A guide to Goode’s anti-Muslim letter, for reporters.

Rep. Virgil Goode’s appearance on Neil Cavuto’s show this afternoon was useless. I’ve received a good number of phone calls and e-mails from reporters, so it occurs to me that there would be value in spelling things out a little more specifically here, so that future interview opportunities are not squandered, like Cavuto’s was.

Here are the three elements of Rep. Goode’s letter attacking Rep. Keith Ellison on the basis of his religion. The first category, “Statements,” are the notable points in his letter. The second category, “Logically-Required Implications,” are those elements of his letter that are necessarily implied for the letter to be logical, but not directly stated. The third category, “Implications,” are those things implied by the letter but need not be true.


  • Goode will be sworn in with the Bible
  • Goode does not subscribe to using the Koran in any way
  • If people don’t listen to Goode, more Muslims will be elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran
  • Goode is frightened to think that there may be more people from the Middle East in the United States
  • Goode will not put The Koran on the wall of his office

Logically-Required Implications

  • Muslims are inferior to non-Muslims
  • The Koran is inferior to the Bible
  • Muslims should not be elected to office
  • Elected officials should not be sworn in with any book other than the Bible
  • Ellison is an immigrant
  • Ellison is unfit to hold his office
  • Muslims require more government resources than Christians


  • Only Christians should be allowed to serve in public office
  • Muslims should not be allowed in the United States
  • Even Muslims who were born in the country, and whose families have been in the country for centuries, possess the same qualities that make immigrants unfit and thus:
  • The problem with Muslims is their religion, not their nationality
  • Ellison is inferior to Goode
  • Christians are the ideal Americans
  • It makes sense to mount books on walls

This leads me to the point of this blog entry, those questions that reporters should be asking Rep. Goode. I encourage reporters to print out this list and post it on their desk to remind yourselves that these are the questions that cut to the heart of the matter.

Questions for Rep. Goode

  • Do you believe that Rep. Ellison is unqualified for office by virtue of being a Muslim?
  • What specific traits of Rep. Ellison concern you, other than, broadly, his religion? Are there aspects of his religious beliefs that concern you?
  • Which religious groups’ members are inferior to Christians for the purpose of holding public office? Jews? Buddhists? Hindus? Mormons? Scientologists? Sikhs? How about atheists?
  • Should we ask immigrants if they’re Muslim and, if so, refuse to admit them to the country?
  • What quality is it about Muslims that makes them inferior to Christians?
  • Would you name three differences between Islam and Christianity?
  • Have you read the Quran? Have even seen a copy of it in person?
  • What is the difference between the Shiia and the Sunni?

I am not a reporter. I cannot get the answers to these questions. I cannot imagine that I’m a real popular guy around Rep. Goode’s office, so I do not intend to try. So I entrust you, Dear Reporter, to have at it.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

49 replies on “A guide to Goode’s anti-Muslim letter, for reporters.”

  1. I advocate nose rings for reporters, so they can be lead to the story, and where the facts reside. “Nose for News” indeed.

    Cavuto didn’t give Goode a pass, but also didn’t ask any of the questions above, or any others that a thinking person would ask. I don’t have a transcript, but it is on my TiVO.

  2. I misspoke; I should have said “Cavuto’s substitute host…”

    And great job on this Waldo. It’s hard to believe the story is not being examined in a thorough way. Maybe Jon Stewart will have something tonight.

  3. NBC Nightly News Just picked up the story on tonights broadcast. Available online as a podcast at 10pm tonight.

  4. Speaking of which, Cenk Uygur, one of the ‘Young Turks’ radio program that Mike Stark apparently had a job with at one time, has a diary on DKos almost identical to the hypothetical you did last night, bloviation ensued.

    For whatever that’s worth.

  5. Waldo

    If isnt for people like you I would have gone back to my secular country, India. Yes I am a muslim from world’s largest democracy. What hurts me is to see the face of America chnage in the last few years.

    This is not the America I was sold, when I was growing up. If I had known that this is a semi theocracy, I would not have left my old parents in search of these american dreams…

    Kudos to guys like you ….I see a hope !


  6. Waldo asks: Which religious groups’ members are inferior to Christians for the purpose of holding public office? Jews? Buddhists? Hundus? Mormons? Scientologists? Sikhs? How about atheists?

    You may want to add Christian Science to that list. Two of Virginia’s 11 congressmen (Goodlatte and Tom Davis) do — or at least did — belong to that sect.

