Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Walberg On Ramadan



I've gotten behind on keeping track of Walberg's voting record, and hopefully I can get caught up this weekend. This one, however, deserves some attention now, because it says something about the character of Congressman Walberg. (Thanks to the anonymous commenter who pointed this out.)

H. Res. 635 is one of these fairly meaningless yet nonetheless symbolic resolutions that Congress passes to officially recognize something and feel good about themselves. Here's the text of H. Res. 635:

Whereas it is estimated that there are approximately 1,500,000,000 Muslims worldwide;

Whereas since the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, some threats and incidents of violence have been directed at law-abiding, patriotic Americans of African, Arab, and South Asian descent, particularly members of the Islamic faith;

Whereas, on September 14, 2001, the House of Representatives passed a concurrent resolution condemning bigotry and violence against Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from South Asia in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States;

Whereas some extremists have attempted to use selective interpretations of Islam to justify and encourage hatred, persecution, oppression, violence and terrorism against the United States, the West, Israel, other Muslims, and non-Muslims;

Whereas some Muslims in the United States and abroad have courageously spoken out in rejection of interpretations of Islam that justify and encourage hatred, violence, and terror, and in support of interpretations of and movements within Islam that justify and encourage democracy, tolerance and full civil and political rights for Muslims and those of all faiths;

Whereas Ramadan is the holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims worldwide, and is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar year; and

Whereas the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan commenced at dusk on September 13, 2007, and continues for one lunar month: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
      (1) recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world;
      (2) expresses friendship and support for Muslims in the United States and worldwide;
      (3) acknowledges the onset of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and conveys its respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this occasion;
      (4) rejects hatred, bigotry, and violence directed against Muslims, both in the United States and worldwide; and
      (5) commends Muslims in the United States and across the globe who have privately and publicly rejected interpretations and movements of Islam that justify and encourage hatred, violence, and terror.
    I, personally, find nothing objectionable in that. It's not anti-Muslim, and it's not trying to impose beliefs on anyone or convert anyone to anything. It merely recognizes the month of Ramadan, recognizes that a lot of people are observing it, encourages tolerance, and rejects the false interpretations of Islam that lead to terrorism and violence.

    If anything, the resolution is a little late, since Ramadan started September 13. Besides that, is there anything wrong with it? Is there anything wrong with recognizing our own diversity and commending the people who practice their faith peacefully?

    Well, apparently there is, because Congressman Tim Walberg couldn't bring himself to vote yes. He voted Present, one of 42 representatives-- one Democrat and 41 Republicans-- who weren't able to love their neighbors and vote yes. The resolution passed the House 376 to 0 to 42, with 14 not voting. Walberg was the only Michigan representative to vote Present.

    Walberg is a Christian minister. As such, he ought to admire the courage it takes to be a Muslim in America, with popular culture and the media constantly making that more difficult. He should appreciate the emotional investment it takes to follow one's faith, as he himself should know, and he should be tolerant of those who choose to follow a different faith, just as others are tolerant of whatever brand of Christianity he follows.

    There was absolutely no reason not to support this resolution. Walberg didn't vote No, but he went out of his way to avoid voting Yes. That's ridiculous.

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    Comments:
    The only way a no (or in this case a present)vote would be acceptable is if the representative (and therefore their constituents...)in question had a strong belief in the separation of religion and government in all cases and a voting record to back that up. As we know, this is not true for Mr. Walberg. I don't know about other 41.
     
    Refer to the First Amendment. I know that's not why Walberg voted that way, but Congress has no business recognizing Islam as "one of the great religions of the world."
     
    Whether Congress has no business in recognizing Islam, period, is one thing. But whether they recognize Islam as one of the great religions of the world is a horse of a different color. I happen to think it magnanimous of them to do so but that is a personal opinion.

    However, for anyone NOT to recognize Islam as one of the great religions of the world is foolishness. It has over 1.3 billion followers, less than the 2.1 Christians but Islam is growning more rapidly, percentage-wise, than any other religion. One can try to ignore the numbers but they exist.

    Other great religions in alphabetical order are:

    Baha'i = http://www.bahaindex.com/ - a relative newcomer to the world faiths which attempts to integrate the Truth of all religions

    Buddhism = http://www.buddhanet.net/

    Christianity = http://www.crosssearch.com/

    Confucianism =http://www.thespiritualsanctuary.org/Confucianism/Confucianism.html

    Hinduism = http://www.hinduism.co.za/

    Islam = http://www.islam.com/

    Jainism = http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/jainhlinks.html

    Judaism = http://shamash.org/trb/judaism.html

    Shintoism = http://shinto.org/

    Sikhism = http://www.sikhs.org

    Taoism = http://www.taoism.net/

    Zoroastrianism = http://www.avesta.org/

    and lastly, the "religion" of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin and other members of our Founding Fathers, Deism = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism
     
    Everyone is totally missing the point of Walberg's vote. It is very true it would have been bad for him to vote no, which is probably what he wanted to do.

    But, the issue is, Walberg believes we should write Christianity into our law. He believes there is no separation of church and state because Christians founded this country. He does not believe in religious tolerance.

    He thinks Muslims are incapapble of comprehending democratic ideas.

    He thinks drinking alcohol is a sin. And being homosexual. (And, if you don't repent for your sins, you go to hell.)

    If someone had inserted Christian in for Muslim, Walberg would have voted for it twice.
     
    Congress Crosses the Line. Where is the Outrage?

    Muslims Against Sharia condemn politically correct cowardice of the United States Congress. We call on every American Muslims to contact their congressmen, and voice their disgust with Congress' blatant disregard for the United States Constitution.

    Congressional Resolution HRES 635 EH:
    "House of Representatives ... acknowledges the onset of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal"

    First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"
     
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