Speaking in Tongues [Updated]

So the Boykin story gets better and better. [See You Can Call Me Satan.]

First he apologized, but the Pentagon had to censor his apology. When you read what was left in, you wonder how bad the stuff was that was edited. CNN has the story. I have to admit I’m surprised, CNN usually isn’t this critical of anyone, especially not the powers in the Bush administration.

Talking Points Memo also has a nice piece on the affair and links to some good related articles. While TPM does mention the Fareed Zakaria piece, it’s good enough to mention again.

I honestly don’t understand what the issue is. Trent Lott was more oblique in his reference to his own racism, and he stepped down fairly quickly. Boykin has established a pattern of xenophobia as well, and in terms of our “War on Terrorism,” he is in a far more sensitive position. Aside from Ashcroft’s comments on Islam, I tended to give the administration the benefit of the doubt; I did not believe that their was against Islam, just against people of color, as witnessed by the preferred treatment given to John Walker Lindh. However, the Boykin incident is making me re-evaluate that position. Rumsfeld has backed him, the Joint Chiefs of Staff support him, and Bush hasn’t really made a commitment one way or another.

I know right now this looks like Boykin is picking on Islam, but read his comments more carefully. It’s not an exclusively Islam bias, it’s so radically exclusivist Christianity – Judeo-Christian comments notwithstanding – that other religious groups should be getting a little nervous. He has the right to his beliefs, but when they become broadcast as hatred for others, there really should be some consequences; he doesn’t have the right to yell “fire.”

[Update] There’s a Boston Globe editorial that talks about the double-standard of tolerance in the Bush administration. You can substitute the name Boykin for Barbour and have pretty much the same argument.

Also, Mother Jones does a treatment of the Boykin affair and links to some good reads on the topic.