  7. Waldo, in that last paragraph, I think you mean “Hindus.” I drive a Hundu. It’s not the same thing.

  8. Just watched the interview clip on the Fox News site. I actually thought the interviewer did a pretty good job of pressing Goode on the content of his letter and his command of the facts; it wasn’t hardball but was, let’s say, fast-pitch softball. Virgil looked uncomfortable and was remarkably steadfast in his churlishness with respect to Rep. Ellison. Asked if he would greet his new colleague, he waffled with “I look forward to meeting all the new representatives.” He repeated his observation that if people want to vote for a representative who uses the Koran that is their right to do so, as one might observe that if people want to vote for axe murderers they are likewise free to follow their perversity.

    He trotted out the absolute red herring prospect that current immigration policy might see a Muslim majority Congress in some foreseeable future.

    He didn’t seem to have at his fingertips the exact figures on how many of the immigrants brought in by the diversity visa program are actually from majority-Islamic countries.

    He was, I suspect, disingenuous about the proportion of positive to negative feedback he has been receiving from his constituents. Even if he wasn’t, he completely failed to grasp or even acknowledge his critics’ point that we are not a nation where the majority is allowed to trump the rights granted to minorities by our foundational documents.

    It was a sorry performance, intellectually and morally. Unfortunately it’s the one that 5th District voters have licensed for the next two years. We’ve voted for our axe murderer, so to speak.

  9. Ismail, Wanna know why America changed? (try not to fly a bunch of airplanes into our buildings, huh?) If you can’t figure it out, you might oughtta follow your instincts and RETURN to India.

    All of this leaves me laughing at you Charlotesville/Albemarle WANNABES. I’m so glad Virgil Goode is my Congressman, that he TROUNCED the best opponent the Liberals could put up against him, and that he speaks the TRUTH. MERRY CHRISTMAS! (I forget whatever the name of that Muslim holiday is where violence escalates in the name of Muhammed, and they use it as an excuse to murder more of their own people along with our troops.) But MAN!, What a great religion!

  10. Wow, Ben M. You show the intellectual sophistication of a rock.

    I suppose its because of people like you and Virgil that Southern Virginia’s economy is going down the toilet, and the populations is shrinking faster than you can shake a stick . . .

    But somehow us WANNABES up here keep growing–same in NOVA . . . hmmmmm, I wonder why?

  11. “All of this leaves me laughing at you Charlotesville/Albemarle WANNABES”

    Uh, “wannabe” what? I mean, if you’re a “wannabe”, you have to be a “wannabe” something, right?

    Look, you can defend a duefully elected congressperson’s right to take his oath of office with (or without) whatever book he or she wants, and be concerned about immigration (an issue which has changed alot since the true melting pot days – ignoring that is denying a pretty basic reality), and still be a loyal, real American — or real Virginian, if need be. (forgive the run on)

    Goode’s letter reflects his true personality – illogical and poorly thought out at best, hate-baiting at worst. Likely both (hard to have one of those without the other). A great example of why gerrymandering (sp?) sucks.

  12. va displaced,

    good point, only in the artificial environment that results for gerrymandering, can such a backwards man like Virgil say things like this and expect to remain safely in office.

  13. Where in your diarrheic coverage of this incident is a mention of how some members of the Religion of Peace are even now demonstrating their tolerance and desire for dialogue by phoning in death threats to Goode?

  14. Where in your diarrheic coverage of this incident is a mention of how some members of the Religion of Peace are even now demonstrating their tolerance and desire for dialogue by phoning in death threats to Goode?

    Why not ask how many Religion of the Prince of Peace stalwarts are calling in death threats to Representative Ellison, or for the mass confinement or genocide [sic] of Muslims in comments on blogs?

  15. Oh, I see that Virgil has drafted the Franklin County Sherriff’s Department as bodyguards for his news conference, citing unspecified, uncharacterized threats. These threats actually seem to have come from the prospect that national news reporters might attend Mr. Goode’s press conference, since only local reporters were admitted by Sherriff Overton. The Sherriff also refused to admit certain constituents, such as the leader of the Franklin County Democrats.

    Representative Goode is a coward. He’s using law enforcement not to protect himself fom violent attack, but from harsh and incisive questioning, from accountability. How very, very GOP of him. And Overton’s signed Franklin’s peace officers on as Virgil’s little Praetors, on the public dime.

  16. Where in your diarrheic coverage of this incident is a mention of how some members of the Religion of Peace are even now demonstrating their tolerance and desire for dialogue by phoning in death threats to Goode?

