Obama: His Religion, Our Perception
Throughout this campaign the word Muslim’s been thrown around like a dirty word. Obama’s not, but should it matter?
As the day’s countdown to the election, the campaign’s have gone from passionate and inspired to ugly and malicious. It’s really quite disappointing. And disturbing. And I’m not just talking about the things being said, but also the implications behind them.
Cool chick, writing warrior and friend, Blogging Naveen, recently shared Campbell Brown’s fabulous commentary, So what if Obama were a Muslim or an Arab? It’s worth the read, but, should you be short on time, the title alone communicates the crux of the message, “When did Arab and Muslim become dirty words?”
Sure, in 1961 some people thought being Catholic would be an insurmountable barrier to the White House. 0bviously, JFK’s win proved it was not. And now it seems, I don’t know, silly or crazy, to think that anyone was even concerned. But they were. Catholicism and potential ties to the Vatican were feared. Unnecessarily. It leaves me sad to think that in the last 40+ years instead of becoming more enlightened we’ve just switched up which religion we slander. Brown eloquently and accurately points out that, “we’ve all been too quick to accept the idea that calling someone Muslim is a slur.”
I consider one of the best hours of television to be the West Wing episode that followed 9/11. It was simple, yet profound. When I hear ‘Muslim’ or ‘Arab’ so casually used and accepted as a means to diminish or malign I think of the mess hall scene. The White House has been attacked and is in lockdown. Josh and Donna are left to entertain a group of touring teens who are trying to understand the events of the day. Josh explains to his room full of students (and a home audience of xenophobes) that radical Muslims who support jihad against America, or Islamic extremists, are to Islam as the KKK is to Christianity. Meaning, they are both fringe elements.
Now, I don’t know any KKK members (that I’m aware of!) but I know a heck of a lot of Christians and I wonder, how would you feel, if every time someone referred to you as a Christian, the implication was that you might be a Klan member? I know it’s an absurd idea, but so is the implication that being Muslim is an automatic link terrorism.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Obama is Christian, not Muslim. But, so what if he were?