Last week I noted Rep. Bill Sali's (R-ID) incredibly bigoted remarks about the Hindu prayer offered in the Senate and serving with a Muslim (Keith Ellison, D-MN) in Congress. Long story short, he doesn't like it a bit and says that it "creates problems for the longevity of this country."
The statements quickly gained a lot of national and local attention, with a few news outlets in Idaho following up, giving Sali the opportunity to dig that hole just a little bit deeper. Sali being Sali, he of course obliged. Speaking with the Nampa Press Tribune, Sali got on the subject of multiculturalism:
Friday, Sali said multiculturalism is in conflict with the national motto "E Pluribus Unum," or "out of many, one." He said multiculturalism would mean "out of the many, the many."
"The question is, is multiculturalism good or not?" Sali said. "I don’t think the Founding Fathers were multicultural. Multiculturalism is the antithesis of (the motto)." Sali said the United States was founded on principles derived primarily from the Scriptures. And he said drifting away from those principles could put the country in danger.
"If we’re going to move away from those principles ... we better consider the blessings of God that have been bestowed on this country and the protective hand of God that’s been over this country," Sali said.
Oy. At Orcinus, Dave Neiwert discusses:
Actually, E Pluribus Unum is in fact a clear expression of multiculturalism, which is predicated on the idea that our democratic institutions and the values around them are what bind together all Americans from their many diverse walks of life. Simultaneously, it celebrates those differences as part of what makes us great.
More to the point: It's true, in fact, that the system devised by the Founding Fathers was, at its inception, the opposite of multiculturalism. They created a system of rule by white male Christians -- white-supremacist rule, if you will. The country, on the other hand, has been breaking away from that system and replacing it with a multicultural one that is consonant with its democratic and egalitarian values for the better part of a century now.
If Bill Sali is opposed to multiculturalism, he is opposed to citizenship for African Americans, which was not part of the Founders' design. He is opposed to suffrage for women. He's opposed to voting and civil rights for blacks and other minorities. He's opposed to citizenship for Asians and a host of other nonwhites.
That would be nonwhites and non Christians that Sali has a problem with. Which raises a whole separate problem for Sali in the great state of Idaho. See, a large portion of Idaho voters would fall into that non-Christian category, being Mormon. That includes the chair of Idaho's Democratic Party, who was so incensed by Sali's remarks that he has demanded Sali either apologize or resign:
"Religious freedom is a bedrock value of America � it is one of our core tenents. And yet, here we have Bill Sali, a United States congressman, showing his disdain for people who belong to religions other than his own. Today, Bill Sali is belittling Hindus and Muslims. Tomorrow, will he do the same with Roman Catholics and Buddists? Or perhaps Jews and Mormons? Either Sali is too dumb and insentitive to realize that his words are extremely hurtful to others or he really is a religious bigot. Either way, this man does not belong in the United States Congress," Stallings said.
Given Sali's follow-up comments to the Press Tribune, I think fair bet that he's dumb and insensitive and a religious bigot all rolled into one. You might have already guessed that no apology has yet issued forth from Sali. But just to show that Idaho is not a home to only small-minded bigots, Democratic challenger and netroots hero Larry Grant stepped up, and issued an apology on behalf of the state to Rep. Ellison:
"Idaho has been unfairly characterized as being intolerant for too long. Having one of our Congressmen make statements showing his religious and cultural intolerance only makes it more difficult to overcome that false perception."
"It is my hope," Grant said, "that Sali will someday realize how destructive and divisive his remarks were and offer his own apology to Congressman Ellison and the people of Idaho."