Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Memo to Congress : A Resolution for the New Year

Congress regularly issues Joint Resolutions, Concurrent Resolutions and Simple Resolutions. Most are none descript , while others are commemorative
… some are about people we may know , and some may be controversial

As we start a New Year, Congress needs to Resolve to respect other’s religions. History abounds with examples when religions have been co-opted into motivating acts of violence. Too often we see what happens in the absence of dialogue. Dialogue and religious freedom form the cure for all forms of violence that feed on religious differences. Respect for another’s religious beliefs can overcome fear and adversity.

In December, President Bush issued a Presidential Message : “America is a land of many beliefs, and our society is enriched by our Muslim citizens. The kindness, generosity, and goodwill displayed by American Muslims during this special occasion and throughout the year have contributed to the strength and vitality of our Nation.

Sadly, the House of Representatives when given an opportunity to acknowledge the Muslim celebration of Ramadan voted to reject an opportunity to promote acceptance of other’s religion. This form of religious intolerance only fosters bigotry.

It’s not just with Islam that politics and religion intersect.
We see it in the immigration debate where Catholics were bashed for their efforts to seek just treatment while providing assistance to the families affected by ICE arrests.
We saw it when Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu was initially denied an opportunity to speak at the College of St. Thomas.
We see it with the influence of the America Israel Education Federation (AIEF).

My wish for 2008 is that Congress will embrace and promote religious tolerance. We don’t need a Congress that promotes any religion … just religious tolerance. When a crisis arises (and we know it will), albiet it locally or globally, the bonds of friendship can be the dialogue that is needed to resolve conflict instead of inciting fear.

The following members of the House of Representatives opted not to promote tolerance (since religion and politics should not mix, the party afflation is not listed) :
Robert Alderholt (AL)
Gary Ackerman (NY)
Todd Akin (MO)
J. Gresham Barrett (SC)
Jo Bonner (AL)
Mary Bono (CA)
Paul Broun (GA)
Ginny Brown-Waite (FL)
Michael Burgess (TX)
Steve Buyer (IN)
John Carter (TX)
Yvette Clarke (NY)
K. Michael Conaway (TX)
John Conyers(MI)
Nathan Deal (GA)
Diana DeGette (CO)
Terry Everett (AL)
Mary Fallin (OK)
Randy Forbes (VA)
Barney Frank (MA)
Trent Franks (AZ)
Scott Garrett (NJ)
Louie Gohmert (TX)
Virgil Goode, Jr. (VA)
Kay Granger (TX)
Alcee Hastings (FL)
Robin Hayes (NC)
Rush Holt (NJ)
Sam Johnson (TX)
Jim Jordan (OH)
Steve King (IO)
Doug Lamborn (CO)
Barbara Lee (CA)
Kenny Marchant (TX)
Jim McDermott (WA)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
Jeff Miller (FL)
Randy Neugebauer (TX)
Donald Payne (NJ)
Tom Price (GA)
Mike Rogers (AL)
Jan Schakowsky (IL)
Allyson Schwartz (PA)
Bobby Scott (VA)
Mark Souder (IN)
Fortney Pete Stark (CA)
Tom Tancredo (CO)
Mac Thornberry (TX)
Todd Tiahrt (KS)
Timothy Walberg (MI)
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL)
Zach Wamp (TN)
Dave Weldon (FL)
Lynn Woolsey (CA)
Lynn Westmoreland (GA)
Bill Young (FL)
Don Young (AK)

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