But this is The Onion, and Gentries doesn't actually exist. And yet he does. Lately, he appears to be alive and well here in Middle Tennessee. Seriously, this quote sums up the worldview of the community center's mad-dog opponents:
"All Muslims are at war with America, and I will resist any attempt to challenge that assertion with potentially illuminating facts," said Gentries, who threatened to leave the room if presented with the number of Muslims who live peacefully in the United States, serve in the country's armed forces or were victims of the 9/11 attacks themselves. "Period."
"If you don't believe me, wait until they put your wife in a burka," Gentries continued in reference to a body covering worn by a small minority of Muslim women and banned in Turkey, Tunisia and Syria. "Or worse, a rape camp. That's right: For reasons I am content being totally unable to articulate, I am choosing to associate Muslims with rape camps."
The willful ignorance this parodies is utterly immutable — and as proven lately, very dangerous. Like Gentries, rather than seeing for themselves that the overwhelming majority of Muslims just want to get along in this country like the rest of us, the easily stampeded listen to Laurie Cardoza-Moore, the opportunistic former lobbyist who has affixed her name to opposition here in Tennessee, and to shrewd pols like Lou Ann Zelenik, who expertly use fear to whip the base. The arson over the weekend comes as no surprise.
Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher, essayist, mathematician and historian, once said, "It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this."