To the editor:
I happen to think that public criticism of other people's religious beliefs and actions can be useful, legitimate, and even politically necessary. However, open religious bigotry is wrong.
But how do you draw the line? Here are some clues:
¢ Valid criticism is always limited to clearly identified statements or actions of specific persons or organizations.
¢ Any critical statement that applies categorically to all members of a religious group is bigoted on its face.
By that standard Cal Thomas is a long-standing, multiple-repeat-offender, anti-Muslim propagandist.
Here some examples from over 50 anti-Muslim Cal Thomas columns published in the Journal-World:
¢ "Anyone who has studied Islamic societies : knows segregation and subjugation of non-Muslims is the norm, not the behavior of an 'extremist fringe.'" (Jan. 9, 2008).
¢ "How can the president say that we all worship the same God when Muslims deny the divinity of Jesus." (Oct. 10, 2007)
¢ "Muslims are building mosques (in the U.S.) faster than coffee shop chains. The Saudis, who teach the most violent strain of Islam, underwrite most of them." (May, 11, 2007)
¢ ": suicide bombers go through stages : The most important stage is conforming them to the (Muslim) ideology." (quoted with approval, Aug. 21, 2006)
¢ "Israel's enemies are all of the same piece. : There are no 'moderates,' at least none who have the power to make peace." (July 19, 2006)
It is hard to understand why such hateful remarks are being published in a generally tolerant community like Lawrence that includes many Muslims.