Rex Duncan must not be a very intelligent man. As a state representative in Oklahoma, he has a duty to serve all of his constituents, not just the ones that he agrees with in his church. Americans attend services in synagogues, mosques and many other houses of worship. That does not seem to matter much to Duncan and several other representatives who refused copies of the Quran as a gift from the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council.
"Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology," Rep. Rex Duncan said.
Duncan, a Republican, expressed his feelings Monday in a letter to colleagues. At least 17 legislators have notified the panel they will return the gift.
Marjaneh Seirafi-Pour, chairwoman of the council and a Muslim, denounced Duncan's assessment of Islam.
"I know he referred to Islam as an ideology. That is not a fact. It is a religion. It is very peaceful, very inclusive," Seirafi-Pour said.
It may not be a question of intelligence, but definitely one of ignorance. What Duncan, the other legislators and frankly, many Americans do not get is that there is a difference between religion and ideology. Although religion has its faults (and there are many) there are plenty of ideologies that use religion as a basis for those in charge to get what they want.
Take George Bush and the neo-conservatives for example. They use Christianity to divide Americans from one another so that they can pass discriminatory bills that weaken the essence of democracy in our country.
Going farther back, the leaders of Europe in the dark ages set out on a conquest for more land and power by conjuring armies by using Christianity as a basis for war with the Middle East, resulting in the deaths of many a knight and foot soldier. Not to exclude anyone, but the Caliphates in the early centuries of Islam did the same thing across Asia, Africa and into southwestern Europe.
Religions are often used as an excuse by the powers that be to go to war, but the religions themselves are generally peaceful, no matter what holy book you are reading from.