HARRISBURG -- An anti-Muslim remark made on the House floor last month inspired some to call state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe a bigot and others to call him intolerant.
One group, though, says it wants to give him an award.
The White Christian Nation compares Mr. Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, to prominent white supremacist leader Thomas Robb and says it wants to give him a Christian National Soldier Award during a rally the group is sponsoring Aug. 10 at Adams Township Community Park.
Mr. Metcalfe denounced the group and said he had never heard of White Christian Nation until it notified him of the award two weeks ago in separate letters signed by John Nayst and Jerry Western.
"I categorically reject any association with you, your organization and Mr. Robb," Mr. Metcalfe wrote back in a letter dated July 3. "As an Army veteran who had the privilege and honor of serving the United States alongside extremely dedicated men and women of all races, religions and national ancestries, I will not allow my office or my name to be compromised."
Since writing that response, Mr. Metcalfe has questioned whether the letters are really from White Christian Nation or are from political opponents trying to defame him.
"I'm suspecting this could be a political group trying to create an illusion for political purposes," said Mr. Metcalfe, who is asking Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger to review the letters and postcards.
"Either this is some hate group or it's somebody creating an illusion of a hate group. It's just as bad whether it's somebody playing dirty politics or some real group."
Mr. Robb did not respond to an e-mail message from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette yesterday. Internet searches turned up no results for the name John Nayst or contact information for Jerry Western, whose letters list a post office box in Erie as a return address.
Mr. Metcalfe has been accused of maligning non-Christians in remarks last month before a vote on a symbolic resolution to recognize the 60th annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
"The Muslims do not recognize Jesus Christ as God, and I will be voting negative," he said then.
Mr. Metcalfe also is leading the charge to prevent illegal immigration and is involved in efforts to ensure gay marriage and civil unions stay illegal in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Western's letter thanked Mr. Metcalfe "for standing up against the Islamic Muslims, illegal immigrates [sic] and gays that have taken over our country."
Christopher Wink, an intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents' Association, contributed. Tracie Mauriello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-717-787-2141.