trough.

When will we ever stop electing these slimeballs?

Posted by: In Goode We Trust | December 22, 2006 10:31 AM

"nor will I recognize anyone who was sworn in office with anything other than the bible"

Well, pal, the entire House gets sworn in at once, with their right hands raised and their left hands on...nothing. (Maybe Congressman Foley's hand was in his pocket, if you know what I mean.)This country was not founded on the Bible, and the only Almighty that most of these clowns recognize is the Dollar. Same as it ever was.

Posted by: Bible Thumper | December 22, 2006 10:41 AM

How did you choose this topic, Marc? I was expecting today to be another "Waxing Nostalgic" day now that they're planning to convert the Yenching Palace into the District's first Walgreens.

Man, nostalgia isn't what it used to be. But I guess it's too tempting to go after those conservative hayseeds in rural Virginia. It's great to prove, one more time, that they're "bigots and idiots" as Meridian so eloquently put it. Low-hanging fruit, and all that.

Still, isn't anyone going to miss those egg rolls? And, what's next? The Uptown? Horrors. The world's going to ...

Posted by: Pocomoke | December 22, 2006 10:51 AM

I am sickened by Virgil Goode; I am sickened by those who put him in office knowing that he was a crook; I am sickened by anyone who defends him now. I used to love Virginia, and I used to want to move back there, but it's becoming a haven for uneducated, intolerant people.
Religious tolerance is in the Constitution, said what others are thinking. That means that the founders, while they swore their oaths on Bibles, recognized and protected the right of others to swear on any other holy text--or on none at all. Anyone who can't understand that or can't handle that should move to Iran, a country that is founded on its religion and tolerates no other.

Posted by: Former Virginian | December 22, 2006 10:55 AM

Farmer Virginian,

So, that makes perfect sense. If someone doesn't like muslims, he should move to Iran. I guess if you don't like jews you should move to Israel and all the gay prisoners should be incarcerated with gays of the other sex, etc.

We probably won't miss you here in Virginia, although given your attitudes towards us, you should move back immediately.

Posted by: Present Virginian | December 22, 2006 11:05 AM

Pocomoke, I fell your pain. Tower Records, Arch Campbell, and Yenching Palace. Of course, Arch will still be around but things just won't be the same.

Oops, I deviated from the topic of the chat. Now, where were we? Ah, Marc is on his finger-shaking at Virginia pedestal again...

Posted by: WB | December 22, 2006 11:08 AM

Marc finds Goode a pleasing target because Virgil is one of the strongest supporters of gun rights in the house. So Marc gets a twofer.

Posted by: Stick | December 22, 2006 11:12 AM

WB--You forgot that obsolete classical music station that Dan Snyder pirated, plus all the public radio stations that aren't responsive to our wishes. Don't you miss them, too?

Don't forget that we're not giving WAMU any more donations until they play what we want to hear and we're not buying season tix to the Redskins.

Posted by: Pocomoke | December 22, 2006 11:15 AM

For "Said What Others Are Thinking:"

Since you are relying on what this country was "founded" on, here is exactly what the Founders had to say -- US Constitution, Article VI:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

So, until the Constitution is amended, your statement, "The U.S. was founded on the bible and no one can force me to recognize otherwise, nor will I recognize anyone who was sworn in office with anything other than the bible" is historically inaccurate and legally untrue. You can, indeed, be forced to submit to the authority of government officials who have take their oath on the Koran, the Hebrew Scriptures, or nothing at all.

Posted by: Meridian | December 22, 2006 11:25 AM

Pocomoke, Ah, yes, Scrooge Snyder. It's sad enough that there will be no more more classical cds from Tower and now, thanks to Scrooge Snyder, no more classical radio. Yet, all that money can't buy him a winning team.

Posted by: WB | December 22, 2006 11:30 AM

As a non Christian, I would never take an oath on the Bible. To swear an oath on something that I do not revere would be an insult to those who do believe and make me a hypocrite into the bargain.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 22, 2006 11:40 AM

I don't get it. What difference does it make whether you put your hand on a Bible, a Koran, or a taco when you take an oath? The oath doesn't signify religious conviction. The oath is about protecting the Constitution or telling the truth in court.

What if you put your hand over a stack containing a Bible, a Koran, Catch 22, and an Archie comic book? Etc.

I guess I also never understood the symbolism of putting your hand over your heart when you sing the star-spangled banner, either.

Is there a patriot, preferrably a Christian one, who can help me with this stuff?

Posted by: KK | December 22, 2006 12:02 PM

Whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Politicians shouldn't be putting their hands on any religous book when taking an oath of public office.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 22, 2006 12:13 PM

The reason people like Stick put their hand over their heart during the pledge of allegiance is that they are swearing on the Glock in their concealed shoulder holster.

Posted by: Mister Methane | December 22, 2006 12:18 PM

"The U.S. was founded on the bible..."

