Echoing the sentiments of religious-right activists who last month decried a Hindu guest chaplain giving the opening prayer in the Senate, Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho) warned that “the protective hand of God” could be lifted. Sali also cited the threat of his Muslim colleague, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), but unlike comments last December by Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Virginia) linking Ellison to immigration and 9/11, Sali warned that Ellison’s presence, like the Hindu prayer, would displease both America’s founders and God.
“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” asserts Sali.
Sali says America was built on Christian principles that were derived from scripture. He also says the only way the United States has been allowed to exist in a world that is so hostile to Christian principles is through “the protective hand of God.”
“You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike,” says the Idaho Republican.
According to Congressman Sali, the only way the U.S. can continue to survive is under that protective hand of God. He states when a Hindu prayer is offered, “that’s a different god” and that it “creates problems for the longevity of this country.”
Sali, with the backing of the Club for Growth and a following of social conservatives, won a divisive Republican primary in his GOP district last year, despite warnings from fellow Republicans that Sali was “an absolute idiot.”
Protesters associated with Operation Save America/Operation Rescue disrupted the prayer by Rajan Zed on July 12, attempting to shout the Hindu chaplain down. Other religious-right activists rushed to their defense and attacked the prayer as “idolatry.” Janet Folger said the protestors “are heroes” and “may be what spares us from the judgment of God.” Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries warned that “When Israel went straying and worshiping other gods, very, very serious consequences came down upon her,” adding “America is at a turning point” and can expect a “major” terrorist act this summer.
And back in December, as some on the far Right were asserting that newly-elected Rep. Ellison should not be able to pose for a photo op after his swearing-in holding the Koran – or even to serve at all – Rep. Goode joined in, warning his constituents that “if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.” Goode later expanded on his commentary, explaining that “we were not attacked by a nation on 9/11; we were attacked by extremists who acted in the name of the Islamic religion.” Pat Robertson warned in March that Muslim politicians like Ellison want to “take over” and “institute Sharia.”