Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho

Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho, has taken a beating in the last two days from the left-wing blogosphere and the Old Media for his criticism of the Hindu invocation offered this summer before the U.S. Senate and for his caution regarding America’s first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, D-Minn.

According to American Family Radio and OneNewsNow, Sali said Hindu prayers and Muslim congressmen “are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” and a Hindu prayer is a prayer to “a different god” which “creates problems for the longevity of this country.”

The so-called voices of tolerance have, as is their wont, abandoned all pretext of rational discourse and immediately resorted to vicious name-calling and the politics of personal destruction.

Sali has been called everything from a “brainless bigot” to “stark raving mad” to “ugly and dangerous” to “spectacularly stupid,” and he has been compared to a “deranged person shouting at pigeons on a street corner” by hate-filled, vitriolic left-wing bloviators on blogs such as The Carpetbagger Report and Daily Kos.

Certainly the role of religion in American history is worth dialogue and debate. But you’d never know it by listening to the screeching voices of secular fundamentalists, who, in their hatred for all things Christian, don’t want to discuss but only to destroy anyone who would dare defend the historic role of Judeo-Christian values in America’s public life.

Sali’s concerns eminently justified

Despite the Christophobic firestorm directed at Rep. Sali, he is exactly right with regard to both of his concerns.

Hindus believe in a virtually infinite number of gods and worship cows, monkeys and snakes. Our Founding Fathers, on the other hand, believed in one God: The Creator God revealed in the Old and New Testaments, the God who is the source of our inalienable civil rights and liberties.

As a people, we pledge allegiance to “one nation under God,” not “one nation under gods.” Hindus are certainly free in America to worship as many gods and animals as they want to, but we must not be deluded into thinking that they pray to or worship the same God who is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence.

Congressional invocations are not just ceremonial in nature, but substantive. They are one of the crucial ways in which our leaders seek the assistance of the God who granted us such signal blessings at the time of our founding and for more than 200 years since.

For the sake of our country’s future and continued prosperity, it’s important that we maintain the custom of the Founders, so the God we call upon in congressional invocations continues to be the God of George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.

Islam and public policy

Further, Rep. Sali’s caution with regard to Islam and public policy is wise. The citizens of Minnesota certainly have the right to send anybody to Washington they wish, but when you examine nations whose public institutions have been shaped by Islamic politicians, you invariably find no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, no freedom of conscience, no fundamental rights for women and no freedom for ordinary citizens to choose their own leaders.

It is still a capital offense in 22 Muslim nations to convert from Islam to Christianity. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal even to worship Christ in public, and officials there continue to confiscate Bibles, crucifixes and Stars of David even from tourists who bring them into the country.

If an Islamic-inspired worldview were to shape America’s public policy, this country would become a far different land than the one bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers.

It would no longer be the “sweet land of liberty” of which we sing but something tyrannical and repressive. That’s not the kind of nation the American people want, and Rep. Sali is right on target in issuing his word of caution.

Hinduism and public policy

India, the prime example of a society shaped by Hinduism, is a land of wrenching poverty and mind-numbing filth and disease, which is why Mother Theresa, animated by the Spirit of Christ, went there in the first place.

The gods of Hinduism have created a culture of severe and intractable class divisions, which continues to treat large swaths of its own population as “untouchables” and confines them to a lifetime of humiliation and destitution simply because of the circumstances of their birth. Laws to the contrary have been unable to alleviate this wretched demeaning and degrading of people made in the image of God.

So it’s worth asking the serious question: Do we want our congressional leadership to move us even one step toward a culture shaped either by Islam or Hinduism? The answer, for any clear-headed and right-thinking person, must be an unequivocal and emphatic “No.”

The question then is not whether Sen. Harry Reid has the right to ask a Hindu to offer an invocation, for clearly he does, nor whether the people of Minnesota have the right to send a Muslim to Congress, for clearly they do. And despite hysterical accusations to the contrary, Rep. Sali has never questioned those rights.

The question is not whether they have the right to do what they did but whether they were smart and wise to do so.

Certainly in our public discourse there must be a place for reflection here, and to ask whether their actions represent prudence and whether, as a matter of political wisdom, these things are good or bad for America and its future.

A defining controversy

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of this controversy, for it is a controversy over the very essence and nature of the American republic. Issues are at stake here which, however they are resolved, have enormous implications for the future – or “longevity,” to use Rep. Sali’s word – of this nation.

We will resolve this conflict either by taking a step toward the wisdom and faith of the Founding Fathers or by taking another step toward an abyss of paganism, darkness and inevitable destruction.

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Bryan Fischer is executive director of Idaho Values Alliance. He has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Stanford University, and a graduate degree in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Bryan is also a columnist for the Idaho Statesman.

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