Mike Huckabee now says he knows President Obama wasn't born in Kenya and that he misspoke when he made that much-maligned comment earlier this week. But on social conservative Bryan Fischer's radio show on Wednesday, he agreed when the host offered that "there may be some fundamental anti-Americanism in this president."Leaving aside all the obvious birther-type fuckery in that comment, and the hilariously unsubtle reminder to paranoid Tea Partiers that Obama's a Top Secret Muslim, I'd just like to point out the inherent irony in the particular institutions chosen by Huckabee to ostensibly demonstrate the superiority of US culture.
..."And I have said many times," [Huckabee said], "publicly, that I do think he has a different worldview and I think it's, in part, molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas."
[Trigger warning for a mentions of sexual abuse.]
The Boy Scouts of America only allow male members to fully participate, and disallow atheists, agnostics, and "known or avowed homosexuals" from membership. Sexual assault cases have been brought against scout leaders in all 50 states.
The Rotary Club only began to extend membership invitations to women in the 1980s, and only after they were sued. It wasn't until the 1990s that gay members were allowed, and, by virtue of its by-invitation-only membership practices, Rotary membership remains disproportionately white, male, and straight.
Both organizations, at least in the US, are strongly affiliated with conservative Christianity.
So. The usual criticisms of madrassas made by conservatives like Huckabee is that they're insular, xenophobic, male-centric, religiously fundamentalist institutions, which discourage diversity and enable the sexual abuse of children via child brides. Ahem.
Never mind the accuracy of those criticisms; that's why they claim to object to madrassas (as if they are monolithic, which they are not). And yet, as long as an institution which could be described in precisely the same terms props up privileged men in the US, it's irrefutable evidence of American Exceptionalism.