Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why it is wrong -- twice! -- to say Barack Obama is "Arab"

This shouldn't need to be noted, but calling Barack Obama an "Arab" is a charge which says a whole lot about the person mouthing it. The short summation would be this:

First, Barack Obama is Kenyan (African) and Anglo-American. Thus, the business of him being Arab is incorrect.

Second, though he is not Arab there would be nothing wrong with him being Arab. Could the USA have a President of Arab descent? Apparently not, if we listen to the Right. That's clearly racism, but no one is calling them on it yet.

Dear God, what a stupid election this has turned into. Right Wing blogs continue this crapulous sort of racism (google "Obama Arab" if you don't believe me). The hate mongering is getting more and more shrill as the election progresses.

The news is not, however, all bad. There are some signs that John McCain is beginning to tire of the rabid negativity his campaign has embraced over the past few weeks, even months. He ended up having to defend his opponent after a woman said she couldn't trust Obama. "Obama is Arab," she said. Senator McCain shook his head no, then took the mic from the woman. "I want to be President of the United States, and obviously I don't want Senator Obama to be. But I have to tell you he is a decent person and you don't have to be scared [of him] as President of the United States." At this point, the crowd began to boo their own candidate! [CNN Video of Sen. McCain's comments, below, or use link at left]



Yet it must be remembered that McCain's campaign has systematically sought out this anger in an attempt to solidify their base and -- as done successfully in the 2000 and 2004 elections -- use negativity against another candidate in order to push down that candidate's poll numbers. Obama's race, his name, and his having lived overseas as a small child all seem to suggest a special vulnerabilty.

It remains to be seen if the McCain campaign has stopped the hate mongering. If so, good on them, though it may be too late to undo much of the damage. If they waffle -- even a little -- expect every news source, blog, and armchair pundit to notice.

Again, as an Evangelical Christian, I expect to hear from my fellow Evangelicals about this issue. Racism against Arab-Americans, many of whom may be Muslim but who are also Christian or even Atheist, is absolutely sin, wrong, a violation of the heart of the Gospel. "Love your neighbor as yourself and the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind."

That includes Arabs and / or Muslims. As Evangelicals, we know that Christ also died for them, and that they are created in the image of God, and (again) are our neighbors. Racism is Satan's domain.

17 comments:

Mike O said...

Jon,

As a long-time reader of C-Stone (since early '80s), I have always respected your opinions. Since you don't publish the magazine anymore, I haven't been in the loop as much since then, so I am very interested in your political leanings.

I have never believed that Republicans have a monopoly on the Evangelical positions, and I would be interested to know what issues drive your politics.

Here are the ones that drive mine:
-Social (life, marriage, family)
-Government (inefficient and wasteful government)
-Military (strength is required to preserve our freedom)
-Economics (free market with reasonable controls and minimal entitlements where absolutely required)

For me, the social issue trumps most of the other issues. I will generally vote for the candidate with the most solid record in voting for life. This is the main issue that would prevent me from voting for Obama. On the other issues, in varying degrees I feel unsupported by any candidate, and the life issue is very important to me.

To me, race is completely inconsequencial. I would vote for the better candidate regardless of race or gender. I have observed extremists on both political sides, but that doesn't influence my position.

Perhaps I've missed something important that would be of more significance to this race. In reading your blogs, I feel like you are repeating conventional wisdom about Obama. The most important thing to me is that he has the most extreme anti-life record/rhetoric of any candidate in recent years. He has stated that he would not support any restrictions on abortion, including late term, partial birth, and caring for babies that mistakenly survive the process.

Am I wrong in this characterization?

---Mike

Jillian said...

How refreshing, honestly, to see a Christian who not only speaks out against racism against Arabs, but against Muslims as well. Thank you for your perspective.

BigMama said...

Well, when you have evangelical ministers betting on God's reputation if McCain doesn't win, it's going to be difficult to have a rational discussion about the responsibilities of Christians toward any people group. I mean, if someone's faith is suspect simply for voting for a non-Republican, how much more so if they look different too?

Jon Trott said...

Mike, thanks for your thoughtful inquiry.

Here (in no order of importance) are the issues that drive my politics:

1. Loving my neighbor as myself (the foundation for life in a polycultural society), and loving my Lord with all my heart, mind, and strength (which should in and of itself be manifest in the way I talk and think and act as a citizen of my nation).

