The Values Voters Summit 2012: Islamophobia for all

As Hail Columbia gets into the groove of regularly summarizing news on interfaith issues and religious liberty, here’s a roundup that covers some of the important issues in arguments over religious liberty, including some stories going back a few weeks:

The weekend of September 14-16 was the annual gathering where conservative Christians flex their political muscles to push the Republican party in their chosen direction: the Values Voters Summit.

You might remember the flap there last year as the wide field of potential Republican candidates courted conservative Christian voters while some speakers argued about whether members of the LDS church (Mormons) are or aren’t Christians – or Christian enough for conservatives to vote for. Now that Mitt’s won the nomination, the religious issues this year seemed to be an emphasis on Islamophobia, with a side of anti-Semitism.

Right Wing Watch did a comprehensive summary of the weekend, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State also reviewed some of the relevant religious issues.

Perhaps wisely in wake of last year’s dustup, the Romney campaign sent Paul Ryan. But with the overwhelming amount of sheer lies about Islam involved, Rachel Maddow blamed Ryan for attending an event that essentially centered on promoting hatred and religious intolerance.

Prominent among those peddling hatred were discredited pseudo-terrorist Kamal Saleem. A Mother Jones reporter tried to follow up with him about some of the factual inaccuracies in his works, and he was not forthcoming, to say the least.

Meanwhile, writers pointed out that waving the bloody shirt of the deaths in Libya would have disgusted the deceased and makes a mockery of what they worked for while alive.

In a wider perspective, a newly released book documents the Islamophobia industry, and an excerpt on Fox News’ role in stoking the fires of fear is available.

With all of that, it’s no surprise that plans for a mosque and cultural center to move into a vacant building are meeting opposition in Michigan.

The Family Research Council, an organization heavily involved in the VVS and peddling Islamophobia (including advancing some of the most outrageous ideas about how to make Islam illegal) was also the site of an attempted shooting earlier this year. That was abhorrent and appalling. In its wake, the FRC blamed the Southern Poverty Law Center for listing FRC as an anti-LGBT hate group as motivation for the shooting. They continued efforts to paint this as part of a horrific wave of anti-Christian intolerance, participating in the release of a compilation of incidents of discrimination against Christians.

Although they couldn’t access the whole document, Religion Dispatches read the incidents highlighted and found a completely different story. Real Clear Religion calculated that a person is six times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be a victim of anti-Christian religious discrimination, even if all the cases documented are being reported accurately, which is questionable.

At any rate, similar complaints about “religious hostility” and persecution of Christians fueled an entire panel at VVS, which led to calls for the federal government to investigate the TV show South Park for blasphemy against multiple religions.

And just for fun: Christine “I’m not a Witch” O’Donnell thinks she may owe it to her supporters to run for office again.


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Literata is a Wiccan who studies theaology and enjoys developing poetry and rituals. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Mandragora and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. She also blogs at Forging Futures and writes for her own site, Works of Literata, . When she's not leading Rose Coven, reading Tarot or communing with nature, she works on her Ph.D. dissertation in history and enjoys travel and spending time with her husband and four cats. Please note that everything Literata writes here is solely her own personal opinion. It does not represent the position of any organization with which she is affiliated.


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