Lawton mosque pig dumping

If some dipshit in a pickup truck thinks slinging a pig carcass in the parking lot of a Lawton mosque counts as irreverent political discourse, he’s going to need to up his game if he wants to outdo Islamophobic members of the Oklahoma Legislature.

Elected officials have already spent 2016 questioning whether Islam is a religion worthy of First Amendment protections in general, and they have slandered Muslim leaders as terrorists.

Thursday’s childish dumping of a pig (and a cast-aside beer cooler) at the Islamic Center of Lawton pales in comparison to the offensive actions, arguments and ignorance of many other Oklahomans, at least two of whom receive state paychecks to represent thousands of people in the Legislature’s lower chamber.

In other words, nice try, Cletus. You made some headlines and baited the state’s leading Islamic advocacy group into calling for an FBI investigation, but, at the end of the day, you simply wasted a perfectly good hog and littered an otherwise useful beverage box.

When you grow up (and sober up) a bit, maybe knock on the door of the Islamic Center of Lawton, introduce yourself, admit some humanity and get to know your fellow citizens. You’ll learn a thing or two, no doubt.

Okie Islamophobia in 2016

That, essentially, is the same advice I offered Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) in June when he expressed puzzling uncertainty as to whether Islam is actually a religion worthy of First Amendment protections. He had not known that a mosque even existed in his hometown, and thus he had never visited with members of its small but devout congregation.

Weeks later, I was told Oklahoma Muslim leaders had met with the representative and had a pleasant exchange.

Funny how utter ignorance can breed contempt while actual experience can provide perspective.

Likewise, Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) spent the weeks leading up to November’s election spouting off ignorant rhetoric that reportedly culminated in one of the most foolish political moments many people said they’ve ever seen — the admonishment of an Imam for hugging a Christian during a public meeting.

Bennett won re-election in his rural, conservative district, and Ownbey received an additional term by default when no one filed to challenge him this year.

A damn shame

All of that is to say, Oklahoma’s culture of Muslim hatin’ is still going strong, despite ongoing efforts (mostly by Muslim leaders and slightly by sites like ours) to encourage an interfaith dialogue and shatter harmful stereotypes.

As America prepares for POTUS-elect Donald Trump to take office, many Muslims are on edge, hoping at best to avoid Trump’s often hateful ire while fearing at worst some sort of targeted harassment.

In short, that’s no way for Americans to live in the greatest country on earth, and it’s a damn shame that bigots may be emboldened and young people may be encouraged to disrespect places of worship in a nation that has locked freedom of religion into its excellent Constitution.

So, to the pig-flinging dipshit(s) mentioned above and others like them, the next time you consider making divisive political statements about a group of people, put on your big-boy pants and go meet them first.

Dollars to donuts says you can’t taste the difference between an all-beef hot dog and a pork frank, but it’s much more important that you can tell the difference between a radical terrorist in a far-off land and your brother from another mother who owns a local business in your community.