Crisis in Alabama averted, thanks to the ADL

Interesting story out of Alabama. The new governor, Robert Bentley, on his very first day in office, shocked the civilized world, saying that he considered only Christians to be his “brothers and sisters.”

Imagine that. The leader of the state identifying so strongly with his religious affiliation that he makes other citizens uncomfortable. Thank goodness the ADL came to the rescue with a public rebuke: “It is shocking that Governor Bentley would suggest that non-Christians are not worthy of the same love and respect he professes to have for the Christian community.” The “brothers and sisters” remark might have sounded personal, but the ADL correctly perceived the dangerous implications in the governor’s statement: “His comments are not only offensive, but also raise serious questions as to whether non-Christians can expect to receive equal treatment during his tenure as governor.” Of course, that would be unthinkable! To deny one segment of the citizenry “equal treatment” based upon religion?

It’s wonderfully reassuring to have an organization like the ADL that spots such ominous signs and nips them in the bud. And remember, while the ADL specializes in combating anti-Jewish sentiments, its mission statement is to protect all: “The immediate object of the League is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” So we can count on ADL, zealous guardians of the principle of equality, to protect everyone against the possibility that a government, especially one that describes itself as “democratic,” might be in danger of conferring rights and privileges on some of its citizens to the detriment of others.

The ADL forced Gov. Bentley to issue an apology. Had it not promptly acted, who knows how far this could have gone. He could have changed the state flag to a cross, invited only Christians the world over to become Alabamans, and implemented state-sanctioned discrimination in housing, education, and employment. He even might have prohibited Alabama from issuing marriage certificates between Christians and non-Christians. I know this sounds absurdly far-fetched for 2011, but you can’t be too careful with any manifestation of bigotry.

About David Samel

David Samel is an attorney in New York City.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 29 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. James North says:

    He might also have encouraged Alabamians to “settle” over the border in Mississippi, citing “historic claims” to the land, and sent Alabama state troopers to protect them. Thankfully, the ADL was alert.

  2. Potsherd2 says:

    Maybe the ADL can weigh in over this: link to talk2action.org

    Albuquerque-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has demanded that the United States Air Force Academy rescind their invitation to former Marine Lt. Clebe McClary to speak at the Academy’s upcoming National Prayer Luncheon. “Egregiously sectarian statements like [those] from former Lt. McClary blatantly exclude not only non-Christians, but also the many Christians who do not subscribe to a particularly fundamentalist view of Christianity,” said Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, President and Founder of MRFF. MRFF’s letter, linked below, closes by demanding that the Air Force Academy “immediately rescind its invitation to former Lt. McClary and choose a new speaker who can appropriately embody a message of inclusiveness for all Academy attendees.”

  3. Yoel says:

    This is one of the most hysterical things I have ever read. Kudos.

  4. Oscar says:

    David, great post. I for one sleep soundly at night knowing that the ADL is there for all of us, 24/7, being certain that they even-handedly and intellectually-honestly swoop in on all of those who display any inappropriate form of Holocaust references. For example, back in 2009, the great Abe Foxman put up a powerful post about the inappropriate use of Holocaust imagery in the health care debate, attacking Rush Limbaugh and others for trivializing the Holocaust by using “Nazi imagery” during the debate. Foxy, take it away:

    ADL Says Use Of Nazi Imagery In Health Care Debate ‘Outrageous And Inappropriate’

    New York, NY, August 7, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called attempts by some opponents of health care reform to bring Nazi imagery into the debate, “outrageous, deeply offensive and inappropriate” and condemned remarks by talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, who compared President Obama’s health care logo to a swastika, and policies championed by the Democratic Party to those of the Nazis.

    “Regardless of the political differences and the substantive differences in the debate over health care, the use of Nazi symbolism is outrageous, offensive and inappropriate,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. “Americans should be able to disagree on the issues without coloring it with Nazi imagery and comparisons to Hitler. This is not where the debate should be at all.” . . .