    That’s news to me. But as Brian points out, there’s certainly been coverage of threats about Rep. Ellison, which I’ve chosen not to mention. That’s because I can’t see that a few looneys should be allowed to speak for Christianity any more than a few looneys should be allowed to speak for Islam.

  17. While I understand that we all often ascribe malevolent motives to explain the behavior of our political opponents, might you be going a bit far with your media-avoidance Praetorian Guard theory, Brian?

  18. Not a single bit, Judge. Sherriff Overton could have said, “I’m here to assure your physical safety, Virgil, but you’ll not hide behind my shield to avoid explaining yourself to the people whom you swore to represent in Congress. You walked into the kitchen. If it’s too hot, you know what you can do.”

  19. this is not a defense of Goode statements just some clarifications:
    He point is that America was founded as a christian nation(how this effect Eric Cantor is anyone guess). As such the bible is the book of choice and tradition. (That works of Cantor) I am unaware what atheist put there hand on put I digress.

    He also implies that he is the representative of the 5th district and his constituents are overwhelming christian, as such he needs to defends those principals.

    more people from the Middle East While he sites the Middle East the implication may be the Muslims in African and Asia as well.

    Really the rest of it just scares me and I can’t figure out what the heck anyone was thinking. Good thing he got 2 years till the next election.

  20. Thanks for that, perlogik. I’d hoped that others might offer their own facts, implications, etc., or corrections of my own — Lord knows I don’t have all the answers, or even all the questions. :)

  21. Waldo, as for “turing the other cheek,” even Nathaniel Greene had the good sense to defend his country against overbearing agression.

  22. Waldo, as for “turing the other cheek,” even Nathaniel Greene had the good sense to defend his country against overbearing agression.

    Ben, do you believe that we must defend our nation from Rep. Ellison?

    Think this through, Ben. It’s for posterity. As we were told in school, this is going on your permanent record.

    JIM WEBB called middle-easterners “TOWEL HEADS.” Where was the outrage?!

    Where’s the context, Ben?

    Every movie needs a villain . . . Towel-heads and rednecks — of which I am one. If you write that word, please say that. I mean, I don’t use that pejoratively, I use it defensively. Towel-heads and rednecks became the easy villains in so many movies out there.

    As Webb went on to explain to the Post, to whom he’d made that statement during his interview with the editorial board:

    “I used the words that are used to stereotype them,” he said. Although Webb might be called a “redneck” but not a “towel-head,” he insisted that he had used both terms “defensively” and would be “really upset if this is going to end up being the guppy that eats the whale.”

    Stupid thing to say? Sure. Ill-intentioned? Not hardly.

  23. Waldo, Unlike you, I don’t go to bed at night dreaming of running for office. Only self-worshiping egomaniacs who got made fun of in elementary school do that. My permanent record? For who, Waldo? YOU?! Get real. I believe what I believe and will never apologize for that. I’ve earned the right to have those beliefs I think. On the other hand, I rather enjoy exposing fakes and it doesn’t matter which party they’re in.

  24. Unlike you, I don’t go to bed at night dreaming of running for office.


    I believe what I believe and will never apologize for that.

    Great, then you should be able to answer the question that you were ostensibly responding to. Let’s try this one more time, in bold and in all caps, so you don’t miss it.


    You believe what you believe and won’t apologize for that so, please, enlighten us.

    I say there’s a 80% chance you don’t respond to this at all. If you do, there’s probably a 95% chance that you won’t answer the question.

  25. Ben M

    Wallah, I will leave this country the minute I find out there is not a single Waldo Jaquith out of 300 millions. That is why I visit his blog to see how many of them are still around !!!

    You ought to come with me to India to see how ( Hindus, MUSLIMS, Christians, Jews, Prasis, Sikh, Jain, Athiest, Communist, capitalist etc etc ) Live toghethr in almost harmony.

    You need to start reading books brother……they will enlighten you.


  26. How things workin out in Kashmir, Ismail?

    I honestly don’t mean any disrespect and would be eager for clarification if I am wrong, but it’s a bit of a stretch to point to India as a beacon of a tolerant, multi-religous Utopia when the fact is that Muslims and Hindis got a long so well the freakin country was partioned into Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh back in the 40s.

  27. Sorry for my ungrammatical haste earlier. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district

    This implies that Goode doesn’t have a problem with the fact that he was elected but that Goode objects to the using of the Koran and the increasing influence of a religion (Muslim) that has many of it’s leaders praying and working for this country’s destruction. Not a small point but made with a brush so broad as to be racist.

