We already knew that the religious right is so determined to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. After all, she’s been their pet hate for two decades. But how far are they willing to go? Well, if what we’ve heard from American Family Radio morning drive-time host Sandy Rios is any indication, they’re willing to join in trashing a Gold Star family.
In case you missed it, Rios used Friday’s show to flay Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan for flaying Donald Trump’s Islamophobia at the Democratic National Convention. She claimed that if he were a truly “patriotic, loyal, American Muslim,” he would have kept his mouth shut. After all, Trump was merely voicing “genuine and rightful concerns” about Muslims in this country. She then suggested that the only way an American Muslim would speak out against Trump would be if he were hiding his true Islamist views to throw us infidels off the scent. In other words, modern-day McCarthyism.
Well, the smear continued in earnest on Tuesday’s show. Rios brought Clare Lopez of the far-right Center for Security Policy to help continue her witch hunt. Lopez is a former CIA officer who served on Ted Cruz’ national security advisory team. All you need to know about Lopez is that earlier this year, she peddled the debunked right-wing shibboleth that there are certain parts of Minneapolis where the police don’t even go because sharia reigns supreme.
Lopez mused that when Khizr and Ghazala took the stage in Philadelphia, they were actually speaking in code. Lopez claimed that Khizr and Ghazala knew that their son was considered an apostate in the eyes of ISIS and other Islamist terrorists because he fought against other Muslims. She believed that the Khans were actually using their speech to reassure Muslims that they were still loyal to the faith. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Lopez wondered why Khizr and Ghazala would “highlight the infidelity of their son” on national television. She thinks she found the answer in Khizr’s work as an immigration lawyer helping to bring Muslim immigrants into this country.
She believed that Khan’s opposition to Trump’s blatantly discriminatory call to turn away all Muslim immigrants–or at least, those from countries compromised by terror–may have taken “precedence” over the need to “highlight his family’s shame” that their son died an apostate. Rios rose to the lure, wondering if the Khans’ “penance” was part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to trick Westerners into thinking Islam is really a peaceful religion. Lopez disagreed; she thought it was better to call it “collaboration.”
Later, Lopez claimed that Khizr was sending “two messages” in his riveting speech. Listen here.
Lopez claimed that Khizr and Ghazala would like us to think they are just “a grieving father and mother of a hero son.” However, she thinks Khizr was speaking in a code that only Muslims would understand–if Trump wins in November, “the jig is up” for jihadists. Rios chimed in that the burden is on Muslims to “distinguish themselves” and prove they are true Americans.
The worst came later, when Rios and Lopez flatly accused a Muslim Gold Star family of being closet jihadists. Listen here.
Lopez claimed that the Khans were feeding the nation “a load of hogwash” about Islam being a peaceful religion, when ISIS and others of their ilk represent “the truest expression of Islam in the world today.” Rios bit hard, saying that Khizr “at the very least was being dishonest with us.”
Rios then repeated her smear from Monday–as far as she was concerned, Khizr had “no right” to pull out his pocket-size Constitution and wave it while asking Trump if he’d read the document. She then asked Lopez, “faithful Muslims can’t embrace our Constitution, can they?” Lopez responded without hesitation, “Not if they’re going to be faithful to the doctrine of Islam, no.”
So let me get this straight. When a Gold Star Muslim family condemns a policy that would have kept them from even coming to this country, let alone kept their son out of the Army, they should sit down and shut up lest they be suspected of being closet jihadists? Apparently so, in Rios’ world. All because they dare to speak against the man who wants to make America great again.
Riddle me this, Sandy. Are you saying that minorities have no right to speak against discrimination that still exists in this country if they’re truly patriotic? Are you saying that I, as a black man, have no right to say anything when people roll their eyes at me and my white girlfriend? Or about my concerns about being profiled? It sure sounds like you are.
The religious right is trying to make a play for blacks by following the same playbook they used with born-again whites–use social issues to wedge away people who otherwise would have no business voting Republican. Indeed, Rios’ bosses at AFR even have a dedicated network for black conservatives, “Urban Family Talk.” But if they think that any minority–including Muslims–who speaks out against discrimination is automatically suspect, it’s no wonder that effort isn’t working.