There have been some e-mails circulated about Barack Obama claiming that he is a Muslim, that he said the oath of office for his senate appointment on the Koran and that he will not say the Pledge. These things are not true of Obama and I can respect him correcting them. When asked about them in the New Hampshire debate, Obama countered that he is a Christian, that he said the oath of office on the bible and that he sometimes leads the pledge at the US Senate.
That's fine as far as it goes. Where it doesn't go is to say that people of all faiths are Americans. That there is a Muslim man in the US House of Representatives who said the oath of office on the Koran. That should he be a Protestant, a Catholic, a Jew, a Mormon, a Muslim or an atheist, that would not make him unfit for the office of President. That our politicians, as our people, as all people, should be judged on their character as individuals. So I was disappointed. He didn't stand up for religious freedom when he had a chance to do so. Still, I can understand the political realities. I don't absolve him of this oversight, but I understand him.
Then two days ago I got an e-mail that claimed to be from John Kerry about those same erroneous e-mails being circulated about Obama. At one point in the e-mail, Kerry states, "The truth matters, but how you fight the lies matters even more." I don't know about the "even more" part, but I do believe it is important how you fight the lies. Kerry continues on to say, "These disgusing lies ... smear Barack's Christian faith."
Does this say, as I take it to read, that being called a Muslim is disgusting? That it is a smear to a Christian to be mistaken for a Muslim? Is this the kind of language that promotes religious intolerance. This is not language we should condone of any American, let alone a potential president. I hate that someone defending Barack, someone I once supported, feels that it is okay to say this.
I am neither Muslim nor Christian but I would hope that we can strive for the ideals this country was founded on, religious freedom and religious tolerance must go hand-in-hand. Our leaders must promote these values.
(BTW, I've stopped writing my weekly newspaper article so these blog posts have become much less frequent.)
I got an email from the Obama campaign. This is my response to this.
Thank you for your canned response that in no way addressed my issue.
I am concerned that Senator Obama is not willing to take a stand for religious freedom when he feels that it might not be politically expedient. In his comments, and in the email from John Kerry, just the opposite appears to be true; he is willing to sacrifice the religious freedom of a minority for his own gains. Unless minorities have freedom, none of us is free. Not just philosophically but in fact, for we are all in the minority in some demographic.
I want change from the oppressive, fear-mongering policies of the current administration. Please prove to me that you mean to do it.