Frank Gaffney is convinced that Muslims are a grave threat to America, and that people who associate them may be guilty of treasonous acts, and that we need a new House committee to investigate them all. In other words, he proudly advocates a return to full-blown McCarthyism, and a new House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC):
[I]t’s called misprision of treason. And that is a crime in which an individual, doesn’t have to be a government official but it would apply there but also to private citizens, who knows or has reason to know that seditious activity is under way and does nothing about it. I think we need to include that in the possibilities here because what our friend and co-author Andy McCarthy has called willful blindness may actually be a criminal offense under our statutes and people need to be held accountable.
I’ve called in a column I wrote a couple of weeks ago in the Washington Times for a new congressional oversight committee. Back in the Cold War as we talked about in our first program we wrestled with another totalitarian ideology that was determined to destroy us back when the McCarren Act was enacted, we had what was then called the House Un-American Activities Committee to explore what was going on, who was doing it, who was helping them do it, what the implications would be if it weren’t stopped. I think at the very least a new House Anti-American Activities Committee.
For starters, I think we already have a House Anti-American Activities Committee, or at least something close to it, in Peter King's ongoing series of meetings about the supposed threat represented by Muslim Americans. I suppose he could formalize it further by putting a new name on the door, or by making white hoods the new committee dress code, but it's getting pretty darn close to McCarthyism already.
Secondly, in the wake of Norway's recent anti-Muslim fueled terrorism, I would have hoped people like Gaffney would have spent a little less time talking about the supposed secret menace of other people's religions and a little more time contemplating the effects of their constant fearmongering over the supposed secret menace of other people's religions. We might have hoped, anyway, but none of us really expected it: Bigotry against groups of "outsiders" has always been and will always remain the staple of Gaffney-style "conservatism." They just switch the "outsiders" they're targeting according to public tastes: It is now considered tasteless to fearmonger against black Americans (unless you're Rush Limbaugh, in which case you can still do it every single day without being called out on it), but immigrants, homosexuals, non-Christians and other groups are still fair game.
If we truly set up a committee like that, I hope it investigates the effects of hate speech by Gaffney and others on lone-wolf terrorists here and in other nations. If we're going to investigate "un-American activities," that would seem to qualify more than some group of Americans having the audacity to belong to a different religion. We certainly have ample evidence of many self-professed Christians among recent terrorists—the Atlanta Olympics bomber, for example, or the devout Christian fellow who assassinated Dr. George Tiller outside his own church, and if we're talking about the dangers of holding a specific religious law above United States law, I expect I would be able to find you a hundred separate American lawmakers giving public speeches to demand exactly that, so long as it is their specific religion being enshrined instead of someone else's.
In fact, this particular Gaffney proposal (investigating people for treasonous acts) is apparently the direct result of the appointing of a Muslim American to the New Jersey Superior Court, which Gaffney found appalling because, well, the fellow was Muslim. Muslim! And the out-of-control, Sharia-loving liberal governor Chris Christie appointed him anyway!
So Gaffney's concern over someone else's religion being a "totalitarian ideology" is a bit ... unreflective, perhaps. Gaffney announced this need for new McCarthy hearings on the threat of Muslim Americans and their sympathizers during an appearance on a Christian television program: I would expect that if a Muslim television program similarly demanded government investigations of Christians and their supporters, the howling cries of oppression from Gaffney and his ilk would deafen us all.
No, I think there are few things more un-American than religious intolerance—but I think there is little hope of Frank Gaffney ever learning that.