- said what others are thinking

"The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine."

-George Washington

Posted by: Anonymous | December 22, 2006 12:29 PM

Here is a news flash for Marc, Former Virginian, and all the rest of you self-righteous metropolitans: the good people of Franklin County and the rest of the 5th Congressional District don't give a fart in a windstorm about what you think of them or their elected representatives. And, by the way, they have some equally uncharitable terms for describing how they view YOUR character and behavior. Former Virginian: please be sure to post here again and tell us where you live now. I am sure that many readers want to move to your Nirvanna where there are no crooked or bigoted politicians and no uneducated and intolerant people. By any chance do you live in DC?

Posted by: Native Virginian | December 22, 2006 1:01 PM

Has everyone read George Washington's 1790 letter to a new Jewish Synagogue that was just opening?

It goes a long way to dispelling the fiction that the colonists and founding fathers were Christian-based.

Posted by: Bethesdan | December 22, 2006 1:08 PM

Re: "The US was founded on the Bible":

The founding fathers were products of the Enlightenment. While most, if not all, were at least nominally members of Christian denominations, their religious views would not be consistent with what we modern folks would term fundamentalist Christianity, or a literal reading of the Bible.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 22, 2006 1:08 PM

"As a non Christian, I would never take an oath on the Bible."

As a *Christian*, I would never take an oath for something as worldly and insignificant as a Congressional seat on the Bible. Applying the Bible for mere secular matters can only cheapen its spiritual significance.

I guess the new, "in-your-face," Christianity SWOAT prefers is not just about excluding non-Christians from public office, it's about excluding Quakers and Amish and Mennonites and Jehovah's Witnesses -- all of whom discourage or prohibit the swearing of religious oaths for secular purposes -- as well. So, who gets excluded next? Will Bibles that include 2nd and 3rd Isaiah or 1st and 2nd Maccabees be ineligible for swearing-in ceremonies, to prohibit Catholics from holding office?

Posted by: quaker | December 22, 2006 1:25 PM

I grew up in a county adjacent to Franklin County, and I find Goode's letter problematic in one way. Wanting to end illegal immigration is fine, and wanting to limit legal immigration is fine (although debatable), and his office wall does not have to be a comprehensive reflection of all faiths.

BUT -- here is the problem (quoting from the letter): "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."

WHAT? There are lots of good reasons for limiting the number of immigrants that enter the U.S. each year, but a high number of Muslims is not one of those reasons. To stand behind that statement is stupid, ignorant, and bigoted.

Posted by: Central VA | December 22, 2006 1:31 PM

Native Virginian: Nice to see the Post's lame NoVa vs RoVa comparison didn't go nearly far enough. Are you a real person or a computer-generated caricature of a RoVa hayseed?

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | December 22, 2006 1:48 PM

According to Goodes letter, a Muslim student wanted to know why Goode didn't have anything on his wall about the Koran. Why should Goode have anything Koran-related on his wall? No one should be forced to put something on their walls that they don't believe in. How many Muslims have bible-related stuff on their walls?

Posted by: Fred | December 22, 2006 2:56 PM

While I was born across the river, I've lived in NoVA all my life, with the exception of time away at grad school. Does that make me a "Native Virginian," or must a person be current on their NRA membership to claim the title?

Posted by: Mister Methane | December 22, 2006 3:06 PM

Maybe the judge should have had a picture on his wall of the Prophet Mohammed with his 22 wives?

Posted by: Pocomoke | December 22, 2006 3:06 PM

I think that Native Virginia is still pissed at NoVA for putting Jim Webb over the top. You'll have Webb as one of your Senators for 6 years, Native. Deal with it.

Posted by: Mister Methane | December 22, 2006 3:08 PM

Dear Fred:

"Why should Goode have anything Koran-related on his wall?"

Exactly. Goode doesn't need to have anything Koran-related on his wall because he's not Muslim and "the muslim rep from Minn" shouldn't have to swear on a Bible because he's not Christian.

The rules of the House state that you can take your oath on any book you'd like and you don't have to swear at can "affirm." If Goode doesn't like the rules of our great country and the principles of freedom it is based on, he should leave.

Posted by: Hindu in NOVA | December 22, 2006 3:22 PM

Loudoun Voter: you live in Loudoun County and you're calling ME a hayseed? Mister Fart: --You'll have Webb as one of your Senators for 6 years-- one can only hope. Webb got elected for the same reason that Allen got in for one term. The alternative (Chuck Robb) was too distasteful for even Virginian voters. In six years Mr. Congeniality will be history when he faces a real opponent with something other than boorish manners and the props of his son's muddy boots.

Posted by: Native Virginian | December 22, 2006 4:52 PM

BTW, Mister Fart, you may have been born across the river, whatever the hell that means, but you are true-blue NoVa. Anyone else would know that the NRA is only for little boys who can't shoot and for closet Conservatives who are frightened by the gun laws that their pussified neighbors keep pushing. Real Men own guns and carry them without paying dues to some special interest lobbying crowd. They let their member of Congress represent them.

