According to an article at cnn.com, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is aggressively battling an e-mail campaign falsely labeling him a Muslim. Unfortunately, I think his response to this “smear campaign” is a mistake. He is playing into the idea that there is a significant portion of the population that hates Muslims. He said:
“I think it ‘s very important for people not to buy into the kinds of dirty tricks that we’ve become so accustomed to in our politics, and people need to understand I’m not and never have been of the Muslim faith.”
“I think that those who are of the Muslim faith are deserving of respect and dignity, but to try and feed into this fear-mongering and try to question my faith commitments and my belief in Jesus Christ, I think is offensive.”
Calling someone a Muslim is not a “dirty trick” nor does it “feed fear-mongering”. In this case, it is simply a lie. His best course of action would have been to either ignore it or issue a simple denial. Unfortunately, his rhetoric here simply escalates this to no good end. He may very well end up offending the Muslim community with these remarks.
Here’s a bulletin to Obama: This is the 21st century. The overwhelming major of people are not so stupid as to discriminate against someone based on their religion. I don’t care what religion you practice. As long as you are a good, decent person and I agree with a good deal of your policies, I’m going to consider you. Religion will not, and should not, having any bearing.