December 9, 2007


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Terrible lie

Posted by Thomas Wachtel, The Spin Zone

A “fact” that more than likely is not even true could be the deciding factor in the Democratic presidential nomination process and possibly the presidential race as a whole.

Allegations have abounded – originating primarily from conservative magazines and chain e-mails – that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is a Muslim, and he studied in a madrassa while living in Indonesia. He is also accused of being a “Muslim plant” acting as part of an elaborate plot to tear the United States apart from the inside. “What better way to start than at the highest level, through the President of the United States, one of their own,” reads one such e-mail.

Obama has had to go as far as having a letter written up and signed by members of Iowa’s clergy attesting to his Christianity.

In the immortal words of Bart Simpson, “That is wrong on so many levels.”

First of all, Barack Obama is not a Muslim. He is a Christian. He even wrote a book, “The Audacity of Hope,” the themes of which are based largely on his Christian faith. He did live in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, as a child. That doesn’t mean he’s a follower of Islam, though – his mother is from Kansas and his father is from Kenya, and neither one was religious, though his stepfather was born a Muslim.

In the real world, Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, home of the “best choir in town,” according to Obama himself. He says that he was a skeptic until his 20s, when he converted after working with churches as a community organizer.

The rumors persist, though, thanks to people like Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, who evidently are still taken seriously by some people. The repetition of these rumors by talk-radio hosts and their followers via e-mail only makes them spread more, no matter how much Obama refutes them or how few real facts they are based on. Even spell-check has been brainwashed – it just told me to change “Obama’s” to “Osama’s.”

I have a question, though. Why should this be a problem? Why should Obama’s campaign be hampered by these allegations? Why would he be a less viable candidate if he were, in fact, a Muslim?

There seems to be a myth in contemporary American culture that Islam is evil and that Muslims are “the enemy.” I would assume that the pattern of thinking here is that since the people who were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks were Muslims and claimed to be acting in the name of Allah, that all Muslims are therefore evil. That’s horrifying and just not true. It would be like saying that since Manifest Destiny – the will of “Divine Providence” for the United States to expand – led to the deaths of Native Americans, Christianity is evil.

The high level of intolerance and low level of rational thought in this country are starting to become an issue. Stop the hate, think for yourself and pay attention. Otherwise, this nation could be in for a rude awakening.

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Posted by Tom Schwoegler at 2:11 pm on December 13, 2007

This whole thing could be squelched if the mainstream media would just report the facts more than the controversy. In the Washington Post an Op-Ed piece that was more about the controversy than the facts garnered 701 comments from readers, virtually all of them taking the Post and writer to task.

This prompted the Post Ombudsman to comment on the article and she defended the Post and the author. This got 199 more comments about her inability to effectively perform her role.

One should always consider the source, especially when that source is Rush, Savage or the like. It is more troubling when a (once) respected paper like the Washington Post adds to the frenzy instead of clairfying things.

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