Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 20, 2010

THIS WEEK IN GOD.... First up from the God Machine this week is a report from radical TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, which religious right activists and many on the far-right quickly embraced, but which didn't stand up well to scrutiny.

CBN reported, in an apparent "exclusive," that five Muslim-American soldiers at Fort Jackson in South Carolina "were arrested just before Christmas and are in custody. The five men were part of the Arabic Translation program at the base." If true, it's the kind of development that would likely have broad political and policy consequences. Except, as Marc Ambinder noted, CBN appears to have gotten it wrong.

[T]he Army says it's not true. No one has been arrested. The National Security Council was not aware of any arrests, a spokesperson said.

After the Ft. Hood massacre, the Army increased its counterintelligence presence at Ft. Jackson, a training base, because it is home a large number of non-citizen Muslims recruited under the Army's "09-Lima" translation program.

A few months ago, special agents from the Army's Criminal Investigation Division opened an investigation after receiving a tip that some Muslims at the base had communicated with others overseas, and that a group of Muslim non-citizens had tried to poison other soldiers. That investigation is open -- but no evidence has been found to support the tips, according to the Army.

In a follow-up piece, Ambinder added that the CBN report was "completely wrong," adding, "And in its wrongness, it's damaging because it provides fortification for those who believe that Muslims are infiltrating the ranks of the U.S. Army and intend to poison good Christian soldiers. Indeed, I detect a bit of religious competition in CBN's reporting. After all, it is CBN."

Also from the God Machine this week:

* Gallup reported this week on the states with the highest and lowest rates of church attendance. The results fell largely along regional lines: "Mississippians were the most frequent churchgoers in the nation in 2009, as was the case in 2008, with 63% of residents attending weekly or almost every week. Nine of the top 10 states in church attendance are in the South; the only non-Southern state is Utah, with 56% frequent attendance. At the other end of the spectrum, 23% of Vermont residents attend church frequently, putting it at the bottom of the list of churchgoing states. Other states at the bottom of the church attendance list are in either New England or the West."

* Nearly four out of 10 Texans believe in young-earth creationism, and nearly a third believe humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

* It's always heartening to see Americans' sense of decency shine: "Last week, the Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Nashville, TN was vandalized with anti-Muslim graffiti....The hate crime came after a local news station aired a controversial, inflammatory report about another local Muslim community. Since the hate crime at Al-Farooq, however, there has been 'outpouring of neighborly support' for the mosque, with neighbors helping to clean up the graffiti.... At least 150 people -- 'including spiritual leaders from several faiths' -- also went to an open house at the Islamic Center of Nashville on Saturday to learn more about the Islamic faith and pledge 'support for local Muslims in the wake of last week's defacement' of Al-Farooq."

Steve Benen 9:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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Comments

Way to turn jack-assery into bridge-building, Nashville. That little story made me feel a lot better about Tea-Bag Town.

Posted by: Chrenson on February 20, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Although the station's website has apparently closed off comments to the Nashville / Islam story, Newsboy Nick's Facebook shows that many of his viewers seem quite unhappy with the way it was done...

http://ko-kr.facebook.com/pages/NC5_NickBeres/250827361639

...especially after that second part aired and they realized how they'd been duped.

Posted by: here4tehbeer on February 20, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

every time i see TWIG, this song plays thru my head -- and sometimes the computer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f6wzGpFKUQ

Posted by: neill on February 20, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

* Nearly four out of 10 Texans believe in young-earth creationism, and nearly a third believe humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

Ah, Texas. Gotta love 'em.

Posted by: LL on February 20, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

The news about Texas floors me. Fundamentalists may be succeeding in driving basic science underground in that state. Are kids getting their information from reruns of the Flintstones?

Posted by: coldhotel on February 20, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, only 56% of people in Utah go to church frequently? Perhaps there is still some hope for humanity.

Posted by: N.Wells on February 20, 2010 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

It's ok if my fellow Texans believe in young earth creationism...it's the belief in the validity of attacking the IRS, secession, and that the only good liberal is a dead liberal that worries me.

Posted by: Jay on February 20, 2010 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

If we don't work for the guvmint, liberry, Planed Parrothood (Texas speak)...we might stand a chance Jay.
My better half and I are thinking of leaving before the next Perry reign. We just don't know where to go. The entire country seems screwed right now.

Posted by: whichwitch on February 20, 2010 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

steve wrote that church attendence fell along regional lines...i'd emphasise that it falls along red/blue lines...all of the top 10 states are bright red, while eight of the bottom ten are deep blue [purple nevada and red alaska being the exceptions]..of the 17 states with the highest attendence only iowa isn't red..of the 15 lowest, the only red state other than ak is wyoming

Posted by: dj spellchecka on February 20, 2010 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

* Nearly four out of 10 Texans believe in young-earth creationism, and nearly a third believe humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

And not only do they vote and carry guns everywhere but they also determine what kind of textbooks schools in the rest of the country are likely to use...

Posted by: exlibra on February 20, 2010 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Nearly four out of 10 Texans believe in young-earth creationism, and nearly a third believe humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time".

If I were King, I would command that NASA be removed from Texas.

Posted by: JW on February 20, 2010 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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