2. Dismantling / deconstructing the false idea that America is, was, or should be a "Christian" nation. This idea is antithetical to biblical Kingdom theology.

3. Disempowering the Republicans, who since 1980 have been in possession of the Presidency for all but 12 years. They have done almost nothing re Roe v Wade but have managed to lie to us repeatedly about a war we never should have fought and to destroy the economy of our country and make the poor poorer.

4. Disempowering the Christian Right, for in part all the reasons already listed.

5. Searching for a politics reflecting at least some of the biblical "family values" regarding the poor, the worth of all human life, politics re the biblical Year of Jubilee, the dangers of military solutions and the superiority of seeking peaceful solutions. Just to name a few...

--

I look at the list you offer, and remember once back in the 1980s listening as Cal Thomas of the then-new "Moral Majority" (founded by Rev. Falwell). It was fairly similar to your list. Then, and now, my main problem with it is that it defines a few things -- "voting for life", a "strong military", and "free market" economics -- as biblical. I don't think the bible says all that (and to be fair, I don't think it is a pacifist document, either... but that discussion is too deep for this response).

Life is a huge topic, and I think until those of us who are pro-life also address -- seriously address -- the facts behind much of modern feminism's critique of both western culture and Christianity, we have only a truncated, distorted understanding of what "life" is.

I'm still working on my own understanding, and expect I will be until the day I die. I could be wrong. I've been wrong before. But today from my Christian viewpint I believe that Barack Obama, though imperfect, far outstrips anything McCain and the Republicans have to offer. I've posted more on the prolife issue elsewhere on this site.

Again, thanks for your comments, and I hope I cleared up... well, something. Hehehehe.

lorrie said...

Hi Jon, I just happened across your blog. It is so comforting to hear from other white Christians who don't condone racism and also those who support Barack Obama. The Republicans do not have rights on Christianity. God Bless.

Gimmer said...

Jon its time all of us who follow Christ put a stop to this use of Christ's name to sponcer evil and greed! Keep up the good work I speak out on my blog too. Hill Shepherd it is called.

@bdul muHib said...

Mike,

I think you've been given some bad information on Obama. He does *not* have the most extreme pro-choice position of recent politicians. Actually, among Pro-Choice politicians, he has one of the *least* extreme, enough that Pro-Choice groups hesitated early on in supporting him. He wants to reduce abortion rates as much as possible without restricting them, and does not actually advocate or vote against bans on late-term abortions. (This record was distorted by certain far right groups.)

Steve said...

Jon,
Honestly, I have heard terrible demeaning remarks on both sides. I know, and you do, that there are left and right extremists out there that bring a bad name for both sides. In fact, Recently I saw someone walking around with a t-shirt that say "Palin is a Bitch!" Ignorant people are ignorant people no matter they are left or right. The fact of the matter is.....neither candidate stand for all that I as a Christian believe in, thus forcing me to make a decision between two individuals that do not reflect my value system. As the old saying goes, "picking the lesser of the evils."
I have always respected you highly, including your political tendencies ( As I still do!). But.....I am being very reluctant to come over to your side on this one....
Neither candidate is absolutely prolife (either against abortion or against the death penalty) but I know that Obama does have a much more extremist view towards the unborn...... this breaks my heart...as it must yours....we both have been so passionate over this life issue that we have even been arrested for protest of this crime.
Yes, I believe, as you do, life does not stop at birth...being prolife means caring for the poor, elderly, and the halve-nots of our society. I am not convinced either candidate (by their record that I am aware of) is more of an advocate than the other. I firmly believe (personal feelings) that both candidates say what the people want in order to be elected.....not many blatant lies but many twistings of the truth..... hard to respect someone that does not tell the whole truth.
Love ya brother......feel free to convince me!
Steve

PS
As for an Arab man/women for president........sure, as long as they are the lesser of the evils! (smile)

Steve said...