    “Comparisons to the Nazis are deeply offensive and only serve to diminish and trivialize the extent of the Nazi regime’s crimes against humanity and the murder of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust,” said Mr. Foxman. “I don’t see any comparison here. It’s off-center, off-issue and completely inappropriate.”

    link to adl.org

    And, would you believe it? Another politician does precisely the same thing in 2011. The unapologetic Steve Cohen of Tennessee said the following:

    They say it’s a government takeover of health care — a big lie, just like Goebbels. You say it enough — you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie — and eventually, people believe it. Like Blood libel — that’s the same kind of thing. The Germans said enough about the Jews, and the people believed it, and you had the Holocaust. You tell a lie over and over again.

    This is exactly the kind of rhetoric that our stalwart advocates at the ADL will pounce all over, much as they’ve done with Rush Limbaugh, Oliver Stone, and Gov. Bentley, right? link to bit.ly

    Okay, Big Abe — give Cohen the kick in the ass he deserves. Right? As you said, “Regardless of the political differences … in the debate over health care, the use of Nazi symbolism is outrageous, offensive and inappropriate”. So, go ahead, break open a can of whoopass and go postal on some some Tennessee ass . . . Uh, Abe? Abe, you there? Hello, Abe?

    (crickets chirping . . . )

    Uh, well, let’s go to Jon Stewart who steps up to the plate for the requisite ass-whuppin.
    link to huffingtonpost.com

  5. tree says:

    Why, oh why, are you singling out Alabama???!??

    (You’ve got a great sense of the ironic, David. Bravo.)

  6. Danaa says:

    Personally, as someone with many special friends from Alabama, I think the whole thing about demonizing the good governor Bentley for a few words spoken at a moment of spiritual passion, is part of a long standing campaign of delegitimization of Alabamans. The hoopla from the ADL just goes to show you the moral abyss to which some descend – singling out upstanding Alabamans of conviction for opprobrium. What about the way New Yorkers speak of New Jersey? what about Californians’ famous disdain for Texas and/or people of religious conviction?

    You know, the kind of heated rhetoric coming out from holier-than-thou knee jerk liberal outfits like ADL is just part of a long campaign to vilify and demonize the South. We know how things can quickly degenerate into pogrom-like campaigns against people of the cloth. And let us not forget how the South was treated after what they refer to as “civil war” which was anything but civil? are people so quick to forget the evils and upheavels of what the “North” refers to as “reconstruction”?

    And while we are at it, what about the all- christian Air Force and the missionary Mc Crystal (cf Sy Hersh’s latest)? how come ADL is quite on these violations of religious freedom in our very own Armed Forces?

    • Proton Soup says:

      Danaa, as someone who lives here, I can tell you that I’ve been watching my state be denigrated in the media my whole life. And to be honest, I think the negativity only serves to discourage investment here, keeping people poor and perpetuating stereotypes, deserved and undeserved. In fact, it’s something that concerns me a lot more than a simple jab at the Governor’s religion. Anyone who is familiar with us knows that the True state religion is Football, anyhow. Did you know that a huddle is actually a prayer circle?

  7. Brilliant, David. Nipped it in the bud.

  8. Jim Haygood says:

    ‘He could have changed the state flag to a cross, invited only Christians the world over to become Alabamans, and implemented state-sanctioned discrimination in housing, education, and employment.’

    LOL, David — the rapier wit of satire wins an intellectual battle hands-down against an unarmed opponent! Touché!

    Actually, Alabama’s flag is a cross — the diagonal, crimson cross of St. Andrew, better known in a different color scheme on the flag of Scotland. According to legend, the Christian apostle and martyr Saint Andrew, Scotland’s patron saint, was crucified on an X-shaped cross at Patras. But the US educational system being what it is, St. Andrew’s cross is one of them subliminal symbols that can be ‘hidden in plain sight.’

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      My problem with Alabama’s flag is less that is resembles Scotland’s but that it was derived from the flag of the traitorous slave-holders of the 1860s.

      • MHughes976 says:

        I never thought I’d have been drawn into Alabama heraldry but Jim’s comment had that effect. The coat of arms is even more remarkable, in that the symbols of European monarchism and thus of Christianity are so prominent, our dear Union flag not excepted. This memento of previous sovereigns seems like an outrageous excuse for proclaiming continuing pro-Confederate sentiments.

