The GOP’s Axis of Ignorance: Gays, Latinos and Muslims

Already under right-wing fire for including gay group GOProud, the Conservative Political Action Conference now faces backlash for inviting the Republican group Muslims for America and their leader, Suhail Khan, whom opponents claim wants to impose Shariah law. Republican leaders need to take a stand against internal bigotry, or face the electoral consequences.

The GOP's Axis of Ignorance: Gays, Latinos and Muslims

“This is a ticking time bomb for the conservative community. An influence operation is contributing materially to the defeat of our country, supporting a stealthy effort to bring Shariah here,” warned Frank Gaffney, a longtime conservative leader known for his rapid anti-Muslim views.

He and his peers claim Muslims for America represents nothing more than a front for the terrorist group Muslim Brotherhood, and even refuse to call the organization by any other name.

“The Brotherhood’s stated mission is to destroy Western civilization from within,” he said of Muslims for America. “Their agenda for the U.S. and the world is the triumph of Shariah law worldwide under a ruler known as a caliph.”

The conservative website ‘World Net Daily’ offered this highly editorialized “report:” “Islamism has infiltrated the American Conservative Union, the host of CPAC, in the person of Washington attorney and political activist Suhail Khan and a group called Muslims for America,” and anti-Islam writer Paul Sperry asserted, “[Khan runs] an influence operation on Capitol Hill that’s quite sophisticated and slick.”

Khan, a former member in the Bush administration, dismisses Gaffney and others’ charges, telling Talking Points Memo, “Every one of his assertions is completely untrue, [but Gaffney] doesn’t want to let a few silly facts in the way of good story.”

This anti-Muslim outcry comes after groups like Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, protested CPAC’s invite of GOProud, a group of gay Republicans. “

By bringing in GOProud, CPAC was effectively saying moral opposition to homosexuality is no longer welcome in the conservative movement,” said boycott supporter Peter LaBarbera, leader of the homophobic Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.

“Shame on CPAC for defending the absurd proposition that one can be ‘conservative’ while embracing moral surrender – in this case the idea espoused by GOProud of the government granting ‘rights’ and benefits based on sinful sexual conduct long regarded as anathema to biblical and Judeo-Christian values.” You can be sure LaBarbera will soon join up with Gaffney and other anti-Islam conservatives.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Republican realm, lawmakers from five states yesterday introduced a joint campaign to repeal the 14th amendment’s birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.

“We want to bring an end to the illegal alien invasion that is having such a negative impact on our states,” announced Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe.

Latinos from both sides of the political aisle have already denounced the move, which supporters hope with take hold in 14 states and spark the Supreme Court’s intervention.

“Rather than attacking babies born in the United States and the Constitution, we demand [the GOP] target our suffering economy,” declared Deedee Garcia Blase from the Texas-based Latino group Somos Republicans.

With John Boehner now Speaker of the House, and the Tea Party firmly in place among Congress, the Republicans are attempting to project a united front. They want to flex their muscle with symbolic legislation, including birthright citizenship and health care reform, and look as if they represent a variety of interests.

“The American people have humbled us,” said Boehner after being sworn-in yesterday. “They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is. They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them.”

Khan describes Gaffney and his allies as being “marginalized” among Republicans. Be that as it may, the anti-Islam and homophobic battles surrounding CPAC, once the centripetal force of the conservative coalition, proves the GOP and its stalwarts remain more divided than ever, and more ignorant of America’s evolving population.

It would be redundant at this point to warn Republicans against such infighting and exclusion. They clearly are incapable of understanding the political importance of creating a big tent, nor do they seem particularly concerned.

If on the off chance, however, Republican leaders like those appearing at CPAC—a group that includes potential presidential contenders Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels—want to prove their dedication to America’s inclusive ideals, they’ll stand up and denounce Gaffney, FRC and other right wing elements of hatred and bigotry. If not, they’ll just continue whitewashing over these crystal clear divisions and pretend the conservative camp is one big happy family, a trend that will only bring defeat come 2012.