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Bush's Silence Is Deafening


The Washington Post, Oct. 6, 2002

"There is Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son and successor and a participant in the president's inauguration, who has declared Islam a 'very evil and wicked religion.' There is the founder of the Christian Coalition and television evangelist Pat Robertson, who said that 'to think that Islam is a peaceful religion is fraudulent.' Robertson, in full attack mode himself, called the prophet Mohammed 'an absolute wild-eyed fanatic . . . a robber and brigand . . . a killer.' And in an appearance on the CBS program '60 Minutes,' Jerry Falwell completes the demonization of a religion by smearing the prophet of Islam as 'a terrorist.' "
"These are not just the words of a fringe movement. The speakers are leaders on the religious right, a movement close to a president who speaks their language. Their embrace is mutual. It therefore falls to the president to break his silence on their gross distortion and put some distance between their rhetoric and his professions of tolerance. To avert his gaze is to permit the Falwells, Robertsons and Grahams to legitimize perverse teachings by association with the president. If their words are not his, he must say so."