This turkey of a story has more legs than ……well, than a real turkey has drumsticks! Right wing watch caught this from the American Family’s Bryan Fischer (he’s also afraid of Mormons as well as Muslims) who was prominent in Rick Perry’s political evangelism event earlier this year.
This is not a passing aberration; this turkey story. Rather this is part if a larger issue, a core theme, a central topic in the 2012 GOP political debate, and which was part of the 2008 and 2010 election cycles also. Way back in 2007, Romeny for example, made it clear he would not have a Muslim in his cabinet if elected .
To correct the inaccuracies that Fischer is pushing – all turkeys are slaughtered the SAME. There is NO PRAYER said over them, and they are not labeled as being different, because they are NOT different from the way non-religious designated meat is always slaughtered – (and not just turkeys) . Any turkeys that are subsequently labeled Halal – OR KOSHER – have the pertinent religious requirements satisfied for such labeling at the retail distribution source, where the labeling is then, appropriately, noted.
In the case of Butterball turkeys, Butterball indicates this occurs primarily in other countries to which they sell turkeys; there are more than 20 other countries to which Butterball exports this American ag product.
Fischer was a prominent speaker at the Rick Perry Prayer event; he was a prominent speaker at the Values Voter Summit, where every political candidate in the GOP Presidential contest spoke, along with the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Islamophobia is a key part of the political message of a number of our would-be candidates, notably Gingrich, Cain, Bachmann, Santorum. The only consistent exception has been Ron Paul, and he is highly unlikely to be the next GOP presidential candidate.
These candidates have a fundamentalist approach to the Constitution that would make Christianity and secular law identical. They would make a Christian version of our secular law which gives NO religion a preference something different than what it is NOW. Frightening people over Sharia law and pseudo-Halal turkey is no different than some of the similar anti-Semitic tactics which used to target Jews; now it targets Muslims.
This Halal turkey story is NOT going away, it is NOT merely a minor embarassment of a lone extremist. It IS part of a larger facet of conservative politics. It is a dog whistle; it is fear mongering, a straw man bogey man of hatred. In that sense, it is no different than the straw man effigy of President Obama that conservative students burned in Scotland recently. This is just a different strawman, an Islamic strawman, thrown on a different bonfire, a U.S. conservative bonfire.
These people throw around the word Freedoms constantly. But what they want to do is to take away freedom – freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, rule of non-partisan unbiased law.
We don’t need religious crazy fundamentalists in the White House. We don’t need race and ethnic or religious hatred in our politics.
There have been close ties between Michele Bachmann and Bryan Fischer, and the Voter Values Summit. These views are by no means supported by all Bachmann supporters, but we DO have people who think like this in Minnesota, people who support the current Republican majority, people who would marginalize any American citizen and deny their rights, possibly even execute them for disagreement with these extreme views. They thrive on this kind of factually inaccurate fear mongering. You can hear it on programming on Minnesota radio stations, like the commentary by Bradlee Dean on the Patriot at 1280 AM, or in Bradlee Dean’s ‘prayer’ in the legislature. And this clearly is not specific ONLY to Bradlee Dean. There is a distinct movement on the right for evangelical politics. It is wrong; it is bad.