Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What I Finally Sent

Dear Sister,

I’m a little confused by the message you forwarded. Whoever wrote it seems to object to Barack Obama running for US President for some unusual reasons: that his middle name is Hussein, not a conventional Christian name; that his father was Muslim at one point in his life and had a Muslim burial although he apparently was either agnostic or atheist at the time of his death; that a cousin named a child “Fidel” after Fidel Castro.

Like John McCain and many other sons before and after him, Barack Obama was given his father’s name. If John McCain’s middle name were Adolf, would that be worth mentioning as a factor in his suitability for the Presidency? To me, the President’s middle name has no effect on his performance.

Barack Obama has belonged to and worshipped at Christian churches for more than 20 years, so I don’t see why his father’s religious beliefs or lack of them should be an issue. We ourselves were raised by a Catholic father and a Methodist mother to be Catholics. Although I no longer identify as Catholic, I never felt I was less of a Catholic because my mother worshipped at a different church. I would be surprised if any member of our family felt we were less Catholic because Mom was Methodist.

As for the senior Obama’s funeral, the dead can’t really control the form of the services they receive, even if they express their wishes prior to death. Heck, look at our Dad. He rejected the Catholic Church years before his death, yet he received Last Rites when he was neither physically aware nor capable of telling the priest to go away. It was important to some members of his family, so he received them. It was important to some family members that the elder Obama receive a Muslim burial, so he did.

Then we get to the cousin rumor. First, it is not substantiated that the man claiming to be Obama’s cousin is a genetic relative. Second, if they are genetically connected, what difference does it make given they have had very little contact in their lives? We have cousins in Europe. For all we know, they may have given their children names that would sound odd to us. I hardly see them, even if we met them now, as strong influences on, or reflections of, our behavior or beliefs.

I guess I just don’t understand the email or the reasons why people would send an it. After all, I don’t think my status as a non-Christian would affect anyone in our family if they wanted to run for political office, would it? If you think it would, could you explain why? I really don’t get it.

In the meantime, here are a couple of links that deal with rumors circulating about Barack Obama. One is the product of the Obama campaign, http://www.fightthesmears.com, and the other is a more “neutral” source. Snopes, the rumor clarifying site, has devoted a section to Obama rumors. Some are found to be true, some mixed, and many false. The Snopes site is http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/obama.asp .

Thanks for any clarification you can add where I said I’m confused. Otherwise, happy reading!



Mrs. G. said...

Mr. G. just said this afternoon, that this election was going to expose prejudice that will astound us. It looks like it has already started.

Casey said...

Good for you for laying it all out there in such a clear, calm manner. And sadly, I think Mr. G is all too correct.