        • Jim Haygood says:

          Britain’s Union flag is an overlay of the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew and St. Patrick — a veritable holy trinity of Christian symbolism, if you will. Ring the ADL!

        • MHughes976 says:

          Well, mustn’t get carried away with all this medieval stuff but the French triple fleur-de-lys, also in the Alabama arms, is intended as an affirmation of faith in the Trinity. The ADL should be having apoplexy.

  9. Seriously though, I have to give the ADL kudos on this one. While I often (though not always) disagree with Foxman and the ADL on issues pertaining to Israel, they are to be commended for their advocacy in this instance. Likewise as to their criticism of Glenn Beck’s highly defamatory three part series on George Soros which incorporated (what I call) themes strikingly similar to those contained in the famously anti-Semitic text known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
    SEE – BRAVO: ADL Condemns Glenn Beck Series On Jews, by M.J. Rosenberg, TPM Cafe, 01/11/10 – link to tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com

    • P.S. The date of the above Rosenberg article is 11/11/10, not 01/11/10.
      ALSO SEE – Beck/Soros: AJC, AIPAC Forbidden To Use Term “Six Million Jews” Again ++ Keith O on Beck, by M.J. Rosenberg, TPM Cafe, 11/11/10 – link to tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com
      AND SEE – Out Of Line In Alabama: New Governor Takes On Preaching Role, by Rob Boston, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 01/20/11 – link to blog.au.org

    • DICKERSON, I don’t know anything about the Glenn Beck-George Soros thing, but I almost always find statements like “famously anti-Semitic text known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion equal parts disturbing and amusing.

      can’t we cut the “antisemitic” crap EVER? Ya, we know Protocols is a work of fiction; so is Leon Uris’s Exodus.

      Why is it necessary for intelligent and liberal-minded people to be forced to censor themselves?

      Michael Lerner posted a weasel ‘retraction’ of his earlier claim that the Tucson shooting was “antisemitic.” In his retraction, he said he was initially emotionally upset by the fact that Loughner read Mein Kampf.

      I think everybody should read Mein Kampf.

      What is this infantile need to say, ooooh, no, mustn’t go there.

      jeeez.
      grow up already

  10. Citizen says:

    I see there’s a law against political analogies even if they are based in historical fact. Anything in the penumbra of hyperbole? Where will are politicans on either side of the aisle be without bad poetry to complement their bad policies?

  11. Eretz Y’Alabama. I loved this post. WAKE UP supporters of Israel and smell your hypocrisy.

  12. Cliff says:

    You’re all anti-Alabamites. Rabid anti-Alabamites!

  13. Thank God the ADL stepped in in time. Aparently, around 50 State-paid bishops and priests were already preparing a letter calling on Christians to stop renting or selling houses to non-Christians; and in some towns programs were being put in place to prevent intermarriage between Christians and atheists and other heretics.

    David, your acidic writings are already in direct competition with Diane Mason’s. Kudos to both of you for exposing Zionist hypocrisy with such a wonderful display of humor.

  14. MHughes976 says:

    ‘I apologise’ seems a bit ambiguous. It could mean only ‘I’m sorry I let it slip so publicly, which is not quite compatible with my office?’ Or has the Governor, after all this, decided that he is in a state of fraternity with all people or perhaps only with some restricted subset, such as non-liberal Christians and Jews? Could he make this decision seem even slightly sincere?

  15. Mutant Scum says:

    Philip Weiss might wish to consider a Jonathan Swift Award, bestowed irrgularly for superior satirical contributions. I nominate you as the first recipient:

    ” The ADL forced Gov. Bentley to issue an apology. Had it not promptly acted, who knows how far this could have gone. He could have changed the state flag to a cross, invited only Christians the world over to become Alabamans, and implemented state-sanctioned discrimination in housing, education, and employment. He even might have prohibited Alabama from issuing marriage certificates between Christians and non-Christians. I know this sounds absurdly far-fetched for 2011, but you can’t be too careful with any manifestation of bigotry. ”

    Can this point have been made in any better a fashion? I doubt it. Keep up the exellent work.