Claim: Air Force veteran's editorial outlines the need for immigrants to adapt to American culture.
Status: Partly true.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2002]
HELLO! THIS IS AMERICA!
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma School officials remove "God Bless America" signs from schools in fear that someone might be offended.
Channel 12 News in Long Island, New York, orders flags removed from the newsroom and red, white, and
blue ribbons removed from the lapels of reporters. Why? Management did not want to appear biased and
felt that our nations flag might give the appearance that "they lean one way or another"
Berkeley, California bans US Flags from being displayed on city fire trucks because they didn't want to offend anyone in the community.
In an "act of tolerance," the head of the public library at Florida Gulf Coast University ordered all "Proud to be an American" signs removed so as to not offend international students.
I, for one, am quite disturbed by these actions of so-called American citizens; and I am tired of this nation worrying about whether or not we are offending some
individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled in New York and Washington D.C. when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.
I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. In fact, our country's population is almost entirely composed of descendants of immigrants; however, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some native Americans, need to understand.
First of all, it is not our responsibility to continually try not to offend you in any way. This idea of America being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture, called the "American Way" has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. Our forefathers fought, bled, and died at places such as Bunker Hill, Antietam, San Juan, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf, for our way of life.
We speak English, not Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore,
if you wish to become part of our society — learn our language!
"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some off-the-wall, Christian, Right Wing, political slogan — it is our national motto. It is engraved in stone in the House of Representatives in our Capitol and it is printed on our currency. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women,
on Christian principles, founded this nation; and this is clearly documented throughout our history. If it is appropriate for our motto to be inscribed in the halls of our highest level of Government, then it is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.
God is in our pledge, our National Anthem, nearly every patriotic song, and in our founding documents.
We honor His birth, death, and resurrection as holidays, and we turn to Him in prayer in times of crisis. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture and we are proud to have Him.
We are proud of our heritage and those who have so honorably defended our freedoms. We celebrate
Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Flag Day. We have parades, picnics, and barbecues
where we proudly wave our flag. As an American, I have the right to wave my flag, sing my national anthem, quote my national motto, and cite my pledge whenever and wherever I choose. If the Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.
The American culture is our way of life, our heritage, and we are proud of it. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. We are Americans, like it or not, this is our country, our land, and our lifestyle.
Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion about our government, culture,
or society, and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great American freedom, the right to leave.
If you agree, pass this onto other Americans!!
It is time to take a stand!!
MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA
LAND THAT WE LOVE!!!
Variations: Later versions of this piece omitted the first several paragraphs and included the following preface:
THIS DOES SAY IT ALL!!!
After hearing that the state of Florida changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her drivers license with her face covered, I believe this is even more appropriate. Read on, please!
This is an Editorial written by an American citizen, published in a Tampa Newspaper. He did quite a job; didn't he?
A January 2008 version combined elements of this article with a separate piece about Muslims in Australia, creating the misleading impression that the hybrid version reflected a speech given by Australian prime minister John Howard:
Prime Minister John Howard - Australia
Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.
Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.'
'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom'
'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society .. Learn the language!'
'Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.'
'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.'
'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom,
'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.'
'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'
Origins: The article quoted above was written by Air Force veteran Barry Loudermilk and originally published in his local Georgia newspaper, the Bartow Trader. As Christian Nelson of VietNow National Magazine (which also printed Loudermilk's piece) wrote of its origins:
After some Internet sleuthing, I caught up with Loudermilk one evening and asked what had brought him to the point of writing the article. "I've written a few articles in the past, and I'd been seeing on the news all these organizations wanting to remove patriotic symbols, and talking about 'offending' people, and it got me upset. So one night I went home and wrote down what I was thinking. Later, I e-mailed the piece to a few friends, and while I was at it, I sent it to the local newspaper, The Bartow Trader, which had published some of my pieces in the past, and they decided to run it."
Loudermilk thought that was it. He’d gotten his points across to a few friends, and knew his views were in the local newspaper, and that was enough for him. But it wasn’t over quite yet. About two weeks later, he suddenly started getting hundreds of encouraging e-mails and phone calls from people all around the country saying how much they liked what he had said.
Taking on the items here which can be reasonably categorized as true or false, we come up with the following:
tussle in Broken Arrow and other communities over whether use of the slogan "God Bless America" by government-related agencies should be considered a patriotic message or an unconstitutional display of a religious message is covered on our God Bless America page.
The issue of television news outlets' prohibiting their on-air reporters from wearing flags and other patriotic symbols on their clothing is covered on our No Flags Please, We're American page.
