First up from the God Machine this week is a look at some unsettling developments in Irving, Texas, where an anti-Muslim social-media post is raising serious concerns about the intentions of local right-wing activists.
Irving, a Dallas suburb, recently made international headlines when a local Muslim high-school student was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. Now, however, an even more striking incident has put the community back in the spotlight. TPM noted this week:
The leader of a group of armed anti-Muslim protesters in Texas posted the addresses of dozens of local Muslims and “Muslim sympathizer(s)” to Facebook on Tuesday.David Wright III was behind an armed protest Saturday outside of a mosque in Irving, Texas by a group calling itself the “Bureau on American Islamic Relations,” according to The Dallas Morning News.Wright prefaced the list of addresses, which appeared to be copied over from a city document, by writing that those named “stood up for Sharia tribunals.”
To the extent that reality matters, none of the listed individuals “stood up for Sharia tribunals.”
It wasn’t altogether clear what the unofficial “Bureau on American Islamic Relations” and its allies intended to do with the list, though a dozen or so members of the group held an armed protest against the “Islamization of America” outside the Irving Islamic Center last weekend.
The Dallas Morning News reported on Thanksgiving, however, that the list of “Muslim names and addresses has been removed from the armed group’s page, and BAIR spokesman David Wright’s personal Facebook page is either down or blocked.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings talked to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes this week and denounced the “Bureau on American Islamic Relations” effort. “We have got a great Muslim community, have met with many imams and really the whole faith-based community is lifting our Muslim brothers and sisters up in this time,” the mayor said. Rawlings added that the right-wing activists are “out there in the fringe” and just “a blip on the screen.”
A counter-rally in support of respect and diversity is scheduled for today.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* Politico reported this week, that white Christians “now make up less than half of the U.S. population, largely receding from the majorities of most demographic groups, with one notable exception: the Republican Party.” Pointing to data from the Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape survey, nearly a decade ago, 55% of Americans were white Christians, but now that total is 46%. The share of white Christians identifying as Republican, however, “has remained steady.”
* Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) recently raised eyebrows touting his idea of creating a government agency to disseminate “Judeo-Christian values” overseas. This week, however, the Republican presidential hopeful said the idea probably isn’t necessary after all.