"Bomb Mecca", a "Catholic Plot", a Neo-Confederate Rally: Tom Tancredo
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Sep 15, 2006 at 04:28:40 PM EST
Back in July, as Max Blumental noted, the US Rep. for Colorado Tom Tancredo agreed with a radio caller who hinted darkly at an alleged Catholic plot to swamp US Protestant culture with a "Catholic human tidal wave" from south of the border:

During a July 19th appearance on American Family Radio, anti-immigration movement figurehead and potential 2008 GOP presidential candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo of Littleton, Colorado, made his anti-Catholic sentiments explicit. Responding to a caller's suggestion that Catholics have a surreptitious plan to cultivate political hegemony in the US by ushering in waves of Catholic immigrants across open borders, Tancredo lays into Catholics and concluded that the caller "does have a point."

This September, reports the Rocky Mountain News Tancredo was last to be found up on stage at a Neo-Confederate rally in South Carolina:

The Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance and the Latino clergy group Confianza said they were outraged that Tancredo spoke at an event Saturday at the South Carolina State Museum where the Confederate flag reportedly was on the podium and Tancredo joined the crowd in singing the Southern anthem Dixie....

The [ Southern Poverty ] law center claimed the gathering was "hosted" by the South Carolina chapter of the League of the South, a Southern nationalist group.....

it was officially sponsored by an unrelated conservative group, Americans Have Had Enough, which shares the Colorado congressman's views on illegal immigration.

Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa has accused the law center of intentionally fabricating facts to discredit the congressman. He acknowledged that there were Confederate flags in the room and said Tancredo joined in singing Dixie.

But, Espinosa said earlier this week, "These aren't racist people who spew out hate. These are just people remembering and cherishing their past."

That comment angered the Rev. Steven Dewberry of New Horizon Christian Community Ministries in Denver.

"To join in singing Dixie, (and) to walk into a room that has a huge Confederate flag in it, that should have been his notice to walk out," Dewberry said Thursday.

"Their past is our anguish, our slavery, our lynchings. It breaks our heart to think we still have some white brothers and sisters in (Tancredo's) district that agree with this wild behavior of his."

The current account of the incident - dated September 11th and  posted on the Southern Poverty Law Center's website (without mention of any subsequent changes) is quite a bit more judicious than Espinosa's description, and the website account does not attribute the hosting of the event to the League Of The South :

At the close of Tancredo's speech, several men in confederate-themed clothing stood up and bellowed the first notes of "Dixie," the Confederate anthem. They were soon joined by voices from throughout the large hall, which was now entirely on its feet. Tancredo, a second-generation Italian-American from Denver, appeared confused by the sudden burst of strange song. He quickly worked his way toward the exit with his staff.

Tancredo's encounter with the League of the South continued outside. On the steps of the museum, Tancredo held court with LOS officials and supporters in Confederate clothing. He held a batch of the materials being distributed at the barbeque, among them a copy of the The Citizen's Informer, the newspaper of the Conservative Citizens Council, the racist organization that grew out of the segregationist White Citizens Councils of the 1950s. When questioned about the newspaper, Tancredo responded that he did not know its history.

That might even be true, but Tancredo, as Michelle Goldberg reports at Talk To Action, has a longstanding association with the extreme wing of the anti-immigration movement, while Tanya Erzen reports on a Spring appearance, on a panel alongside Sam Brownback, at a Family Research Council sponsored event in May 2006 called "Faith, Culture, and Law in the Immigration Debate.

As Erzen describes:

The rationale behind the conference was to gauge conservative Christian responses to what Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC) calls, "the immigration crisis" and to apply a "Judeo-Christian worldview" to public policy issues.

Tancredo, is reported - by Fox news on July 18, 2005 - as having advocated, on an Orlando, Florida radio show, 'That "the U.S. could "take out" Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked the country with nuclear weapons." '

But, there's more. Toim Tancredo also advocates the elimination of public education. A brief, undated report first Published by The Institute For First Amendment Studies and now at the website of Public Eye notes:

"United States Representative Thomas Tancredo and state senator John Andrews have signed a pledge calling for the elimination of all public schools. Tancredo serves on the House Education Committee in Washington, and Andrews is vice chairman of the senate education committee in the Colorado State legislature. The pledge to do away with public education that the two signed is being circulated by the Separation of School and State Alliance, a California-based group with a $300,000 annual budget. The group's founder, Marshall Fritz, said, "All education is essentially religious because all education essentially teaches children right from wrong."
An April 1999 note from http://www.thepopulist.org provides additional detail:
Two Colorado politicians who serve on education committees, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and state Sen. John Andrews, have signed a pledge calling for elimination of all public schools. "It is clear that reform of state schooling will not solve the educational crisis," says the pledge signed by Tancredo, R-Littleton, a member of the U.S. House Education Committee, and Andrews, R-Englewood, vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee in the state Legislature, as reported in the Denver Post on Feb. 23 [ 1999 ]. "Therefore, we must end government compulsion in education funding, attendance and content. Separation of school and state is essential to restore parental responsibility and create an environment of educational freedom in which both students and teachers can flourish." The pledge was set up by a California group, the Separation of School and State Alliance, which passes out literature with the motto, "It's not the business of federal, state and local governments to be involved in Monday school any more than in Sunday school." The group said 6,000 people across America so far have signed the pledge.
Among the signers of the "Separation Of School and State Alliance" pledge include a virtual who's who of Christian Reconstructionism. However, a July, 2006 study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education determined that - after adjusting for differences in the composition of student populations, the performance of public schools was a good as that of private schools and that public schools in fact outperformed conservative Christian schools in mathematics. At the time of the report's initial release, the Bush Administration was accused of trying to bury the findings of the report for ideological reasons.



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