    Waldo, it’s not the Shiia or Sunni that worry me it’s the wahbi from Saudi Arabia. They were the majority of the 9/11 terrorist and the current financiers of many insurgents that are killing US soldiers everyday.


    Right along with Nancy Pelosi, Robert (Grand Wizard) Byrd and Ted (Manslaughter) Kennedy, ABSOLUTELY.

    Congressman Goode is doing us a service by bringing these important issues to light.

  29. Hey Judge,

    Do you know in its 5000 year history, India NEVER occupied an INCH of some one’s country?

    Waldo is right it was paeceful till right wing party ( Indian neocons) took power, then they did what thet are best in doing – made Indians look at each other as Hindus, Muslims and Christians…..

    This too wll pass…


  30. “Congressman Goode is doing us a service by bringing these important issues to light.”

    What issues? Not letting someone use or not use whatever they want when they take an oath of office? As has been very well shown on this site, the Framers intentionally did NOT require “swearing” on the Bible when taking the oath. Hence, not an issue. And certainly not an important one.

    So, then, is the important issue immigration? Goode isn’t really on the cutting edge of addressing this true issue. He IS on the cutting edge of using the issue to hate-bait and cater to some pretty low instincts of his voting base. All he’s really done is denigrate someone because of their religion. And he was pretty ignorant in doing so (about the facts).

    And Nathanael Greene fought to rebel against a repressive government – one that discriminated against people because of their religion (if we are talking about the same person).

    It’s hard to have an open mind about people. Sometimes it doesn’t feel safe. But it can help the country and the world be a better place. Sometimes you get bitten, but sometimes you learn something. But it may not make you feel better about yourself all of the time.

  31. VA Displaced – The point about Greene (the FIGHTING QUAKER) was that it’s ok to go to war for certain things. Waldo and his “Friends” believe in peace at any price and would sooner live under the yoke of Muslim Law than fight to be free. Just like the Quaker wimps who refused Ben Franklin’s calls for a militia to guard against Indian attacks, these Peace At Any Price folks don’t realize the danger facing our nation, our state.

    Ismail – Muhammed said “Kill any Jew that falls into your power.” Will you do that? Maybe I got the translation wrong huh?

  32. Obviously many Quakers have fought in many wars – many also have not. And calling them wimps because of it is a little simple-minded, and does them a disservice. My point was that Greene’s drive to fight was for his ideals, not “overbearing aggression”.

    As for “Waldo and his “Friends” believe in peace at any price and would sooner live under the yoke of Muslim Law than fight to be free” – I don’t know Waldo, so I won’t speak for him. But I bet you, Ben, would consider me one of his “Friends” based on the few posts that I’ve made here. And I think that statement is very, very wrong. But does betray your mode of thought, considering you portray it as some kind of fact.

    We, whom you would call the “Peace At Any Price folks”, most certainly realize the potential danger facing us. We (unlike the Neocons, pseudo-fascists, “Christian” rightists, Bush and Goode types) are willing to examine the means by which we undertake our security and the war, rather than hide comfortably behind other people’s fear and the false security of classifying every person of a particular faith or nationality as a terrorist. We prefer at least to attempt to reconcile our ideals and the ideals upon which the nation was founded with the way we keep ourselves secure. At least I do. It’s harder that way, but worth the examination.

    And I still don’t know what kind of wannabe the people of Charlottesville and Albemarle are.

    And I won’t even attempt to understand how you equate Waldo’s question about defending our nation against Rep. Ellison (because you think he is a terrorist because he is Muslim, or something) with Pelosi, Byrd, and Kennedy.

  33. Really Waldo? You won’t find me in Iraq or Afghanistan? I’m not a real soldier? Funny, that’s not what my DFAS statements say…Guess that means that none of the guys in my unit are soldiers either huh? I can’t wait to let them know that, and pass on your contact info to them so they can let you know how grateful they are for your support. Do the rest of the Charlottesville Democrats not believe that soldiers in the National Guard are real soldiers or is it just your own ignorant ass? Respond, I dare you.

  34. I know India’s a religously tolerant nation. It’s their madrassa-laden neighbor to the west that has some issues. Pakistan, of course, used to be part of India.

    So if you’re trying to illustrate how wonderful multi-cultural religous diversity is, a country that was partioned along religous lines largely b/c of the intolerance of Muslims is probably not a great place to start.

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