Boyles again likened critics of illegal immigration to "heretics" Copernicus and Galileo

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

While interviewing a co-host of The Jersey Guys radio show about the show's segment encouraging listeners to report suspected illegal immigrants, 630 KHOW-AM's Peter Boyles again brought up the names of scientists Copernicus and Galileo to defend against charges that his comments on illegal immigration and those of his guests have been racist or bigoted.

On the March 27 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM radio show, Peter Boyles again invoked the names of Renaissance-era astronomers Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473 - May 24, 1543) and Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564 - January 8, 1642) to refute charges that he and other critics of illegal immigration have made racist or bigoted remarks.

Boyles was interviewing Craig Carton, co-host of The Jersey Guys program on radio station WKXW (101.5 FM) in Trenton, New Jersey. Carton was discussing a feature that he and co-host Ray Rossi initiated called "La Cucha Gotcha," which, according to an article posted March 22 on The Denver Post's website, encourages listeners "to report suspected illegal immigrants to 101.5 FM or federal authorities." The article noted that Latino political and community leaders say the campaign "is clearly anti-Latino and may encourage racial profiling and other bias incidents against Latinos."

After Carton defended himself against accusations that the program "attack[ed] Hispanics," stating that "was really never the case," Boyles replied, "I know the drill." He then stated:

[T]he good argument that I use for this is during what's called the rise of the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment and there were people -- Copernicus and Galileo ... they were affront to the church because there was at the time, Catholic Church was dominant. And so the church would use a term called "heretic," and heretic was the end-all. In other words, once I charge you with being a heretic, anything that Copernicus or Galileo or anyone else had to say, you were a heretic. ... So today the word-stopper -- once you begin to talk about illegal immigration, I give you a series of words. Number one is racist.

As Colorado Media Matters noted, Boyles on numerous occasions has used Copernicus and Galileo to refute charges that he and other critics of illegal immigration were making racist or bigoted remarks. For example, during a September 5, 2006, discussion with former Republican and Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan about the "re-annexation -- linguistically, culturally, socially, and ethnically" -- of the American Southwest by Mexico, Boyles said, "[W]hen we speak about this ... you get called a racist. And I'm thinking, 'Wait a minute, which of us is the racist?' " He later stated, "[Y]ou know -- when Copernicus and Galileo -- and the church can't handle their truth, so they just call them heretics."

From the March 27 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

CARTON: Here's what's happening. It's -- you know, we started this campaign on February 5 with very little fanfare and what happened was that there's a couple local politicians who are looking to be re-elected. And there's a good chance they will not be re-elected. So they jumped on this issue, and they've turned this issue from what it was into a race-baiting campaign.

BOYLES: Of course.

CARTON: We've never once said that every single illegal is Hispanic or Latino. And we've never said that, you know, illegals are synonymous with Latinos. Now, the reality is 81 percent of illegal immigrants in this country happen to be Hispanic. I don't care if they're from France, Germany, or Italy. If they're here illegally, they ought to be sent home. So what's happening now is the message is being changed by people that have agendas. It's no longer, hey, let's make America safer and let's get rid of illegal immigrants or force them to play by the rules. We have to create a new problem. And now it's us attacking Hispanics, which was really never the case.

BOYLES: Go through it every day. Um --

CARTON: Yeah.

BOYLES: I mean, I know the drill. And your choices now are to -- I mean, the good argument that I use for this is during what's called the rise of the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment and there were people -- Copernicus and Galileo -- and people know the story. So they were affront to the church because there was at the time, Catholic Church was dominant. And so the church would use a term called "heretic," and heretic was the end-all. In other words, once I charge you with being a heretic, anything that Copernicus or Galileo or anyone else had to say, you were a heretic. And being a heretic, by the way, back then carried some weight. So today the word-stopper -- once you begin to talk about illegal immigration, I give you a series of words. Number one is racist. When's the last time you were called a racist?

CARTON: Every day of the week.

BOYLES: All right. Now there's a new one called a nativist that harkens back to the time period before the turn of the century. Then there's xenophobe, which is interesting, because it really applies more to the -- at the time of the opening of Japan. There's also, um, let me see -- Klansmen --

CARTON: Well you're a lot brighter than I am.

BOYLES: -- neo-Nazi.

CARTON: I haven't heard of half of these words.

BOYLES: Neo-Nazi. Supremist.

CARTON: Right.

BOYLES: All these things. And all they are -- they're the equivalent of screaming "heretic." And although, you know, although we now know Galileo, Copernicus, and others were absolutely correct, and actually there was even far more beyond. But at their time they were correct.

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