SFBG Radio: Religion and Dr. Laura


Today Johnny and Tim take a break from Meg Whitman and talk about why the Republicans are really upset about the Islamic center at ground zero -- and why Dr. Laura isn't a victim of censorship.

sfbgradio8/20/2010 by jangellw


It almost makes me wonder if Imam Rauf welcomes the controversy hoping that he'll get a sweetheart property swap for a location outside of lower Manhattan.

Posted by Pieter B on Aug. 20, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

Great show, as always. In case you were wondering, Grand Vizier is a much higher title than Grand Poobah. The Grand Vizier was the highest held office similar to Prime Minister under the Sultans under the Ottoman Empire. The title "Grand Poobah" was based on a character from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado, where the Pooh-Bah was the Lord Chief Justice; it's second reincarnation was that as the head or president of the local chapter of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Lodge No. 26 in the show "The Flintstones." So Tim, yes, you did get a major promotion.

Back to the show, this whole "Ground Zero Mosque" is the latest in dog whistle politics by the right wingers in this country. It's a play on fear of not just a religion...but a religion of "brown people." While one may not like organized religion, this attack is not a general protest against organized religion. It's an attack on a specific religion where the majority of the adherents are not White. Of course, one can also say that for Christianity (The largest growing members are now in China) but in the minds of those being prayed on by these opportunist Republicans, the only qualified one in this regards is Islam.

As for Dr. Laura, this "meltdown" was long over due. Her protestation of her supposed abridgment of the First Amendment simply shows her insensitivity and level of racism. This person never had, as Tim noted, any real professional qualifications to be a personal advisor on anything. The bottom line, she slipped and revealed more about her feelings about race in that moment than she wanted to let on. And I would argue, that what you saw wasn't just a crack in the faux conservative wall of racial tolerance by her but also other conservatives. I grew up around conservatives here in the Chicago area, a lot of them are the type who in one breath say "I hate racism" and in the next in private say "well you know those welfare queens in the Southside (or insert whatever low income mainly minority area in your area)." The fact is, many of these vaunted conservative voices you hear on the air or read about aren't against racism, they just have a much more insensitive idea about being against racism.

Posted by Johnny Venom on Aug. 20, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

The ADL says its a bad place to put the Manhattan mosque because it hurts peoples feelings, saying in part

"Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right."

The San Francisco progressive and the Bay Guardian view for instance on docking military ships as tourist attractions in the city, and the yearly flights of the blue angels are bad in part because it hurts peoples feelings. There really is no wrong answer to the true believer, no coherent world view, just getting over.

The reports of racism by the SF Black Muslims when they attacked that guy at a public meeting, and the defense of those same attackers show the views on racism of the Bay Guardian mindset, so these sad howls are moot.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

It is race, but also a tribal feelings with regards to religion. If 90% of the adherents to Islam were White and say Nordic looking, then I suspect they would not have gotten as much opposition. But the fact remains, that the majority of followers do no look like the majority of this country. They are black, brown, Asian, Arabic, some are European like the Bosnians or Turks. Compare the backlash against those who looked like the Oaklahoma City terrorist versus the backlash when those 19 Arabs (one from Egypt, another from Lebanon, and the rest I believe from Saudi Arabia) did the September 11th attacks. While you saw militias get a black eye, you didn't see the general mistrust of anglo-looking Christians (McVeigh had been raised a Catholic but later towards the end of his life became an agnostic in prison, not to sure what Terry Nichols religion was or if he even believed in a God). You have had many instances of various militant groups who based their ideology around some form of Christianity all throughout the past 30 years. Yet was there any hesitancy on allowing say Evangelicals on opening up new mega churches?