The (temporary) removal of flags from fire trucks in Berkeley is covered on our Fireban page.
The constitutionality of "In God We Trust" as a national motto has been contested in court several times, most recently in the case of Gaylor v. United States, which challenged the appearance of "In God We Trust" on coins and currency (and its use as a national motto) as an unconstitutional establishment of religion by the federal government. In 1996, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed that "the statutes establishing 'In God we trust as our national motto and providing for its reproduction on United States currency do not violate the Establishment Clause." Other groups continue to maintain that "the phraseology is strictly religious in origin."
The claim that the United States of America was "founded by Christian men and women, on Christian principles" has long been a subject of debate, with disclaimants pointing out that although many of the prominent revolutionaries and Founding Fathers were religious, they were Deists or Unitarians and not Christians. Articles such as Was America Founded As a Christian Nation? and The Founding Fathers Were Not Christians use the writings of the same historical figures to establish opposite points of view.
Although Americans may have a moral right to wave the flag or sing the national anthem whenever they choose, they don't necessarily always have a legal right to do so. Bellowing out a raucous version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at 3:00 AM could get you cited for disturbing the peace just the same as a overly-loud rendition of "Louie, Louie" would, and even a display of the American flag can run afoul of local regulations.
Despite claims to the contrary, the word "God" does appear in our national anthem, albeit not in a part most people know. "The Star-Spangled Banner" is made up of four stanzas (although rarely is any but the first sung), and the final stanza contains the line "And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust!'"
The preface someone else tacked on to Mr. Loudermilk's piece was inaccurate at the time it was written, but it later proved to be true when a event similar to the one described occurred. Najat Tamim-Muhammad, a 41-year-old immigrant from Morocco, had threatened to sue the state of Florida because they would not allow her to pose for a state ID card (not a driver's license) with her face covered, but that issue was resolved through compromise, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:
The issue involved Najat Tamim-Muhammad, 41, who was denied a Florida identification card in January because she wouldn't remove her habib.
The controversy didn't reach the point of a suit being filed.
As reported by the Miami Herald, she had gone to a license-issuing station in Daytona Beach. But when she was asked to remove the head covering to allow her face to be photographed, she refused. It is customary in some Islamic cultures for women to keep their faces partially covered while in public.
Darlene Wiles, supervisor of the Daytona Beach office of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said the ID picture must show a full facial figure as required by state law. The habib that Tamim-Muhammad was wearing covered only a part of her forehead and right eyebrow, so when she agreed to adjust it, all parties were satisfied. "As long as we can see their face, the photo will be taken," Wiles said.
"I'm very happy. Now I'm feeling very free," Tamim-Muhammad said, showing off her new ID card. The native Moroccan, who moved to the United States two years ago, said she would like to get a driver's license once she masters English.
four months later, Florida discovered that Sultaana Freeman, a 34-year-old Muslim woman, had previously been allowed to pose for her driver's license photo while wearing a niqab, a type of veil that covered most of her face. After Florida revoked Ms. Freeman's license until she posed for "full-face" photo, she filed a lawsuit contending her religion forbade her from showing her face to strangers or men outside her family, and therefore her constitutional right to freedom of religion was being violated by the state of Florida. Her case was ruled upon in June 2003 with the judge decreeing she could not wear her veil in her driver's license photo. She was offered the option of having her photo taken in a private room with only female Department of Motor Vehicles employees present, but she turned it down.
Sultaana Freeman (known as Sandra Kellar before her conversion to Islam) has been photographed without a veil at least once since she started wearing one in 1997. She had a mug shot taken after her arrest in 1998 on a domestic battery charge involving one of twin 3-year-old sisters who were in her foster care. (The children were later removed from her home.) Child welfare workers told investigators that Freeman and her husband had used their concerns about religious modesty to hinder them from looking for bruises on the girls:
Wait a minute! Doesn’t that look like a mug shot on the left? Why, yes! I think it is! I guess she was arrested! Well, as a matter of fact she was. It happened in 1997 in Decatur, Illinois, which was after her conversion to Islam. She was arrested for battering a foster child (religion of peace, and all that). In 1999 she plead guilty to felony-aggravated battery and was sentenced to 18 months probation.
By the way, since you've seen her face, you might as well know her real name. It's Sandra Keller.
Ironic, isn't it? If Sandra/Sultaana had just gone along with the program and allowed her face to be photographed it wouldn't now be plastered all over the Internet. And so it goes.
Last updated: 15 January 2008
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