Well, who knew soup could be so dangerous to democracy? At least, that’s what promoters of the growing and increasingly bizarre anti-Muslim hate campaign would seem to think.
This week right-wing blogger Pamela Geller called for a boycott of Campell’s Soup because Campbell’s Canada now sells soup certified as Halal by the Islamic Society of North America. You might remember our earlier report about Geller’s fear that Muslims are trying to “Islamicize” public schools in America. And last November she was the featured guest at a Republican fundraiser in McKinney just north of Dallas. (Members of the so-called “Patriot Host Committee” included Texas lawmakers like state Reps. Jodie Laubenberg of Parker and Ken Paxton of McKinney.)
Other anti-Muslim websites have taken up the anti-Campbell’s boycott cry as well. Even the Tea Party folks are promoting the hysteria:
“Campbell’s now making Muslim approved soups. Mmmmm Mmmmm not good. No more campbells for me.”
David Barton, the Texas-based WallBuilders pooh-bah who thinks government should promote his personal religious beliefs, has published an essay praising the "tea party" movement. No doubt, tea partiers include people from various walks of life who have what they consider perfectly reasonable concerns about government. Unfortunately, the tea party movement has also drawn some of its loudest voices from the extreme political fringes. But Barton pretends the tea party is just a big group of patriotic folks: "The Tea Parties represent much of what is right in America – citizens reacquainting themselves with the Constitution and holding their elected officials accountable to its standards." Well, maybe. But Barton should acknowledge -- and work to counter -- the ideological extremism that continues to infect the tea party movement. Or does he think these examples of tea party extremism also "represent what is right in America"? Read More
An odd mix, yes? Let's bring you up to speed. According to its website, Harmony Public Schools operates 25 K-12 college preparatory charter schools, with more than 12,000 students in all, that focus on math, science, engineering and computer technologies. These schools have received substantial praise for student achievement from the Texas Education Agency, recognition by former President George W. Bush and numerous other Republican elected officials, and major funding from mainstream foundations, including the Dell and Gates Foundations. Nevertheless, a newly formed group called West Texas Patriots is questioning the opening of a new Harmony Science Academy in Odessa this fall. The group's members claim that the schools have ties to radical Islam, noting links between the foundation that funds the schools and Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim and intellectual (who actually lives in northeastern Pennsylvania). Gulen appears to be a controversial figure (to some people, anyway), but there doesn't seem to be sufficient evidence to support the charge that he is an "Islamic extremist." Read More
As we have suggested in numerous posts about the Tea Party movement, hardcore Tea Partiers in Texas appear increasingly linked to the religious right. A new survey from the University of Washington's Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality also shows that hardcore Tea Partiers in Washington state -- identified in the survey as "true believers" who strongly approve of the Tea Party -- are significantly more conservative than voters generally. And it's not that they are more conservative just on issues such as opposing taxes and "big government." The survey shows that Tea Partiers are just fine with intrusive government so long as government is doing what they want. Read More
Political fire-breathing was center stage at "The Oil Palace" on Saturday in Tyler, the only Texas stop on FOX News show host Glenn Beck's traveling road show, his "Take America Back" tour. The event showed once again how religious-right rhetoric increasingly dominates the so-called "tea party movement." Beck and various Texas politicians provided plenty of that rhetoric. Read More