Sunday, March 13, 2011
March 9, 2011
A Republican Congressman, Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King of New York, is opening hearings today on radical Islam in the United States. This is almost certainly a bad idea.
This should remind Americans, who are old enough, of World War II when Japanese-Americans who had done absolutely nothing wrong were rounded up and put in camps for the duration of the war. Lots of Japanese-Americans--about 110,000 of them. They were, mind you, guiltless. They stayed in the camps until the war ended.
The First Amendment to the Constitution--good grief, is he quoting that again--is plain: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion...." Being Japanese-American, of course, was a matter of ethnicity, not religion, and so didn't count, I guess.
The Washington Post today quotes California Democratic Congressman Michael Honda, who as a child lived behind barbed wire in one of those World War II camps, as saying, "We have to show people that as Americans, we're not going to put up with this kind of nonsense." Quite right.
Let's not have hearings on a religion. Let's admit that most of them, all of them, include bad people and good ones. Okay?