Michele Bachmann’s rough month seems to be winding down, although not before her allegation of “deep penetration” of high levels of the U.S. government by elements of the Muslim Brotherhood was publicly denounced Thursday by a coalition of 42 religious and secular organizations including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
So many Republicans had criticized Bachmann and her four fellow travelers for publicly expressing their suspicions against a high-ranking State Department official and others that it’s worth noting that Majority Leader Eric Cantor declined to do so.
Asked on CBS’s “This Morning” whether Bachmann was “out of line,” Cantor replied: “If you read some of the reports that have covered the story, I think that her concern was about the security of the country… So that’s all I know.”
House Speaker John Boehner had been among the first wave of Bachmann denouncers, describing her statements as “dangerous.” The difference between Cantor and Boehner’s statements tends to reinforce the impression that the speaker is a reluctant Tea Partier at best, while his immediate subordinate Cantor represents the hard right in the Repub leadership group.
The 42 organizations who put out a Thursday statement criticzing Bachmann and the others was a broad coalition including religious and secular groups from the NAACP and the ACLU to groups representing Jews, Lutherans, Baptists to the Catholic Bishops, whose decision to sign the letter was noteworthy because they often ally with the right on social issues.
“We write to raise our voices in protest of your recent letters regarding prominent American Muslim individuals and organizations,” the organizations wrote in a joint letter to the five House members. The letters refers to several letters asking for investigations of alleged Muslim Brotherhood penetration, including one long one to Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims in Congress, replying to Ellison’s request that the group back up their allegations.
“These letters question the loyalty of faithful Americans based on nothing more than their religious affiliations and what is at best tenuous evidence of their associations. As such, your actions have serious implications for religious freedom and the health of our democracy,” the 42 organizations wrote.