An Open Letter to George W. Bush: Speak Out Against Bigotry

Opposition is mounting to the "Burn a Koran Day" scheduled for September 11th in Florida. President Obama today condemned the event, urging Pastor Terry Jones to cancel. General David Petraeus said it could harm our troops,Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it unrepresentative of Americans.Attorney General Eric Holder called it "idiotic and dangerous," and the Vatican has called the planned demonstration "outrageous and grave."

Condemning this event is a start, but it’s critical that we don’t lose sight of the big picture. There have been too many incidents of vandalism and anti-Muslim activity in recent days all over the country. 

We need our leaders to speak out against ALL of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that is pervading our political discourse. Former President George W. Bush and members of his administration spoke out for tolerance and freedom of religion during his presidency. 

They could make a difference by speaking out now. Will they?

Human Rights First launched an open letter to former President Bush last week. Here’s what we—and over 9,000 of our supporters—have to ask of the former president:

 

Dear President Bush,

 During your presidency, you stood up repeatedly against bigotry and hate and urged all Americans to do the same.

In 2002, you said, “America rejects bigotry. We reject every act of hatred against people of Arab background or Muslim faith. America values and welcomes peaceful people of all faiths—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and many others. Every faith is practiced and protected here, because we are one country.”

Thank you for your leadership and your principled opposition to bigotry.

Right now, there’s a dangerous wave of intolerance sweeping the country. It began with the debate over the “Ground Zero Mosque,” but it is no longer only about an Islamic center in Manhattan. There are anti-mosque rallies taking place around the country, reports of arson and gun shots at a mosque in Tennessee, the Internet is filled with bigoted speech, and a church in Florida is planning a Koran burning on September 11th.

To stem this tide, people must speak out in favor of the American values of tolerance, diversity, and religious freedom. Your words will have added weight.

Please lend your voice to the defense of American values.

Thank you.

 

You can add your name to the letter here.  

 

 

10 Reasons NOT to Burn a Koran--and How to Fight Bigotry

Opposition is mounting to the "Burn a Koran Day" scheduled for September 11th in Florida. General David Petraeus said it could harm our troops, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it unrepresentative of Americans. Attorney General Eric Holder called it "idiotic and dangerous," and the Vatican has called the planned demonstration "outrageous and grave."

But the event planners, Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center, are moving forward in spite of the outcry. In fact, they posted five MORE reasons to burn a Koran on their blog just yesterday.

Human Rights First has compiled our own list--we asked our supporters to submit reasons NOT to burn a Koran. We received over 5,000 responses. Below is the Top 10 list:

Ten Reasons NOT to Burn a Koran

 

  1. Book burning! Do I really need to say why?
  2. By not burning a Koran I'm not burning a bridge to communication.
  3. Burning the Koran because of extremist Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists makes no more sense than burning the Bible because of the Ku Klux Klan or Nazis.
  4. Hatred breeds more hatred and that is not going to solve any of our problems.
  5. That type of hate-filled religious intolerance has no place anywhere in the world, and is especially abhorrent in a country where religious freedom is one of the pillars of its foundation.
  6. It's a sacred book to millions of people. We should respect all people's beliefs.
  7. It will only inflame. I'd like people to understand each other.
  8. I may not believe in the words of the Koran but I would never burn one out of respect for my fellow humans who do.
  9. Support our troops!
  10. We must learn to coexist. We cannot continue to live in fear and suspicion.
You can make a stand with us. Show the fearmongers and the world that Americans don't stand for bigotry by ordering your free "Americans Don't Burn Books" bookmark (you just need to cover shipping and handling).

Help us urge other leaders--including former President George W. Bush--to speak out against bigotry. He and members of his administration spoke out for tolerance and freedom of religion during his presidency. George W. Bush could make a difference by speaking out now.

We need everyone to speak out--Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Join our efforts--get your bookmark and carry it proudly!

Dear Marty, The First Amendment is Not Optional

The Anti-Mosque That Ain’t a Mosque crowd seems to be going all Sharia on America’s ass. You’d think the possibility – not the certainty mind you – of building a Muslim community center amongst the strip clubs and bars of Manhattan is a worse offense than knocking the WTC down to begin with.

We have idiots closing community centers in Kentucky ostensibly for lack of parking because according to the property owner, Muslims can’t be trusted to adhere to no parking signs. Florida’s Dove World Outreach Center, a violation of truth in advertising laws if there ever was one, is reaching out to Muslims by burning Korans. Now, New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz says Muslims are unworthy of First Amendment protection, presumably regardless of whether they are citizens or not.

Marty the Magnificent Sez…
Says Marty the Magnificent, “…frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”

Gee Marty, my gut – hell, every fiber of my being – tells me you would abuse First Amendment protections too. No, wait! You already have by suggesting the First Amendment is an option like the automatic transmission on your Ford Crown Vic. The same goes for your toxic brethren like the book burning “Doves” and the spreading community of knotheads elsewhere around the country.

Marty, can you not see the irony of exercising your First Amendment rights by saying someone else should be deprived of theirs? Screeching Doves, can you not see the same by the light of your Constitutional bonfire?

Whether Muslims “raise a fuss” is their call, not yours. To speak or not to speak are both protected rights. Besides, my gut also tells me that condemning their “brotherhood” wouldn’t make one iota of difference in your opinion.

The Lonesome Doves and Tim McVey
And Lonesome Doves, would you be burning Bibles if an inbred clan of Timothy McVey wannabes had rammed the WTC with an airplane instead? I’m an atheist and I’d be quite happy if someone burned all the holy books, regardless of whatever holier than though sect dreamt them up.

But wait! No, I wouldn’t! I believe in the First Amendment.

