I have written an e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which is free to anyone. To download that book, in several formats, go here.
Creative Commons License
The posts in this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In other words, you can copy and use this material, as long as you aren't making money from it, and as long as you give me credit.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Barack Obama, Muslim?

Two good people -- Christians, church-goers, people I want praying for me -- have forwarded me an e-mail message which claims that Barack Hussein Obama, Democratic candidate for President of the U. S., is a Muslim in disguise, with the underlying implication that no Muslim is fit to be President. This message, and others I've heard about, but not received, even imply that any one named Hussein, or with a name that close to Osama, must be a terrorist.

I have checked this with the usually reliable Urban Legends Reference pages, (the previous link quotes one version of the e-mail) and they conclude that this message is, at best, a serious distortion. (Added Jan 24, 2006: CNN has investigated the charge that Obama attended a radical Muslim school in Indonesia, and found it to be false.)

People who run for office should be evaluated on their fitness for the office, their character, and their stands on the issues. Their religious beliefs make up part of their character, to be sure.

I remember the election season of 2006 with dread. We do watch TV some, and network TV was full of ads (That's hardly news -- that's the purpose of network TV). Way too many of the ads were political. They made wild claims about what their candidates had done for us while in office, which is bad enough, but more often made outrageous claims about why opposing candidates were not fit for office. In many cases, if the implications of these claims were true, the opponent should have been in jail. Generally, there was no way suggested to check either sort of claim, and the TV news, nor the newspapers, usually gave much help, either.

We have, so far, a black man with some Muslim background, a woman, a man with Hispanic ancestry, a Mormon, and many others running for President of the U. S. (We also have a man whose last name is very close to "brownbag," and another with an Italian name. Isn't the mafia an Italian organization?) I am sure that all of these have some qualifications that would make them good Presidents. I am also sure that they all have some weaknesses in their qualifications, and that none of them would be a perfect President, if elected. Mr. Obama, and the Mormon, Mitt Romney, for instance, don't seem to have any significant experience in foreign relations. (George W. Bush didn't have a lot, either, when he became President.) It is possible that there are dangers in electing a Mormon as President. (There were fears that John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic President, would somehow transform the White House into a branch of the Vatican, when he ran for President. It didn't happen.)

It is said that Obama joined a Christian church a number of years ago because he knew that it would enhance his chances of election to office. Well, maybe. If so, he wouldn't be the first person who has exploited religious affiliation to political advantage. (For example, Richard M. Nixon used religious conservatives to his advantage. It is doubtful if he was, at heart, one of them.)

The real problem, it seems to me, is that many people, including good people, are prejudiced against anyone who is not "like them," because of their race, or their name, or their religious background, and will vote accordingly. Others are prejudiced against having any woman in the office of President. (We currently have females who are two and three heartbeats from the Presidency, should something happen to Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.) I probably have some unacknowledged prejudices myself. I shouldn't. I should be voting on a person's qualifications for an office, including their character and their positions on the issues, regardless of sex, ancestry, or religion. That includes Mr. Obama. He sounds good, so far. He says that he wants to bring us together. I hope somebody does.

While we're talking about politics, let's don't forget that I am running for President of the U. S. I have one plank in my platform.

Thanks for reading.

* * * *

Added, Jan 27, 2007. A commenter below suggested a post by Ben Witherington on the same subject. Mr. Witherington is a noted conservative Christian commentator, and, indeed, had some important things to say about the attack on Mr. Obama, and on other things. Here is a link to his post.


Weekend Fisher said...

I read a large part of Mr. Obama's book when I got it for someone for Christmas. (Terrible, I know, but that's another subject.)

He struck me as a Christian with a little devotion and a lot to learn, but a Christian nonetheless. He used some of the standard liberal lines like the argument from how eating oysters was an abomination to the fact that the O.T. has nothing to say about morality, which (to me) marks someone as a person who hasn't done their homework on the big picture of O.T. law and morality. But how many politicians would have said the same? He's not a theologian.

He also openly acknowledged that religious conservatives and particularly pro-lifers had been treated unfairly by the leftist mainstream. I haven't seen a liberal acknowledge that before, ever.

Take care & God bless

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for the perspective, W. F.!

Benji said...

Dr. Labar,

Ben Witherington has a good post about this that I read the other day. You might be interested. It's here:

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Benji. I am adding the URL you sent here, and also adding it to my original post. It is well worth reading.