Monday, September 22, 2008

New York Times Columnist Impeaches Self To Discredit Obama Muslim Rumors

A common meme throughout this presidential campaign has been for the Obama campaign and the mainstream media to slime anyone who points out the irrefutable evidence of Sen. Barack Obama's Muslim heritage as a racial bigot. Sen. Obama's Kenyan father was Muslim as was his father's father. Most of the Obama Klan back in Kenya has in fact identified themselves as Muslim. Obama's mother was married to two Muslim men. Obama took the last name of his mother's second husband, Lolo Soetoro. School records confirm that Obama was registered as a Muslim in an Indonesian school he attended while living in that country. During his college years, Obama's close circle of friends was comprised of people of Muslim faith. New York Times' columnist Nicholas Kristof added to the speculation when he wrote about an interview he had with Obama when he launched his presidential campaign. Obama recited to Kristof the Muslim call to prayer in perfect Arabic dialect and praised the prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset.” Kristof now finds himself explaining away why the words in his own column shouldn't be taken seriously:

I’m writing in part out of a sense of personal responsibility. Those who suggest that Mr. Obama is a Muslim — as if that in itself were wrong — regularly cite my own columns, especially an interview last year in which I asked him about Islam and his boyhood in Indonesia. In that interview, Mr. Obama praised the Arabic call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset,” and he repeated the opening of it.

This should surprise no one: the call to prayer blasts from mosque loudspeakers five times a day, and Mr. Obama would have had to have been deaf not to learn the words as a child. But critics, like Jerome Corsi, whose book denouncing Mr. Obama, “The Obama Nation,” is No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list, quote from that column to argue that Mr. Obama has mysterious ties to Islam. I feel a particular obligation not to let my own writing be twisted so as to inflame bigotry and xenophobia.

Interestingly, when Obama himself inadvertently referred to "my Muslim faith" in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopolous, Kristof's column was scrubbed from the New York Times' website so blogs could no longer link to his quotes from Obama about the Muslim call to prayer. There is nothing sinister about stating these facts in the least bit and Kristoff should not be running away from the obvious. Indeed, it was another New York Times reporter who pointed out that according to some Muslim traditions, Obama began life as a Muslim by virtue of his father being Muslim. That set off a debate among Muslim scholars about whether the religion is passed from father to child notes Andy Martin, a Chicagoan who has been a frequent critic of Obama and authored a book on Obama, "The Man Behind The Mask." Parents typically raise their children in accordance with their own religion. Children often, but not always, choose the religion of their parents. Nonetheless, Obama has taken great pains to deny he has ever been a Muslim, even if it was limited to his childhood and college years. I don't think people should question that he became a Christian as an adult and is still a practicing Christian. Similarly, Obama should acknowledge his Muslim heritage. It is insulting to people of Muslim faith to simply deny the obvious. Yet, the pro Obama media's take is that if people think Obama has a Muslim heritage, they won't vote for him. Hence, every person who points out the obvious must be smeared as a religious bigot.

As far as Kristof is concerned, the topic simply can't be broached by anyone unless you are a religious bigot. "Journalists need to do more than call the play-by-play this election cycle," he writes. "We also need to blow the whistle on such egregious fouls calculated to undermine the political process and magnify the ugliest prejudices that our nation has done so much to overcome." Kristof is driven to this view by virtue of polls showing that as many as one-third of American voters believe Obama is Muslim. Kristof blames Christians and, by implication, McCain because one of his ads is criticized for using imagery similar to the "Left Behind" best-selling Christian book series. "Mr. McCain himself is not popular with evangelicals. But they will vote for him if they think the other guy may be on Satan’s side," Kristof opines.

Here it is, Kristof. The American people want to know as much as possible about their presidential candidates. When one candidate constantly denies the existence of an irrefutable part of his life, the American people become suspicious. That doesn't mean they're religious bigots. That doesn't mean they're small-minded. That just means they are rightfully skeptical about the fundamental being of this person.

Does anyone else see the double standard at play here? Immediately upon Palin's selection as McCain's running mate, the news media and liberal bloggers began openly raising questions about Palin's past affiliation with an Assembly of God church. The emphasis on her religion is based upon a perception among many in the media that there is fundamentally something wrong with anyone who is perceived as being a "fundamentalist Christian." Incidentally, Palin doesn't hide the fact that she was raised by her parents as a Roman Catholic, an affiliation which at one time in this country would have doomed any candidate's presidential ambitions. Liberals in the media don't attempt to hide their disdain for people of Christian faith. Obama's own negative reference to small town Americans as "bitter people" who are "clinging to their guns and religion" reflected that sentiment. Yet, nobody in the media complained that Obama was showing bigotry towards fundamentalist Christians when he uttered that statement. Mr. Kristof should take a look at the prejudices in his own backyard before he passes judgment on his neighbors.


Brenda said...

Mr. Welsh, It has come to my attention that Obama has a new website for people to register to vote on line. If I am not mistaken, this is illegal. Can you give me some insite on this?

artfuggins said...

Brenda , dont you mean "insight"

Gary R. Welsh said...

Brenda, It is possible the campaign provides a link for someone to fill out information if they would like to become a registered voter. It is my understanding that the person isn't registered online; rather, the person provides information to allow a campaign worker to follow up with the person to register them to vote with the appropriate forms.

james said...

I do not like Obama but you have got to be kidding. He is not a Muslim and has never been one. Conspiracy type reasoning is not "irrefutable evidence." The Muslim school he attended was secular, both his father and his step father were non practicing Muslims. By all accounts Obama is a more devoutly practicing Christian then McCain. This type of hate speech about makes me want to vote for Obama. It makes me think that the McCain campaign is playing such cheap politics that they might not be able to govern honestly.

Anonymous said...

"Here it is, Kristof. The American people want to know as much as possible about their presidential candidates."

And their vice presidential candidates, but McCain's campaign is hiding Palin from the press. We don't know anything about her. Obama has at least been in the national spotlight -- and vetted by the national media -- for almost two years. You can't have it both ways!

And just because as a child I converted to Judaism to please my Jewish step-dad doesn't mean I am still Jewish if I don't actually BELIEVE in it. You can't call a person a Christian if they are baptized as an infant but denounce the doctrines of Christianity as an adult.

I don't understand what's happened to you. I read your blog a lot last year and, as a progressive, always enjoyed your perspective. I even supported Ballard based in part on arguments you made. And we all see how that worked out. So maybe that's evidence that people shouldn't trust your perspective anymore. You seem to be all over Obama, but you should be pointing at least a fraction of your questioning and criticism on McCain. You've come up with all kinds of crazy reasons for why people shouldn't vote for Obama (which are crap). But can you come up with any reasons for why someone SHOULD vote for McCain?

Gary R. Welsh said...

"And their vice presidential candidates, but McCain's campaign is hiding Palin from the press. We don't know anything about her. Obama has at least been in the national spotlight -- and vetted by the national media -- for almost two years. You can't have it both ways!"

You've got to be kidding (to the anonymous blogger paid by the Obama campaign to spin for the candidate). Sarah Palin has been subjected to more vetting by the national news media these past 4 weeks than Barack Obama has been subjected to in the past 4 years. The American public has learned about 5% of what they should know about Obama. If the truth were told, Obama wouldn't have gotten past the Iowa caucus. He's a self-dealing Chicago politician who should be prosecuted for selling his public job to help out his political cronies and line his own pockets.