I thought we’d settled this question back during the election, but I guess not. As of this moment, 18% of Americans think our President is a Muslim. Narrow the scope to just Republicans and it jumps to 31%. This is despite the fact that President Obama has repeatedly told us that he is a Christian. Today, I read a Slate article about how no Republicans will condemn this myth (myth? More like steaming pile of crap). Basically it’s about how the Republicans not only aren’t stopping this ludicrous idea, they’re riding for all they’re worth. On Meet the Press Sunday, Republican leader Mitch McConnell was asked whether he shouldn’t try to correct this misinformation. McConnell answered: “The President says he’s a Christian, I take him at his word. I don’t think that’s in dispute.” You’ll notice he never says outright whether he believes the President. Just that he’ll “take him at his word”. It also seems deliberately vague, with the comment “I don’t believe that’s in dispute”. What’s not in dispute, that you’ll accept his word or that he’s a Christian? The man is so oily, if you threw him into the Gulf of Mexico, he’d give Deepwater Horizon a run for its money. Franklin Graham, a man of God who’s supposed to be above this kind of thing, was almost as bad. On CNN, he goes off on some confusing tangent about how Obama was born a Muslim. Thanks, a lot Frank. Way to put this to bed. To top it all off, just a few days ago, RNC new media director Todd Herman tweeted “Watch – Is @BarackObama amongt (sic) the 20% who think he’s Muslim? http://gop.am/5TXi #tcot” referring to a 2008 interview with George Stephanopoulos where the President was talking about how John McCain didn’t make a big deal about his faith. In it, he misspoke and said “Muslim” instead of “Christian” faith. George caught it, called it to his attention and Obama corrected himself. You know, considering our last President’s history of gaffes and use of made-up words, the Republicans may not want to open that particular can of worms.
Yesterday, Stephen Colbert weighed in with this bit of inspired lunacy:
For snarky, smart-alecky humor, no one surpasses Colbert and his mentor/sponsor Jon Stewart.
I’m sure my Republican friends have branded me an Obama supporter and flaming liberal the last few days, because I’ve had a lot to say about this and the Park51 project (Ground Zero mosque) and none of it has dovetailed with their ideas on either subject. They’re only partially right, though. While I’m much futher to the left than I used to be (two steps right of Gheghis Khan), I’m not a full-fledged Obama-ite, nor am I a flaming lib. I retain some of my small government, Libertarian ideas; just not as many as I used to. It’s not what I support that’s the issue here, it’s what I don’t support: ignorance, rabble-rousing and intolerance. And, believe me, all three are available in abundance these days. And, none of this does justice to the Christian principles that so many people claim our country was founded on. There’s no forgiveness and no acceptance at work here. Hell, even basic tolerance is in short supply. Here’s the deal, people: This is the United States of America and the free practice of one’s own religion is one of our founding principles. What difference does it make if the President is a Muslim, a Christian, an atheist or even a Reformed Druid (a M.A.S.H. reference that I thought was made up, but they’re real!). As long as he’s a decent man, a good leader and doesn’t run the country completely into the ground, I’m cool with whatever he believes. He’s certainly not doing any worse than some of his overtly Christian predecessors.