The Rev. Franklin Graham has waded into whether or not Obama is a Muslim with an endorsement of his Christianity that could hardly be more lukewarm.
"I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name," Graham told CNN's John King in a televised interview that aired Thursday night."The seed of Islam" sounds almost like an infection. As if it something that, once born with, it is impossible to remove.
"Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed, and he has renounced Islam, and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That's what he says he has done. I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said," Graham continued, adding that "the Islamic world sees the president as one of theirs."
This is yet another attempt to paint Obama as "other". Someone not to be trusted. After all, even though he says he's a Christian, one must always remember that he was born with "the seed of Islam". And this is said despite the fact that Obama's father was a confirmed atheist at the time of his birth. But, according to Graham, "the seed" was there.
The rampant Islamophobia on display from the American right wing is little short of disgusting. They are so keen to portray Obama as a Muslim because they identify Islam, not al Qaeda, as the enemy.
It is this mindless stupidity which is underneath all of their complaints about the Park 51 mosque.
Colin Powell addressed this nonsense some months ago; even if Obama was a Muslim, so bloody what?
Are American Muslims not allowed to dream of the day when one of their own might rise to the presidency? Isn't that supposed to be the very essence of the American dream?
But the current Republican party, a place where sensible Republicans like Colin Powell no longer feel comfortable, no longer appears to embrace the notion that all Americans are equal.
Muslim Americans are treated with suspicion. The building of their mosques is objected to. It is implied that Obama is a Muslim, which tells us that this must be a bad thing to be, or why else would Graham and others tell us that he is one?
There really is nothing more un-American than the notion that all men are not created equal. And yet we constantly hear this refrain from the Republicans, this hint that American Muslims are not what Sarah Palin would call "real Americans".
They betray the American Dream every time they indulge in this nonsense. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Stephen Prothero talks of "the disinformation campaign" being run by some on the right.
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