As we've previously discussed, there is a distinct possibility that Pastor Terry Jones started his whole "Burn the Koran" stunt as an opportunity to sell his book, "Islam is of the Devil." If so, he wouldn't be the only one to take a play from the late Malcolm McClaren's "Cash from Chaos" theory of shameless self-enrichment.
And who can blame them? It's funny, maybe a little endearing, when someone grabs four ill-mannered kids off the dole and puts them in front of the world stage to make a Pound or two, in spite of the fact that there's only one way the train ride's going to come to an end screeching into the station at 3am, filled with broken passengers, faux media outrage, and loads of dosh. Wham, Bam, Pay Cash Ma'am.
But it's not even remotely funny when American Muslims especially those who came here to escape crappy legal, social, and economic conditions in their home countries are demonized, scapegoated, and viewed with undue suspicion in order to make a buck. Some of the true believers might actually think they're doing the right thing, which is even scarier, but I hold that some of these professional islamophobes are intelligent enough to know they're full of it, and just don't care.
There's just too much money to be made off of the dead.
Take the case of Chuck Morse, with whom I have been well acquainted for almost ten years, now. A talk show host from Boston, MA, he liked to call himself "the most controversial talk-show commentator in America." He even had a book entitled "Why I Am a Right-Wing Extremist," just to prove it!
If his name sounds familiar, it's because his most recent claim to fame was unsuccessfully running against Barney Frank three times, with each time out being progressively more embarrassing. In 2004 he had to do it as an Independent because it turned out that Mr. Morse -- fire-breathing, anti-Communist, "self-described "politically conservative Jew,'" -- had been registered as a Democrat all along, and was therefore unsupported by the Republicans. In 2006 he was unable get enough signatures to appear on the ballot at all, so he did a write-in campaign, instead, but had to drop out when it became apparent the quest was going nowhere.
Those two runs left him clearly unelectable, over $51K in debt, and considering suing Wikipedia over his biography there. To add insult to injury, two years after that it was revealed that a fundraising firm used his name to collect obscene amounts of campaign money for the last, abortive run, and then hardly gave Morse any of it. Compared to that, his attempt to get back on the ballot for 2008 is hardly worth mentioning.
So why am I mentioning all of this? When Chuck Morse originally ran for congress in 2004, his website was completely remade, and all links to his old op-ed columns were erased. At the time I wondered if he was trying to clean up his image for the run, which would make sense given his ill-considered pillorying of Martin Luther King and Harry Potter, and attempts to rehabilitate Joe McCarthy. But then I decided he was probably encouraging people to buy the books of his writings instead, now that he had access to a much larger audience than ever before.
Unfortunately for him, Chuck put the mother of all freebies up, himself, over at the arch-conservative and highly Islamophobic Free Republic. Morse engaged in a number of vanity postings: putting his own articles up for all the Freepers to read and comment on them.
And they're all still there, including some very new ones, so you can marvel at Chuck Morse unplugged on a wide plethora of intriguing subjects, most notably Islam, Muslims, the Koran, and the Prophet, about which and whom Chuck couldn't seem to find anything positive to say, from what I could see. Strange and surreal information abounded, rumor and innuendo reigned, and he thought we should point nukes at Mecca at best, and "nuke "em now" at worst.
Needless to say, Morse's columns were mostly a hit over there, with the notable exception of his pot-shots at poor Mr. Potter, and a few digs for his blatant self-promotion. I can only assume his site got some hits out of it, but I wonder if anyone actually bought his books if they could just get it for free? I guess you'd have to ask Chuck that one.
So why am I bringing this history up? Because Chuck Morse is back with a bullet, baby. Our good friends over at World Net Daily notoriously Islamophobic, as well as THE home base for Birtherism have recently found a home for Mr. Morse's most recent writings. And they have brought him in as a commentator on things Islamic to explain why most Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim.
The name "Hussein" doesn't just sound Muslim, says Morse. It is "reserved exclusively for Muslims." In addition, Islamic law upholds that children born to a Muslim father are automatically Muslim, says Morse. The president's stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was Muslim.
Except, of course, that anyone can name their child anything they want to (except in certain countries). And you are not a proper, capital-M Muslim until you pronounce the statement of faith (the Shahada) in front of witnesses, regardless of what your father or mother were. And that, by the time he got around to being Obama's father, Obama Sr. was an atheist, and whatever Lolo Soetero was doesn't factor into this discussion.
So yes, it's been some time, but Chuck Morse is still talking out of his behind on Islam, and not giving a damn. But it gets better!
"By converting out of Islam, Obama either became an apostate, a murtadd, in Arabic, or he began engaging in an Islamic-sanctioned deception and thus remained Muslim," says Morse. "If Obama truly left Islam, and actively embraced Christianity, he could be subject to severe penalties under Islamic law including the death sentence. Islamic Shariah law calls for the execution of any Muslim who becomes a murtadd."
In other words, Obama's critics have caught him in a classic "have you stopped beating your wife?" scenario. He can't say he was a Muslim or he'll be killed, or he won't fess up because he's hiding it so he can do icky, nasty things to America and we'll never know.
The third option that he was a young man searching for a spiritual home that he eventually found in Christianity seems too ordinary for them. Or not icky and nasty enough for a man they've decided represents everything icky and nasty about America, and must therefore be ridden out of D.C. on a rail.
Now, I've never been one to accuse Mr. Farah or his cronies at World Net Daily for giving two tugs of a dead dog's phallus about the truth, so long as it suits their agenda (see above). But why on earth would they take someone like Chuck Morse under their wing, when it's fairly clear that he is to the factual, responsible journalism they pretend to practice what slasher movies are to pre-teen sex in the woods?
If I had to take an educated guess, I would say it's because amongst Mr. Morse's many books was one that hit all of WND's bells and whistles. A well-researched and, strangely enough, factually accurate though its conclusions are questionable book that linked elements of Middle Eastern Islam with the original Nazi Party, and was able to bring the influence forward to the modern day, however questionably.
The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism, originally printed in 2003, was republished by World Net Daily earlier this year. Since then they've been pimping the hell out of it, as is their in-house style. And I'm sure Chuck is appreciating that, as I am also sure he is now getting his word out to a much larger audience than running against Barney Frank ever got him. After all, this time he is in no danger of losing his shirt, and is now almost guaranteed of fame, notoriety, and money.
All he has to do is play the game he already plays so well: write about Muslims, add in just enough platitudes so he doesn't sound like an outright bigot, but constantly harp the notion that "real" Islam is a series of kill orders from on high, and "real" Muslims are either following those orders, or allowed to lie about what they say, or what they're doing. In Chuck Morse's view, trust becomes distrust, acceptance becomes wary, and tolerance becomes suicide.
You'd think a member of a religious minority that was often lied about and scapegoated itself would know better. Apparently not.
Who else is playing the game but should know better? Pamela Geller. And we'll talk more about her next time. In the meantime, here's tonight's musical interlude. The band is called Combichrist. The song is "Sent to Destroy."