Oklahoma state Representative Rex Duncan is leading a campaign against the supply of copies of the Koran as part of a larger gift from the Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council. Insisting that it constitutes “an effort to further their religion,” he is demanding answers while praising the supply of a Bible to all members. The basis of his objection is that “most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology.”
Duncan of course seems to be ignorant of the fact that Christians have a long history of massacres in the name of their religion, particularly Muslims found in such inconvenient places as Jerusalem. Indeed, the Old Testament refers to the faithful killing every man, woman, and child — and even animals — of certain towns. What is remarkable is that he might have had a point about the need or propriety of a state-connected organization supplying religious books to legislators as a matter of church and state. However, Duncan has proudly displayed his gift Bible to guarantee that no one is unclear that he is simply a voice of pure intolerance. What is equally clear is the lack of knowledge of his religion as well as Islam. The question is now whether Oklahoma will respond to such demonstrated bigotry or whether it will be a symbol of sectarian bias.
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