What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 20, 2010

The Seed of Billy Graham Declares that Obama Carries "The Seed of Islam"

Just in case you were wondering how on earth 18% - 24% of Americans and 31% - 34% of Republicans came up with the notion that President Obama is Muslim, here's a good place to start (hint: we're back to the "one-drop rule"):

Via Talking Points Memo:
"I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name," Graham told John King. "Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That's what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said."


"The confusion is, is because his father was a Muslim, he was born a Muslim. The Islamic world sees the president as one of theirs. That's why Gaddafi calls him 'my son.' They see him as a Muslim. But of course the President says he is a Christian, and we just have to accept it as that."


"Well, you know, you can be born a Muslim, you can be born a Jew, but you can't be born a Christian," said Graham. "The only way you can become a Christian is by confessing your sins to God, asking his forgiveness, and by receiving Jesus Christ by faith into your heart, that Christ died for your sins, shed his blood on Calvary's Cross, and that God raised him to life. If you're willing to accept that and believe that, and let Jesus Christ be the lord of your life, God will forgive your sins, he will heal your heart, and that's the only way you can become a Christian. And so if the President has done that, then I would say he's a Christian, if that's what he has done."
I only wish that John King had asked Graham if Obama was a "Muslin."


I'm guessing that the answer might have gone something like this:
"Now it's obvious that the president has renounced loosely-woven cotton fabric. That's what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said, if that's what he has done."
[Please make it stop.]


EdHeath said...

Actually, what Franklin Graham says is interesting. I don't know anything about whether Muslims think their children are automatically Muslim or not, whether both parents or only the father is Muslim. I assume everyone knows that in Judaism if the mother is Jewish then the child is Jewish.

Do Born Again Christians consider not born again Christians as not genuinely Christian? I guess maybe so.

Obama's situation is interesting, in that I believe he did not choose what religion to follow until he came to Chicago (at least, that is my understanding). So when he lived in Indonesia, he may have gone to services in a Mosque or maybe he skipped stones. But Obama consciously chose Christianity, much the way the born again Franklin Graham describes his own process.

Obama chose to join Jeremiah Wright's church in Chicago, perhaps because it was/is a slightly radical African American church, and Obama grew up largely outside the United States (and when he was in the US, he was in Hawaii and not Polynesian). So maybe Obama was looking for a church that would help him understand how blacks see whites, and what whites have done to blacks historically.

I think this business about Obama renouncing Islam is bull, but I think that we do have to say that Obama chose Christianity as an adult when he could have chose Islam. That's something Graham ought to applaud, although to me it sounds like at best Graham is either not sure or damning Obama with faint praise.

n'at said...

I think he's like most CnE Christians, who practice for their kids, though prefer to stay at home on Sundays. Precisely because he's not a bible thumper, is why he is suspect.

Or those who believe he is a Muslin, are mad that he's not black irish.

At the end of the day, they just need something to dislike about Barry O'bama.

rich10e said...

Ed, I think you pretty well nailed it!

jaywillie said...

Graham's notion that anyone carries the "seed" of religion as if it is some inherent component of their DNA is ludicrous. All religion is a choice, though often the child is not given a choice until much later in life. That Obama chose his faith as a young adult is no different than the Catholic born and baptized in the Church who casts off his religion when he comes of age, shirking off the religious decision made for him/her by his/her parents, just as it is for any religion.

As to the President's birth father, while he was raised Muslim, he was an atheist, whom the President did not know as a father in any significant sense. For the few years he lived in Indonesia, President Obama lived with his step-father and mother. When he lived in Hawaii (which I must laugh at the notion that living and growing up in Hawaii is some how not an authentic American experience, as some have suggested, like Cokie Roberts during the campaign or Iowa Republican Steve King most recently), he was raised by his mother and grandparents, all of good Kansas stock.

Of course, the bottom line is that we do not have religious tests for office in this country, as per the Constitution, so the President's religion and how much of it is on display should never be an issue if we are true to our values as Americans. Sadly, it often is and mostly because of those who seek to wed religion and politics (such people should read about the Church of England, particularly during the 19th century when bureaucratic interference in religious doctrine drove many prominent C. of E. leaders away, like Manning and Newman). They should also recall that the Founders overthrew a monarchy, which are founded upon the notion of rule by divine right.

One interesting note is that, so far, President Obama has attended church more often than Ronald Reagan, whose wife famously relied upon astrologers for advice. There was never any doubt cast upon Reagan's faith, despite a clear lack of sufficient public display to satisfy today's fire-breathing rightwing Christians.

Regardless, this would not be an issue if the President was wholly Caucasian. And the rightwing would not be able to get away with their vicious smears and McCarthyite lies if the President easily cast as "the other."

One day we will look back on this period and recognize that a considerable number of Americans were appealing to the worst aspects of our collective history as Americans. They will be rightly cast into the dustbin of history with the Southern Fire-eaters and red-baiters, the Father Couglin's and George Wallaces, those who pursued electoral victory by stoking the most insidious kind of cultural divisions among us, divisions that, to our credit as a people and the promise of America, we eventually overcome.

Maria said...

Beautifully put, JayWillie.