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Christian-supremacist legislators seek to force their beliefs on the public

Columbus Dispatch
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OKLAHOMA CITY – I don’t know if readers of the Sunday edition of The Fat City Times-Truncheon (aka The Oklahoman) caught the inky irony, but right above an editorial cartoon highlighting the death of “Sideshow Fred” Phelps -- leader of the virulently anti-humanity, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church -- was a column by virulently Islamophobic Republican legislator John Bennett  headlined “Religious viewpoints coming under attack.”

Bennett is a controversial figure in the legislator and leader of the House’s Counterterrorism Caucus – the group that tried to ban the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ executive director Adam Soltani from attending a seminar last fall titled “Iran, Hezbollah and the Drug Cartels: Counterterrorism Considerations.” A real mensch, he's not.

Anyway, Red Dirt Report highlighted the column Soltani wrote in the wake of this incident headlined “Counterterrorism caucus spreads prejudice.” Bennett was the hostile ringleader in that incident.

And attending today’s first CAIR-OK-sponsored “Media Lunch & Learn,” which is a chance for all members of the local media to come to the CAIR-OK office and enjoy some delicious Middle Eastern food and talk about Islam and its rightful place in American society, all questions from the media were answered. How refreshing. Try calling Rep. Bennett's office and get him to answer your hard-hitting questions. 

And you can bet Bennett and his ilk would stay as far away as they could from Soltani and the CAIR crew in OKC. That's too bad. They could actually learn a thing or two if they weren't so hostile to the truth about what CAIR is trying to accomplish in Oklahoma.

In fact, when Soltani recounted his experience attending the counterterrorism caucus event, he was struck by the absolute hate and contempt directed his way by presumed Christians, including Bennett. As he told our group today - "If looks could kill, I'd be dead." Did Jesus shoot the Samaritan woman at the well "looks that could kill" just because he was a Jew?

And yet Bennett, a member of Oklahoma's vocal Christian majority, not only moans about the alleged "Muslim menace," but writes about the Ten Commandments being removed from a school in his district. In the prominently-placed column he also addresses the issue of kids not being able to pray before games or over a public address system. Boo hoo! And yet a Muslim advocacy group is painted as a terrorist organization wanting to destroy the American way of life? With Bennett, it's as if they exhumed and reanimated the rotten corpse of Joe McCarthy. 

And so now the bullying Bennett and his sanctimonious disciples in the House are gleefully heralding the passage in the House of HB 2422 – the “Religious Freedom Antidiscrimination Act.” This, they say, will – if passed and signed into law –  “prohibit schools from discriminating against speech simply because it contains a prayerful component freely chosen by the student, one that invokes a deity.”

Okay. We get it. You and your fellow Christian supremacists are feeling put-upon again. As they say in Russia - "Crimea river."

Continuing, Bennett said: “When we passed HB 2422, opponents argued that religious discrimination isn’t happening in Oklahoma. This could not be more disingenuous.”

Meanwhile, Bennett and his fearmongering Counterterrorism Caucus, have, as Soltani noted in his article “aided in creating an atmosphere of fear and hysteria surrounding adherents of an entire faith community.”

Where is Bennett’s proof that the Muslim Brotherhood is operating in Oklahoma and wanting to replace the Constitution with Sharia law? Why is Bennett focusing on a nonexistent problem? Soltani asks in his column, which originally appeared in the Oklahoma Gazette. We suspect its hate speech crafted by Frank Gaffney and other raving neocons.

And we’ll take it a step further: Would John Bennett defend the rights on non-Christians, including Muslims and atheists? We know how he feels about Oklahoma’s gay community or people who don’t share his beliefs or his horrid political philosophy.

Oh sure, the Bennetts of Oklahoma will wrap themselves in the flag and try to position a large, glowing cross over their right shoulder during a photo op, but we know better.

And that editorial cartoon in the paper on Sunday seems to have a lot in common with this saint from Sallisaw, particularly in regards to the drawing of the Westboro acolyte wearing the “God Hates You” T-shirt and holding the “Rot in Hell” placard.

 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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