speaking out against intolerance. October 19, 2008
This post developed from a number of emails that have greatly disturbed me throughout this campaign. I’ve kept my mouth shut for quite some time now, because I wasn’t sure how to separate the politics from the other issues that truly sicken me by the propaganda I’ve been sent. Which is why I want to point out that this isn’t an attempt to endear you to Obama, in fact this post isn’t even about politics. It’s about intolerance, bigotry, racism and an overall unchristian attitude that I see in the messages I’m receiving from people who keep claiming to be Christians. I am not going to ask you to vote for him. I’m not even going to ask you to LIKE him, my WHOLE argument is to the relevance of the statements that have been made.
In response to the “Obama is the anti-Christ” email: Please pick up a bible and read Ch 13 of Revalations or go to Snopes.com and let them read the Bible to you. It will never stop amazing me the number of people who want to deliver Christ’s message that don’t actually know what Christ’s message is.
In response to the “Beware the Enemy from Within” emails. Yes, emails. Two different versions of this have been swimming about (I was “lucky” enough to get both of them.) and have been posted in their entirety here by Blogger Charlene Noto who states:
Hate is contagious as seen by the foaming at the mouth crowds that shout “Kill him” and “Terrorist” and “Arab” in the McCain/Palin rallies. There is a real danger to crap like this because not only does it make Obama sound like an evil threat to America, but it also derides and hints that ANYONE who is foreign, particularly from the middle east is evil. We happen to have a large population in this country who immigrated legitimately from the middle east, are not Christian and are very good citizens.
I lived through three assassinations in my teenage years and I take crowd mentality like that very seriously. It is the old Frankenstein movies where the crowd carries torches, pitch forks determined to eliminate the “monster”. These are NOT the individuals I want to choose the next President of our country and have their finger on the button. If you have sound policies and real plans, you do not need smear campaigns or hatred to back you up. The enemy we need to beware is fear and these emails strike at that most deadly of emotions. Call me crazy but I admire rational behavior and not sleazy innuendos.
Today Colin Powell stated this on “Meet the Press”:
I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.
The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence states the following:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Dr. Martin Luther King said:
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
We’ve come a long way to realizing Dr. King’s dream for America, but we still have a long way to go as a people. Hatred, bigotry and intolerance are very much alive in our country. As Americans we have to teach our children that it is NOT right to judge someone by their ethnic background. We are a nation of immigrants, a nation as mixed and as varied as the world is round. As Christians we must realize that an intolerance to the Muslim faith, an assumption that all Muslims are evil and violent makes us no better than the extreme radicals who consider us the infidel and call for our deaths. Also, if you think that the Muslim religion is the only one that has committed atrocities in the name of religion I implore you to pick up a history book and learn just what atrocities have been commited in the name of your god, God or gods. You may be surprised by what you find. If you’re sitting there stating that it isn’t the individual people but the extremists who’ve done bad things in the name of good, you quite possibly just made my point for me.
At the end of all of this Barack Obama is a man running for President of the United States. He’s an American citizen who is a self-proclaimed Christian. If that is a lie the only people who know the truth are Obama and God. I personally believe in his ideas and his message and it’s perfectly okay with me if you don’t. I think John McCain is a patriot who has done a great deal for the United States in his lifetime. I disagree with him on many of the core issues that face us today. I think both candidates care about this country, both of them love this country and believe in the often elusive American Dream. Please continue to debate the issues. Our ability to do so is what makes us American, it’s what makes us FREE. All I ask is that you don’t hide behind Christian values and spew forth ideas teeming with hatred and bigotry or an ignorance of the facts.
On a more personal note I have a sister who travels around both the United States and the rest of the world for her job. I pray daily that she encounters people on her travels that accept her with open arms and kindness and do not judge her the same way that many Americans judge them.