It isn’t optional because I despise you and what you’re saying. It isn’t optional because some lunkhead’s book isn’t as holy as you believe yours is. It isn’t optional because your gut tells you they don’t value human life. It isn’t optional because they are Muslim, Baptist, or Druid nor because some of their members were bat shit crazy and wanted to kill people for things like, gee, I dunno, disrespecting the Koran (see David Petraeus). In this country, people can say what they want and worship or not worship as they see fit – despite cockamamie faux “wars on Christmas” or people being gay in the privacy of their own homes or carbuncles on the ass of humanity who think their shit is infinitely less odoriferous than others are.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT IS NOT OPTIONAL!

…and the day it becomes so is the day we lose the privilege of calling ourselves American.

 

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Dear Marty, The First Amendment is Not Optional

The Anti-Mosque That Ain’t a Mosque crowd seems to be going all Sharia on America’s ass. You’d think the possibility – not the certainty mind you – of building a Muslim community center amongst the strip clubs and bars of Manhattan is a worse offense than knocking the WTC down to begin with.

We have idiots closing community centers in Kentucky ostensibly for lack of parking because according to the property owner, Muslims can’t be trusted to adhere to no parking signs. Florida’s Dove World Outreach Center, a violation of truth in advertising laws if there ever was one, is reaching out to Muslims by burning Korans. Now, New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz says Muslims are unworthy of First Amendment protection, presumably regardless of whether they are citizens or not.

Marty the Magnificent Sez…
Says Marty the Magnificent, “…frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”

Gee Marty, my gut – hell, every fiber of my being – tells me you would abuse First Amendment protections too. No, wait! You already have by suggesting the First Amendment is an option like the automatic transmission on your Ford Crown Vic. The same goes for your toxic brethren like the book burning “Doves” and the spreading community of knotheads elsewhere around the country.

Marty, can you not see the irony of exercising your First Amendment rights by saying someone else should be deprived of theirs? Screeching Doves, can you not see the same by the light of your Constitutional bonfire?

Whether Muslims “raise a fuss” is their call, not yours. To speak or not to speak are both protected rights. Besides, my gut also tells me that condemning their “brotherhood” wouldn’t make one iota of difference in your opinion.

The Lonesome Doves and Tim McVey
And Lonesome Doves, would you be burning Bibles if an inbred clan of Timothy McVey wannabes had rammed the WTC with an airplane instead? I’m an atheist and I’d be quite happy if someone burned all the holy books, regardless of whatever holier than though sect dreamt them up.

But wait! No, I wouldn’t! I believe in the First Amendment.

It isn’t optional because I despise you and what you’re saying. It isn’t optional because some lunkhead’s book isn’t as holy as you believe yours is. It isn’t optional because your gut tells you they don’t value human life. It isn’t optional because they are Muslim, Baptist, or Druid nor because some of their members were bat shit crazy and wanted to kill people for things like, gee, I dunno, disrespecting the Koran (see David Petraeus). In this country, people can say what they want and worship or not worship as they see fit – despite cockamamie faux “wars on Christmas” or people being gay in the privacy of their own homes or carbuncles on the ass of humanity who think their shit is infinitely less odoriferous than others are.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT IS NOT OPTIONAL!

…and the day it becomes so is the day we lose the privilege of calling ourselves American.

 

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Dear Marty, The First Amendment is Not Optional

The Anti-Mosque That Ain’t a Mosque crowd seems to be going all Sharia on America’s ass. You’d think the possibility – not the certainty mind you – of building a Muslim community center amongst the strip clubs and bars of Manhattan is a worse offense than knocking the WTC down to begin with.

We have idiots closing community centers in Kentucky ostensibly for lack of parking because according to the property owner, Muslims can’t be trusted to adhere to no parking signs. Florida’s Dove World Outreach Center, a violation of truth in advertising laws if there ever was one, is reaching out to Muslims by burning Korans. Now, New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz says Muslims are unworthy of First Amendment protection, presumably regardless of whether they are citizens or not.

Marty the Magnificent Sez…
Says Marty the Magnificent, “…frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”

Gee Marty, my gut – hell, every fiber of my being – tells me you would abuse First Amendment protections too. No, wait! You already have by suggesting the First Amendment is an option like the automatic transmission on your Ford Crown Vic. The same goes for your toxic brethren like the book burning “Doves” and the spreading community of knotheads elsewhere around the country.

Marty, can you not see the irony of exercising your First Amendment rights by saying someone else should be deprived of theirs? Screeching Doves, can you not see the same by the light of your Constitutional bonfire?

Whether Muslims “raise a fuss” is their call, not yours. To speak or not to speak are both protected rights. Besides, my gut also tells me that condemning their “brotherhood” wouldn’t make one iota of difference in your opinion.

The Lonesome Doves and Tim McVey
And Lonesome Doves, would you be burning Bibles if an inbred clan of Timothy McVey wannabes had rammed the WTC with an airplane instead? I’m an atheist and I’d be quite happy if someone burned all the holy books, regardless of whatever holier than though sect dreamt them up.

But wait! No, I wouldn’t! I believe in the First Amendment.

It isn’t optional because I despise you and what you’re saying. It isn’t optional because some lunkhead’s book isn’t as holy as you believe yours is. It isn’t optional because your gut tells you they don’t value human life. It isn’t optional because they are Muslim, Baptist, or Druid nor because some of their members were bat shit crazy and wanted to kill people for things like, gee, I dunno, disrespecting the Koran (see David Petraeus). In this country, people can say what they want and worship or not worship as they see fit – despite cockamamie faux “wars on Christmas” or people being gay in the privacy of their own homes or carbuncles on the ass of humanity who think their shit is infinitely less odoriferous than others are.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT IS NOT OPTIONAL!

…and the day it becomes so is the day we lose the privilege of calling ourselves American.

 

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

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