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Friday, January 18, 2008

Obama- The Email and the Church


There is an e-mail going around the Internet which claims that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim. It refers to his early years spent in Indonesia (a Muslim country), and claims that Obama attended a medrassa (Islamic school) as well as a mosque. Further, the e-mail states that the Illinois senator took his senatorial oath on a Koran rather than a Bible. The subject of this e-mail came up in this week's Democratic debate in Las Vegas. In response to a question, Obama stated unequivocally that he is a Christian and took the oath on a Bible. (Obama was born to a non-practicing Kenyan father and non-practicing-nominally Christian-American mother.

First of all, I take Senator Obama on his word that he is a Christian. The part about taking the oath on a Koran is in error since it was Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim, who used a Koran for his oath in the House of Representatives. As for Obama, it appears that he may have had brief contact with an Islamic school or mosque while a child in Indonesia, but it has not been established by anyone that he underwent any prolonged Muslim training. Thus, I am concluding that this e-mail, wherever it came from is uncorroborated if not downright misleading.

Some observers have raised the question of how a President Obama would be received by Muslim peoples around the world; more specifically, if they might view him as an apostate-and thus, appropriate for assassination. I think that is a valid question.

Barack and Michelle Obama attend the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. It is that church which causes me concern. Specificaly, the minister of that church, Dr Jeremiah Wright, is a controversial figure who has brought considerable embarrassment to Obama. There is no denying that this is an Afro-Centric church, one which, in its own literature, espouses a "Black Value System". Minister Wright is a fiery speaker who talks of liberation theology. He has appeared on several talk shows, including Hannity and Colmes, where he has engaged in hot debate with Sean Hannity reciting a litany of grievances against American and Western Civilization.To call Dr Wright confrontational is an understatement.

In 2007, Wright added to his controversial reputation by giving an award to Louis Farrakhan on behalf of Trumpet Magazine, which he (Wright) publishes. (It should be noted that Obama has criticized his minister for giving the award to Farrakhan.)

Just last Sunday, Wright told his congregation that "Some argue that blacks should vote for Clinton because her husband was good to us. That's not true. He did the same thing to us that he did to Monica Lewinsky."

While I think that the Muslim issue will fade away, I look for the issue of Obama's church and minister to grow-at least if he wins the Democratic nomination. Does Obama, in fact, belong to a church that believes in racial exclusion? I think at this point it would be appropriate for the mainstream media to begin asking Obama to explain his thoughts about Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ. (Of course, up to now, they are downplaying that angle lest the public at large become aware.) Does Obama subscribe to the philosophy of this Church and all of the words of Jeremiah Wright? Obama portrays himself as one who reaches across racial lines. The words of his own pastor contradict that image. If more Americans knew about Jeremiah Wright, they might hesitate before voting for Barack Obama.

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