Posted by: Native Virginian | December 22, 2006 5:23 PM

"NRA is only for little boys who can't shoot"

Now stop picking on Dick Cheney!

Posted by: Ha Ha | December 22, 2006 5:35 PM

Hindu of NOVA, were you born in the U.S.? If not, why did you leave your great country? Why should someone leave their country only because they have beliefs other than yours? You have your beliefs and Goode has his beliefs.

Posted by: Accept it | December 22, 2006 5:41 PM

"Mohammed with his 22 wives?"

Good one Pocomoke. And one of those wives was said to have been 6 years old when Moohammed married her. Now, about Muslims treatment of the Jews.......

Posted by: Anonymous | December 22, 2006 6:02 PM

So, according to "Native Virginian," "the good people of Franklin County and the rest of the 5th Congressional District don't give a fart in a windstorm about what you think of them or their elected representatives."

Good. Then it won't bother you to learn that people whose educations extend beyond the sixth grade think that Virgil Goode is a bigot and a fool, and that the same goes double for the voters who re-elected him.

Posted by: lydgate | December 22, 2006 6:04 PM

lydgate: thanks for chimming in, you self-righteous metropolitan. You seem to think that anyone in the 5th District has no more than a sixth grade education. You most certainly would be surprised to know that the education levels in the counties of the 5th District rival those of NoVa, esp. when you factor in the immigrant population of the NoVa counties. At least our sixth graders speak English. Please note that Mister Fart had to come down here for graduate school. Probably UVA, another illiterate backwater in the 5th District.

Posted by: Native Virginian | December 22, 2006 9:39 PM

It is interesting that Representative Goode not only chooses to disrespect and misrepresent our Constitution through his tirade against Muslims but also chooses to disrespect the good and honorable people of Minnesota who exercised their Constitutional right to elect their Representative. Furthermore his letter only serves to prove that unfortunately we have members of Congress who feel it is their personal right to use immigration laws to impose their views of what America should be like! This reminds me of the politicians in Nazi Germany who also used their beliefs to shape their views of who should be considered truly "German"!

Muslims are not the "enemy". Hatred, bigotry, ignorance, arrogance and intolerance are the enemy and unfortunately many of our hearts are infected with these qualities. Only love can heal our hearts. I hope that each of you that has written words of hate or intolerance can bring love back into your hearts and lives.

Posted by: Native Washingtonian | December 23, 2006 1:29 AM

Well, Goode is a moron, a know-nothing, and a throwback. It is sad and ironic that he represents the seat of Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia.

One has to wonder why oaths in this country are taken on any kind of holy book at all. If a document is needed, make it the Constitution. And no, "so help me God" coda, either.

Posted by: Blue guy in a red state | December 23, 2006 9:03 AM

Today, even one of the newspapers in Goode's home district took the congressman to task, and no, it wasn't the Charlottesville paper:

An excerpt:

"Goode's comments are mean- spirited because in the 5th District Muslims are an easy group for him to pick on. Their numbers are small and their influence is nil. No doubt many of Goode's constituents are glad to be represented by a congressman who wants to cut off the number of people coming to this country from the Middle East.

"But just because Goode says something that's popular doesn't make it right."

Oh, and about the swearing-in:

"The U.S. Constitution doesn't require religious tests for public office, and it doesn't require Congressmen to take the oath of office on the King James Version of the Holy Bible."

Posted by: Vincent | December 23, 2006 9:32 AM


Yes, the U.S. Constitution gives me the freedom of speech to be able to say it! Don't like it? Too bad!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 23, 2006 8:57 PM

what happened to America as a haven for those seeking refuge from religous persecution? Y'know the Pilgrims, the Quakers and all those pesky minorities of yore...

Posted by: GodFearing | December 27, 2006 9:00 PM

If everyone disagrees with Rep. Virgil Goode they should listen to a Muslim converted to Christian from Dr. Jerry Falwell's church. He was raised as a Muslim and they are taught from childhood there are two groups of people they hate, Christians and Jews. They believe the only sure way to go to Paradise (Heaven) is to kill Christians and Jews. Knowing this, why would we want to let Muslim's in the United States. Mr. Goode should run for president in 2008.

Posted by: Commonsense | December 27, 2006 10:17 PM

Someone needs to tell Virgil and all those other "Americans" that Article 6 of the US Constitution prohibits a religious qualification test from being applied to one seeking office. In short, there is no requirement to use a bible or any other book of tales when you are sworn in.

Posted by: Iraq Vet | December 28, 2006 12:19 PM

Well, anti-Goode folks, your beloved Sadam will hang within the next half hour. God Bless America and the Christian Leaders that run this country!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Infidel | December 29, 2006 9:25 PM

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