With all due respect, I was appalled at a Texas congressman’s behavior during the hearing today. I recognize the subject of radical Islam is a polarizing conversation, but to identify the KKK as similar to/with radical Islam is preposterous and demonstrates a severe lack of competency regarding the doctrinal and political ramifications of radical Islam. Radical Islam’s toll on American culture is staggering. Life has changed for all of us, never to be the same again and radical Islam is the culprit. The KKK cannot contextually justify their supremacy positions in Scripture, but radical Islam can more than justify their position in the Qur’an. This hearing is about radical Islam and not the KKK. Why confuse the issue? The congressman’s remarks only demonstrate a severe lack of competency regarding extremely important religious-political issues. My hope is that the Washington Post misquoted the congressman’s tirade in its live blog commentary recounting the major conversations in the hearing. Just so you can read it for yourself, I’ve included the text from the Washington Post Live Blog. I expect more from a Texas congressman!
*** Taken from the Washington Post Live Blog ***
Four hours into the hearing, the third panel of speakers began. The speakers included three lawmakers: Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), one of two Muslims currently serving in Congress; Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.); and Rep. Al Green (D-Texas).
Carson asked Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca for any suggestions he might have on how the committee “might better structure procedures to protect civil rights while maintaining effectiveness” in dealing with Islamic extremism. Baca responded that he believed in “bias-free policing” and “public-trust policing,” adding, “I don’t believe you can judge one Muslim for the acts of another.”
A few moments later, Green spoke, getting to the heart of many of the Democratic objections to the hearing. Wielding a copy of the Constitution, Green read from the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
“It is the first of the first,” Green said. “The first. And I want you to know not only do I love America, I love the American people. … And because I love the American people, I want to say in clear and precise terms: I have no problem with discussing terrorist organizations which are rooted in religion, which is why I want to discuss the KKK.” Green went on to note that the KKK “requires that its members profess a belief in Jesus Christ. The KKK says that the Christian faith is the white man’s religion. The KKK says that Jews are people of the Antichrist. The KKK wants to preserve the true gospel, the gospel of the white man’s religion.”
Green’s point, he said, was that “it is not enough for things to be right; they must also look right.” “Why not include the KKK in this discussion today?” he asked, raising his voice. “Why not have a broader topic that does not focus on one religion? It doesn’t look right … when we focus on one religion to the exclusion of others. That’s the point being made.”
Green was countered by one of the witnesses, Melvin Bledsoe, whose son converted to Islam and became a radical in Yemen. “Today we are not talking at this hearing about KKK,” Bledsoe said. “We’re talking about extremist Islam, radicalization of American citizens. And I hope you get that day that you can be back in this hearing room. That’s my hope.”
Green also sparred with Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), who took issue with the notion of including the KKK in Thursday’s hearing. “You have not suffered a cross-burning,” Green said to Marino as Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the committee chairman, banged his gavel several times, demanding order.