Friday, February 29, 2008

Truth, Fear & Politics

In all of the misinformation which has been spread around the internet about Senator Barack Obama’s religious affiliation, there is an underlying message which leaves me uncomfortable. Senator Obama’s opponents, in an attempt to smear his reputation, repeatedly assert that he is Muslim. They also deliberately use his middle name, Hussein, as more “proof” that he is Muslim.

Senator Obama is a Christian and a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ, in Chicago.

First off, a candidate’s religious affiliation shouldn’t matter. But what deeply disturbs me about these tactics, is that many folks believe that to claim a candidate is Muslim is a way to smear them. And what truly alarms me, is that some people believe the lies, have a strong, fearful reaction and then turn against Senator Obama.

When thinking about this issue, it’s not difficult to draw a straight line back to the terrorist attacks of September, 11, 2001. It’s even easy to understand a reflexive twitching of our internal antennae, born of fear, when topics like this are raised. But the actions of terrorists do not excuse United States citizens from seeking out the truth. Nor do the actions of terrorists, who perpetrate evil in the name of Islam, permit us to think that all Muslims are suspect.

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