Last week, Muslim Capitol Day was celebrated at the State House in Austin, Texas. To say it was a disaster is an understatement. First, people protested the event:
Then, during a press conference, a woman grabbed the microphone and declared, “The false prophet Muhammad! Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God it will not dominate Texas!”
Perhaps the worst reaction, however, came from Freshman Representative Molly White, who put up this Facebook post:
Responses to her post ranged – some were supportive, but most were extremely negative. Some of the better examples include:
- Faith E: As a proud Texan american MUSLIM, I will never renounce or apologize for anything that I am not personally responsible for, nor have I taken any role in, nor do I identify myself with anyone with grotesque misconstrued beliefs, including your misconstrued propaganda beliefs. But I do require you to apologize for inciting religious hatred. Not very Christian nor AMERICAN of you. It’s disgusting how you are instigating and trying to put people against each other for political achievement. Jesus would be ashamed. Texas should be ashamed. We are tax paying law abiding citizens that actually have goals in life and most likely have a hand in paying your pathetic pay check! You are selfish and arrogant, if u think we owe you anything, and also, if anything, you are exactly like what you claim to hate! No difference!
- Joe A:On behalf of my fellow Christians, I renounce Molly White.
- Heather S: Have you and all Christians publicly denounced the KKK?
White, however, refused to back down, adding in a later comment:
I do not apologize for my comments above. If you love America, obey our laws and condemn Islamic terrorism then I embrace you as a fellow American. If not, then I do not.
Additionally, White stated:
Folks, I am banning users that are insulting and not in my District. I do not apologize for my comments above. If you love America, obey our laws and condemn Islamic terrorism then I embrace you as a fellow American. If not, then I do not.
However, the next day, Rep. White’s tune had changed, when she told a group of students that, “Sometimes things get taken out of context and get blown completely out of proportion.” During an interview shortly afterwards, she cut off a reporter in the middle of a question and walked away.
In response to the Facebook status and the preceding event, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote a letter to the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, asking if White’s actions were ethical:
Has Rep. White violated any House rules in creating such an internal office policy that is selectively being enforced to discriminate against certain religious minorities trying to meet with her or her staff? Are House members prohibited from making constituents take oaths before meeting with their elected representatives or house staff? Or, are you aware of any other ethical breaches that may have occurred because of these statements?
In a statement, Speaker Straus pushed against White’s statements, though never explicitly condemning them:
“The Texas Capitol belongs to all the people of this state, and legislators have a responsibility to treat all visitors just as we expect to be treated — with dignity and respect. Anything else reflects poorly on the entire body and distracts from the very important work in front of us.”
This is a case of a Facebook fail representing real world stupidity. The statement and actions of Representative White are obviously deeply offensive on multiple levels: peaceful Muslims shouldn’t be confused with terrorist ones anymore than Christians should be confused with Timothy McVeigh. I’ll also add that, as a Jew, I deeply resent the use of the Isreali flag; clearly, that has nothing to do with anything.
Getting back to the social media fail: the issue isn’t White’s use of Facebook, it’s her judgement. The Facebook status is simply an extension of Representative White’s complete lack of intelligence, tact and common decency.