No, why? Because most are white, and most profess the religion that comes close to being the nation's majority. But let's look at another group, Jews. Most Jews do look White and can pass as the majority of non-Jews. I myself am part Jewish by ethnic heritage from my father's side but (due to the fact that when I was a child my Mexican mother raised me Catholic) could pass as a Christian cause I could "talk the talk". Yet there are many instances in American history, and sadly even today, that when Jewish Americans bring out their religion, there have been attacks of some form thrown at them. Sadly, there is still a bit of anti-Semitic out there that many have to deal with. I'll never forget in high school, this one boy was constantly harassed for keeping Kosher, some kids even making him eat a cheese burger. You may snicker and say "but it's a cheese burger" but for some Kashrut is as fundamental to their faith as say prayer.

One day while I was recovering from a kidney procedure at Lutheran General Hospital, I happen to be in a room with an elderly lady from Tennessee, her name was Ruth. Ruth was a nice lady, who beamed southern hospitality. She had been in for something having to do with her intestines or something. Now she got to know me by my Anglo name of Johnny, she wasn't aware that my real first name was Juan. I tend to speak with a Chicago accent, though a bit slurred due to a brain thing, but above all she pegged me for white and Christian. We talked and I told her about these Baptists who lived in our apartment the floor below, and somehow she to open up more. We watched television, back then there was only one ceiling unit and I let her control it. There was a thing about the crime and about the Middle East in the news. She would say "those people" and other such things, and with the Middle East news it was "those Jews" which was followed by "good people, but you gotta watch out." She muttered other things, but in all honesty that's all I remember. I'm not sure what she would have said of Hispanics, but there's a good chance it would be something similar.

I will say that this country has come a long way, but we also have a long way to go. There are many where if you don't "look the part" will always be excluded. And if you do meet that criteria, you better hope that your personal life comes close to theirs. This is a problem also facing those within the GLBT community, you can look like your neighbors, but if you're sleeping with the same sex, you may incur problems. It's all tribal really, some tribes live within bigger tribes. I don't know if this is something we need to evolve from or what, but it's there.

Some folks, unfortunately, are forced to go through a period of isolation before being accepted. It's stupid really, because there is no rational reasoning behind it. The Irish went through this, so did the Italians, and even the Germans at one point. The same with religion, at one point being Catholic was considered by many as someone being a "Papist agent". Yet today, Catholics for the most part are an accepted part of the much larger tribe of Christians, though some Evangelicals may have some hesitations. The Mormons are starting to exit this stage, as their leadership have decided to play politics and go along with the very conservative base who in the past persecuted them the most, which has lead to some sort of acceptance (look at Mitt Romney's potential for within the GOP for 2012).

The future is not the white man's world, indeed as we intermingle, it won't eventually be anyone's world. Those who are of "pure stock" will become the minority. But this isn't a bad thing, as many geneticists have said such exchanges of groups is actually healthy for the species. America has a history of annexing other people into it's largest tribe, from their culture down to their DNA. 40 years ago, would you have believed that salsa is the largest selling condiment in the United States? It's this change, from the familiar more European background that scares many in that conservative base. They are losing their world.

This brings us back to Cordoba House on 51 Park. That one place, which from a financial perspective now looks like it may not even get built, is just one thing in a million other things represents that change. That the nation is getting more browner, less Christian, more multicultural, etc. Some in the retrograde corners of society see the writing on the wall and want to fight it out of fear. They think that like say how the Irish went through Hell, so should the Muslims or the Hispanics or whomever. Yet they are finding that that's not how the world wants to work now. Like say Stonewall in '69, people are just not going to take being pushed around, and this time they have allies within the very nation they wish to be part of. No one is fighting the injustice alone any longer. This nation wants to move forward.

Posted by Johnny Venom on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

On May 25, 2010, neighborhood authorities in a non-binding advisory vote backed part of the plans for Cordoba House to be built on the site. The endorsement related only to "the important community facilities [the project] will provide", and the resolution indicated that the board "takes no position regarding the religious aspects or any religious facilities associated with either the Cordoba Initiative or the Cordoba House Project".The board's chairwoman, Julie Menin, supported deletion of references to the building as a mosque and interfaith center that were in an earlier draft of the resolution, saying: "I personally was uncomfortable with the language that talked about the religious institution. I believe it's not the purview of a city agency to be weighing in on the siting of any religious institution, be it a mosque, synagogue, or church."

