Here we go. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, has yet to take office, and already the ugliness begins.

Mr. Ellison plans to bring his Koran with him on Jan. 4 when he takes the oath of office. The Koran is the Muslim holy book. If Christians and Jews can bring their Bibles, why shouldn’t Mr. Ellison be able to bring his Koran?

The answer given this week by Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode was simple enough: Because Mr. Goode doesn’t believe in the Koran, Mr. Ellison doesn’t have any right to either. I kid you not. . .

Where in the Bible does Mr. Goode find his basis for such hatred? And how in the world does Mr. Goode think we will ever fight terrorism, especially terrorism by Muslims, if we do not have the support, cooperation and trust of leaders in the Muslim community?

If we are viewed, at the highest levels, as damning all those who believe in the Koran, who will take our side? Don’t we want to encourage Muslims to believe in the political process and participate in it?

National Islamic groups have, understandably, condemned Goode’s remarks and called on Goode to apologize.

“Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office. There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry,” Corey Saylor of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told reporters this week.

“The Congressman is not apologizing,” his press secretary, Linwood Duncan has announced.

Apparently, he thinks he has nothing to apologize for.

Merry Christmas Mr. Goode. Perhaps you’ll take some time to open that Bible of yours, instead of using it as a weapon of hate. And when you do, you might learn something about how to treat a new colleague who, like you, is ready to pledge on all that is holy to him to uphold our Constitution and laws.

In the meantime, it should not just be Islamic groups who are standing up for the true spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas.


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