Being Christian Isnít Enough For Right Wing Nuts
America’s right wingers start with the demand that no one except a member of their chosen religion, Christianity, be allowed to become President of the United States. Of course, it’s not enough for them that a presidential candidate is a Christian. The candidate has to have had two Christian parents, too. Also, the candidate’s name has to sound like a Christian name. Otherwise, the candidate cannot be allowed to become President, they say. The candidate is also disqualified, according to their standards, if he or she has attended school with a large number of non-Christians.
This is the kind of rubbish that the right wing is desperately throwing at Barack Obama to try to defeat his campaign for President.
First, the right wingers started out with Barack Obama’s name. They pointed out that Obama sounds like Osama - well, except for the fact that a b sounds nothing at all like an s, even for someone who lisps. Then, they discovered that Obama’s middle name is Hussein - a name shared with the executed former leader of Iraq.
Next, the right wingers talk about how Barack Obama’s father was a Muslim from Kenya, suggesting that Barack Obama is a Muslim because his father was one. Right wing commentator Debbie Schlussel writes, “In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he’s a Christian, but they do not.”
The right wing attacks reach their highest fever pitch by saying that because Barack Obama attended a school for a few years where most, but not all, of the students were Muslim, Obama must an adherent of Islam himself. “We are fighting the war of our lives against Islam,” writes Schlussel. “Where will his loyalties be?”
It’s not enough for the right wingers that Barack Obama says he is a Christian, is married to a Christian, is raising his children as Christians, and attends a Christian church. Because of Obama’s name, Obama’s father, and one of Obama’s schools, the right wing denounces Barack Obama as not Christian enough. The Religious Right demands that Americans should be allowed to become President only if they only they are Christians who are the children of Christians, with names like John Smith, who have not had any substantial contact with non-Christians.
We progressive see things differently. We follow the Constitution. When an American born a citizen reaches the proper age, that American can run for President. There is no religious requirement. It doesn’t matter who your father is. Your name doesn’t have to be of European origin. Finally, as we see it, having spent some time with people of another culture as a child just might prove to be a useful experience for a person who wants to become President of the United States.
Progressives recognize that the American community is a diverse community. We don’t fight against that diversity. We embrace it.
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