Yeah. Hey, on second thought, I guess this is exactly how baby Jesus of NASCAR-eth would want it. God bless America!
“I think with Islam, there is an effort to not just leave people alone. There is a compulsion to force people to join that faith.”
—Brentwood dentist J. Lee Douglas, who apparently has never heard of the Crusades.
Filmmaker Eric Allen Bell has been working on a documentary called Not Welcome, about the dust-up surrounding the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. He's put up a 25-minute rough edit of the movie at www.notwelcomedocumentary.com, calling it a "proposal for the long form documentary." This early version is definitely rough, but it shows Bell has some pretty amazing footage in the can.
Aside from the easy theatrics of Islamophobes spewing weird, barely grammatical vitriol, there are moments of real insight. Ossama Bahloul, the imam of the ICM, offers that making a big public anti-mosque stink is actually rhetorical ammunition for Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and elsewhere, who are trying to convince moderate Muslims that America hates Islam. Murfreesboro mayor Ernest Burgess seems to be reading his statement from a sheet of paper, but he also seems to mean it when he says "cultural diversity adds something to any particular location."
Then there's more of that vitriol — in one shot you see someone get in Bell's face and tell him to "get your ass out of here." But that's not where the story ends. Bell says all the hate started to get to him — at one point he taunts a mosque protester by mocking his misspelled sign — and he had to find another way. That's where it really starts to get interesting.
Cherry’s the mastermind behind Halleluah [sic], a drama pilot he wrote and will executive produce through ABC Studios. The logline: When the Tennessee town of Hallelujah finds itself being torn apart by forces of good and evil, a stranger arrives to bring justice, peace and quite possibly restore the faith in the world that the residents so desperately need. The episodes will be punctuated by songs sung by the gospel choir, which serves as a sort of Greek chorus.
Okay then! Considering Cherry’s love of broad farce, I’m concerned about Tennesseans possibly being portrayed as a bunch of ignorant yokels. Read the description again: you know ABC is already hard at work to reanimate the corpse of Ossie Davis so they can cast him as the resident Magical Negro.
But! Because I am kind, and an insatiable fan of television (not to mention a Tennessean), I have a few helpful tips:
Turns out some of the leading actors in Nashville polit-business don't like that. Predictably, neither do some Christian conservatives. So a couple of GOPers — state Rep. Glen Casada and state Rep./Metro Councilman Jim Gotto — participated in a meeting at LifeWay this morning organized by the Family Action Council of Tennessee to have a closer look. On the docket: the diabolical conflation of government observance of the conduct of businesses that accept taxpayer money, a certain biblical interpretation and the "homosexual agenda" (that's a quote from the email announcing the meeting, reproduced in full after the jump).
From Joey Garrison at The City Paper, who showed up at the meeting and had the door slammed in his face:
About 40 business leaders and other conservatives attended a Wednesday morning meeting organized at the downtown LifeWay building to discuss a bill sponsored by council members Jamie Hollin and Mike Jameson that would apply Metro’s current nondiscrimination policy to third-party vendors that do business with the city.
The Christian group Family Action Council of Tennessee organized the meeting. A reporter from The City Paper was not granted access to attend the gathering, and was asked to wait in the lobby.
The Action Council also passed out some interesting literature at the meeting, including "Two Proposed Responses" to the bill.
Why aren't you terrified of the Murfreesboro MEGA-MOSQUE? Don't you know it's going to have a swimming pool and a gymnasium? Are you prepared to have buff Muslims who know how to swim living among us? In an effort to help keep fear alive in Middle Tennessee, CBN filed this helpful report — posted by YouTube user InTheNameOfTheWest — on the coming of Sharia law to Rutherford county. Lending their insights: ongoing embarrassment to the idea of rationality in Tennessee Laurie Cardoza-Moore, and fearmongering zealot Rebecca Bynum, who alludes to "some larger purpose" in building this MEGA-MOSQUE. I'm sure she meant "some MEGA-PURPOSE." Transcript, as attached to the YouTube video, below. (It's slightly different from the clip in a couple places.)
But for real, people, Family Radio, Inc.'s Harold Camping has got it right this time: May 21, 2011. Fans of Family Radio have paid for signs all over the country, according to The Tennessean, and Nashville's Allison Warden is taking care of us. Apparently there are 40 such billboards in and around Music City.
And the date: "It's a certainty," Warden said.
Allison, can Pith hang out with you as you await Jesus' triumphant return on a chariot of cumulonimbus clouds and lightning bolts? We'd like a comment — either as you're lifted up to the cloud chariot, or as you sit dumbfounded until Camping revises his estimate, again and again, Edgar Whisenant-style.
Part-time Hamilton County Magistrate Joe Rehyansky wrote a "joking" proposal for Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller in which he suggested banning gay men from the military but letting lesbians serve so that they could give "straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream."
Just in case you're thinking, "No, he's not really suggesting that male GIs should be allowed to rape female GIs," he went on: "It fell to men to swing through the trees and scour the caves in search of as many women as possible to subdue and impregnate — a tough job but someone had to do it."
For some reason, The Daily Caller has removed the calls for our troops to turn on each other in order to correct the women, but not before folks saw it.
Great. You know, there were a lot of terrible stereotypes about Tennesseans, but I just don't think we had "they like to rape women into conforming" as one until last week.
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."
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Tennessee No Evil|
We Middle Tennesseans looked like ignorant hayseeds last night. Nationally. One can only hope Nashville isn't guilty by regional association. Jon Stewart, Prince of weeknight infotainment, sent correspondent Aasif Mandvi to Murfreesboro to speak with mosque opposition leader Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a Zionist cartoon, former anti-abortion lobbyist and president of Tennessee's Proclaiming Justice to the Nations. What followed was by turns hilarious, embarrassing and terrifying. Bear witness.
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