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Birth/Religion

Reader comment on item: Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam

Submitted by Mikey (United States), Jun 30, 2008 at 01:58

Mr. Pipes,

I just recently stumbled across your site -- I think it is awesome and, sadly, rare, that you actually respond to the people that post on this site, and, even more extraordinary, in a respectful tone (well, as far as I've read) to those that disagree with you.

I am an Obama supporter.

I agree wholeheartedly that it is the goal of his strategists to downplay anything connecting the word "muslim" to "Obama." And why would they do that? Because it is clearly to the advantage of his opponent's surrogates to emphasize this biographical footnote. I say "surrogates" because II would never accuse someone I admire as much as McCain as directing these efforts, although I wouldn't put it past any politician to turn a blind eye towards any tactic that would give them power, my preferred candidate included.

What is most interesting to me about this religion issue is that, as far as the right seems to be concerned, "muslim" is a more loaded word than "atheist." Why do you think this is? Is it worse to go from an atheist to a muslim, or an muslim to an atheist--and why?

Someone should address that.

Also, as far as "he was born a muslim so he is one," goes, nobody can choose the circumstances of their birth. Heck, the American dream hinges on this: you can escape the circumstances of your birth. You can be born something, and become something else as a result of the unique opportunities presented in this great nation. If you're born poor, you don't have to die poor. If you're born Muslim, you have the freedom to choose a different path. If you're born to Yankees fans, God forbid, you can die a Red Sox fan.

Even in adulthood, people migrate from one political party to another, or split the difference -- like Lieberman and Hagel. People can discover new religions, or learn from radically different religions, and, if you live where I live, in Ohio, you only have to travel as far as the fence in your backyard to do so. That's the beauty of this nation.

I just don't see why one would devote so much time to the "he was born to these people and he will forever be one" argument, unless there was a specific goal in mind ... gee, I don't know, scaring the crap out of people for voting for a once-in-a-lifetime candidate? :)

I'm proud to be voting for Obama in November, and I'm also proud to say that, instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, I will be voting for the greater of two goods -- John McCain was the first person I ever voted for at the age of 18.

But not this time.

Good luck!
Mikey

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

To reiterate my point, made in "Barack Obama's Muslim Childhood":

Obama's having been born and raised a Muslim and having left the faith to become a Christian make him neither more nor less qualified to become president of the United States. But if he was born and raised a Muslim and is now hiding that fact, this points to a major deceit, a fundamental misrepresentation about himself that has profound implications about his character and his suitability as president.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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