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born of a Jewish mother -----

Reader comment on item: Barack Obama's Muslim Childhood

Submitted by John W. McGinley (United States), May 2, 2008 at 16:06

Professor Pipes:

There are thousands and thousands of Americans born of Jewish mothers who married non-Jewish fathers (some of whom converted to Judaism some of whom did not) who furnished their children with the ambience of Judaism and who sent their kids to Hebrew School in their early years of childhood.

In many cases these marriages ended up in divorce and correlative re-marriages involving half-sisters and half-brothers, influences of grandparents, and further confusion about religious identity. And in many of these cases -- indeed thousands -- by the time the child was ten years old circumstances were such that the child did not identify with any relgion.

Such hodge-podge experiences leading to teenagers who don't identify with any religion -- irrespective of the relgion embraced by their parents and irrespective of early childhoood schooling in a religous school -- is quite common. And in any case the choice to not identify even one's first decade of life with the hadge-podge religous orientation of one's first chaotic decade is not only made in good faith, but it is, by the standares of common sense, quite accurate.

Yes, by the standards of Halakhah such a choice for non-identification is not accurate. But by any secular common-sense measure such a choice for non-identification with the hodge-podge religious orientation of one's first decade of life is fair and accurate.

The above situation -- characteristic of thousands upon thousands of Americans -- is roughly analogous to Barack Hussein Obama's situation. It is clear that Barack Obama believes that his true religious identity only ocurred when he underwent a life-changing religious orientation (Christian) in his mid-twenties. Cut him a break. He is speaking in good faith when he says he was never a Muslim.

...John W. McGinley

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