Saturday, February 9, 2008

It's Not Enough Just to Say We Aren't Muslim


Recently the RNS included this brief undated article:

Muslims say Obama's denials come up short
By Omar Sacirbey
(UNDATED) To many Muslim Americans, it's understandable that Sen. Barack Obama has vociferously dismissed allegations that he is a “closet Muslim.” But what disappoints them is that the Democratic presidential contender has not followed up the denials -- which leave the impression that being Muslim is bad -- with comments saying that there is nothing wrong with Islam. His perceived silence on the issue, to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, reinforces the impression that politicians view Muslims as personae non gratae. “I was hoping that the response would not be to proclaim the horror of being insinuated a `Muslim,”' wrote one Muslim blogger, Manan Ahmed. “This is the state of Islamophobia in America today, where a simple declaration -- `He is a Muslim' -- casts doubts on a presidential campaign.”

Why must we read so much into everything? In an election season it is expected that every word and phrase of a candidate will be parsed and dissected without mercy, but sometimes this behavior reveals the truly petty nature of this country's hypersensitivities. Did Obama "proclaim the horror of being insinuate a 'Muslim,'" or is it possible, just possible, that he simply clarified a position that was inaccurately reported? Come on now! Can we have some sensible and reasonable discussion on these matters, or must we always resort to irrational assumptions based on reasonable omissions? Only for this religion, it seems, are we required to go above and beyond normal discourse to prove that we are not "Isalmophobic." But then again, it has been this way for other matters as well, including homosexuality and gender issues. It is never enough to simply say "I do not agree." We have to follow this up by proving we are not personally attacking the individual or that we believe they are subhuman or immoral or less patriotic, or whatever. Ugh....

3 comments:

Michael said...

Pastor,

Perhaps the rumors about Mr. Obama need to be put to rest: http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp

In one of the mentioned articles, he plainly states that he has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, since he's a member of a UCC congregation, I don't know what that means...

Rev. Don Engebretson said...

The UCC is one of the most liberal Christian denominations. A fairly informative article on Wikipedia can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Christ

As to Sen. Obama's faith, I would simply have to take him at his word, although I do wish that he had picked a church that better represented the Christian faith....

Michael said...

Actually, Pastor, my last comment was about the relativism of most church bodies today. Is the Jesus of the UCC the same Jesus of Scripture?

I doubt it, considering that their beliefs page, http://www.ucc.org/beliefs/, states: "We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith."

Therefore, you can pretty much believe whatever you want about Jesus, and have whatever kind of relationship to him you want.