For one who in print has blasted the overreaching authoritarian rhetoric associated with the words “war on terror,” the Dallas Morning News last week delivered some “eat your words” words, I guess.

Memo to copy desk: Scratch that column on civil liberties. Let’s come out for martial law.

Maybe facetiousness is uncouth when we’re told our “very way of life is at stake,” but two words came to mind when I read the article: “Humanist Manifesto.”

I have my own copy. In the 1980s, a reader delivered it to me personally. There, her forefinger prodded. See? In black and white: a godless sect’s designs on taking over America.

It is none of the sort. It is just a group or people stating an aversion to religion. Portraying it as a threat to godly Americans was to cry “wolf” at the howl of a snowblower.

And now, forefingers at the ready. In black and white: a Muslim “takeover plot.”

Never mind that the documents in question are from 1991. Never mind that the Muslim Brotherhood now is barely a shell of itself.

Never mind, also, that the “takeover” in question appears not to do with bombs or swords but with convincing people that Islam is the way. Actually, that type of street-corner quest sounds like the American way.

Not that the criminal charges in Dallas are about handing out Qurans. The Holy Land Foundation is accused of funneling money to Hamas, declared a terrorist group in 1995.

The point is that members aren’t being tried for trying to overturn our nation. It’s no crime to wish for a United States in which Islam “is victorious over all other religions.” The Constitution protects the right to wish.

Another point: When these people get to talking, they sound a lot like the Christian evangelicals next door.

What these Muslims want is a church-state under their precepts. Many members of America’s Christian right want the same thing under their precepts.

One wonders throughout our nation’s history how many klatches of believers have sat around prayerfully and decided that it was God’s will they run this country in his name. (MORE)


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