The vote by the Lower Manhattan Community Board 1 was 29-to-1, with 10 abstentions.

In other words, whatever goes into that building does so with the approval of the neighborhood. That it morphed from a project based on a Jewish Community Center on 92nd St into a mini-Mecca can be attributed directly to Rupert Murdoch's newspaper and network.

Funny how no one ever mentions that said paper and network's second largest owner is the terrorist backing Saudi Royal family (http://www.prwatch.org/node/8906), as opposed to the Sufi Muslims that own Park 51.

That escaped ya, huh?

Posted by Guest Johnny Wendell on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

Did what escape who?

Posted by matlock on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 2:55 am

In Hofstadter's Paranoid Style of American Politics he mentions that the political paranoid types have to find secret reasons for public actions. The modern left resembles more and more the 60's right.

For some reason it hurts some people's feelings to have a Mosque built two blocks from ground zero. Just as the Guardian left complained that it hurt peoples feelings that we might get a historic ww2 military shipped docked in the city as a tourist attraction.

The Guardian left uses its hurt feelings to justify all sorts of ridiculous deeds, from removing JROTC in public schools to whining about the Blue Angels. There is no hidden agenda behind these hurt feelings whines by the terminally outraged Chris Daly's of the world.

It would never have occurred to many people to associate many of the things the Guardian left whines about, but when the association is made the Guardian left in the city snaps to it. I doubt that a vast majority of people now complaining would have cared about the mosque unless reminded to do so by right wing idiots.

To address the race issue one of the two johnnies talks about Mormons and white folk being on the outs with other white folk? You might have part of a point based on religion as Muslims are not a popular mythology in the USA, still there is that whole 9/11 thing that New Yorkers are somewhat aware of and often reminded of.

I don't know if I would make the association between the mosque and 9/11 if I lived in NYC, but since I don't make the association between a historic WW2 battleship and present day sniveling about the military by the Bay Guardian left I doubt I would.

The Paranoid style lefts obsession with race reminds me of the 80's skinheads I had the misfortune of crossing paths with back in the day, the arguments are just as sophisticated and no less comical.

The vast majority of people bitching about the Mosque are likely doing it because the association was made for them, not some race thing, just like the average SF progressive is easily ordered around. In case you didn't get my point I put that conclusion in for you.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 2:26 am

The only Johnny on this particular webcast is me.

If you hear two of me, I'd suggest a psych ward.

What's wrong with you, when Newsome hits you with a rolled-up newspaper for shitting on the carpet, does it bruise your brain?

Posted by Guest Johnny Wendell on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 10:11 am

"Incoherent ramble" I tried to listen to your show once.

Is Johhny Venom and Johnny Wendell the same person?

You're in your 40's and you still go by your punk rock name from when you were 16?

Posted by matlock on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 10:55 am

Johnny Venom is not on this webcast, Tim Redmond and Johnny Wendell are.

Johnny Venom is in Chicago. I am not. We are not the same person.

Commenting on a webcast you haven't even listened to at all somewhat disqualifies you from being taken seriously. What totally disqualifies you from being taken seriously is every ridiculous "anti-progressive" post of yours--sorry if your girl or boyfriend was a liberal that fucked you over, or your liberal parents abandoned you or whatever your problem is, everything from stubbing a toe to world wars is the fault of some nebulous "progressive".

Pitiful. Even for a troll.

Posted by Guest Johnny Wendell on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

You do understand that I can respond to the other comments?

You do understand that I live in SF, the epicenter of progressive failure? A once live and let live city taken over by moral scolds and Utopian dreamers always interested in your business.

I fully understand that not agreeing with a true believer makes that person a troll, or whatever the defense mechanism kicks up.

The people who howl about the whole Mosque thing would never have come up with that bitch on their own, the progressives insist that its racism instead of it just being that some people are easy to manipulate. People don't really get Muslims, it doesn't matter what race they are.

The whole secret agenda of people who don't agree with you is so tired and intellectually lazy.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 6:32 pm