“Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.”
That’s probably how President Barack Obama feels sometimes trying to do his job.
No matter what he’s accomplished—finance reform, the stimulus package, which has kept policemen and teachers working and thousands more working on infrastructure construction projects throughout the United States—his critics on the extreme right attack, and attack and attack, oblivious to his accomplishments.
Their most recent attack comes after the president’s remarks regarding the construction of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Manhattan.
Many have voiced either their opposition or support for the mosque, which would be close to the site of 9/11, where airliners flown by terrorists who were Muslims destroyed the World Trade Center.
During a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan, President Obama commented on the controversy saying “as a citizen, and a president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”
Simple statement, right? Nothing earth-shattering about it, right? President Obama, in our opinion, simply stated the feelings of most reasonable and tolerant Americans: That those who come to America can practice there religious beliefs free of fear and intimidation from the government, just as those who first came to America’s shores from Great Britain wanted to do.
As expected, the “Nattering Nabobs” of right-wing intolerance pounced again on the president, posing (again) the question of whether he is a Christian or a Muslim. Some extremists on the Right went so far as to accuse (again) President Obama of being a Muslim.
You would think the Right could at least try a new, fresh and innovative attack on the president instead of “microwaving” an old one.
Presidents Nixon, Johnson, even Kennedy, the nation’s first Catholic president, were never put under such scrutiny.
The photo accompanying this editorial is of then presidential candidate Obama being prayed over (also known as “laying on hands”) by ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church during its 48th Quadrennial Session General Conference held in St. Louis in 2008.
During his speech before the conventioneers and clergymen at the conference, Obama declared his commitment to his Christian faith, which he added would continue to influence his performance and his politics if he won the White House.
There is no such tradition as laying on of hands that we know of in Islam. This is a fundamental Christian tradition done for those asking for prayers as they embark on an endeavor of importance. If President Obama were a Muslim, would he have gone to a Christian convention and have ministers agree to pray over him?
We think not!
Nor do we think the president would have been in a Chicago Christian church for 20 years if he were a Muslim. President Obama is a praying man in our eyes; one who is a staunch defender of one of the cornerstones of this nation’s creation.
Many Christians continue to pray with and for the president…We do too!