THE PLANK DECEMBER 23, 2006
The case of Virginia representative and all-around class act Virgil Goode has been getting a lot of ink lately, and for good reason: The five-term Republican recently sent a letter to constituents expressing outrage that Keith Ellison, a new Democratic representative from Minnesota, was planning to use the Koran at his swearing in ceremony. JetBlue airlines gets satellite television channels, and I was fortunate enough to catch this exchange on Fox News between Goode and FNC's David Asman as I flew across the country:
ASMAN: One person--there was a Mormon individual who was sworn in, I believe as a senator, who brought a Bible within which was contained the Book of Mormon. So, precedent has been broken before on this, right?
GOODE: True. And that's not--I didn't say that in my letter. What I said in my letter was that I would be bringing the Bible to the swearing-in letter, I had--I did not subscribe to the Koran, and I would not be bringing the Koran into the chamber or swearing in on it on a ceremonial oath-taking.
ASMAN: Well, Congressman, we know you wouldn't be doing it. But the question is, would you prohibit Mr. Ellison, would you prohibit him from bringing a Koran into that ceremony?
GOODE: No, but I am for restricting immigration, so that we don`t have a majority of Muslims elected to the United States House of Representatives.
Nice to know that Goode doesn't "subscribe" to the Koran. And it's also worth pointing out that Ellison's family has been in this country for over 250 years. One of the news networks had a segment the same day on Goode's constituents, and as a whole they seemed broadly supportive of their Congressman. Which is a round-about way of saying I don't have much hope that the days of race-baiting are permanently behind us. --Isaac Chotiner