Jon,
Honestly, I have heard terrible demeaning remarks on both sides. I know, and you do, that there are left and right extremists out there that bring a bad name for both sides. In fact, Recently I saw someone walking around with a t-shirt that say "Palin is a Bitch!" Ignorant people are ignorant people no matter they are left or right. The fact of the matter is.....neither candidate stand for all that I as a Christian believe in, thus forcing me to make a decision between two individuals that do not reflect my value system. As the old saying goes, "picking the lesser of the evils."
I have always respected you highly, including your political tendencies ( As I still do!). But.....I am being very reluctant to come over to your side on this one....
Neither candidate is absolutely prolife (either against abortion or against the death penalty) but I know that Obama does have a much more extremist view towards the unborn...... this breaks my heart...as it must yours....we both have been so passionate over this life issue that we have even been arrested for protest of this crime.
Yes, I believe, as you do, life does not stop at birth...being prolife means caring for the poor, elderly, and the halve-nots of our society. I am not convinced either candidate (by their record that I am aware of) is more of an advocate than the other. I firmly believe (personal feelings) that both candidates say what the people want in order to be elected.....not many blatant lies but many twistings of the truth..... hard to respect someone that does not tell the whole truth.
Love ya brother......feel free to convince me!
Steve

PS
As for an Arab man/women for president........sure, as long as they are the lesser of the evils! (smile)

Aoede said...

Mike -

Yes, you are wrong. First I'd like to apologize profusely to Mr. Trott for posting this twice on his blog, but it is important for people to see this:

[Quoting from the Christian Matthew 25 Network at http://www.matthew25.org/paf/index.htm]


Sen. Obama does not support Partial Birth Abortion. He has stated this repeatedly over his long legislative career. Senator Obama told Relevant Magazine,

“I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.” [3]

Some will cite Senator Obama’s ‘present’ votes on Illinois Senate Bills SB203, SB 1093, SB 1094, SB 1095 as evidence of support for partial-birth abortion. [4] However, Sen. Obama did not believe the legislation would pass constitutional muster. He has supported legislation which bans partial birth abortion as long is there is an exception for the health of the mother." [5]



There's more debunking up at the Matthew 25 network website, if you are so inclined. Truth not propaganda!

bob brown said...

Because of our fallen human nature, we tend to eagerly agree with something bad said about our opponents.

Until we locate and investigate some of these people who have made the nasty remarks at the rallies ("Kill Him" has already been discredited by the Secret Service) we don't know which side they belong to.

Nobody that I have seen in the MSM has even broached the possibility that some of these people could be "agent provocateurs" of the Left.

For you history buffs, this is an old Commie and Lefty tactic practiced by Leftists like Lenin and Hitler. (To be fair, the FBI used to use it too. They would infiltrate the Klan, for instance, and then the agent would try to stir up some outrageous criminal behavior.)

Could be or not, we are just ready to jump on the other side at the first chance without a full accounting of the situation.

//bb

Jon Trott said...

Blue Christian reposting the below (which the poster requested be moved to this comment stream from another where he erroneously put it):

--

@bdul muHib has left a new comment on your post "Newsweek on Joel and Victoria Osteen: "What's God ...":

Bob- I'm going to believe those at the event who said they heard something, recognizing that at those events, unmiked people can say things that only a few hear, and news mikes can pick up stuff that many at the event don't hear, or distort it, as with the so-called "Dean Scream".

We could also say that, instead of secret Leftist agents, it was the Minions of Satan working for McCain, in a secret conspiracy to take over the world. But that would be equally specious and provocative, lacking in any support. Just saying something is possible doesn't make it remotely so, or that we should investigate it, but it does plant the idea in people's minds that it could be true.

bob brown said...

@bdul:

We have historical examples from "back in the day" of trouble being stirred up by the Lenin agents and the Hitler brown shirts. Not so much on the Satanists.

But it would be nice if we could find these people since reporters have a lot of extra time while not investing BHO's alliances and associations :-)

Let me restate: the single source (Times-Tribune reporter)NOT "those who heard something" said that the "Kill Him" statement was SHOUTED out. ALL the professionals (Secret Service and Hired Security)were debriefed there and had missed it. They also interviewed crowd members. NOBODY else heard it. These people take this stuff very seriously and jumped right on it. I gave the link in the other entry.

Not that you have to be impressed, but I consider this one "busted."

//bb

lorrie said...

Bob said: They would infiltrate the Klan, for instance, and then the agent would try to stir up some outrageous criminal behavior.)

Nice example Bob....because we all know that the klan were always just some decent Christian folks. It was just those "FBI plants" that "would try to stir up some outrageous criminal behavior". shaking my head...

bob brown said...

Lorrie,

I was giving an example of 'agent provacateur' work by a more decidedly 'right wing' org, the FBI - so as not to argue that it was completely a creature of the Left. I made no apologies for the tri-Kappas, but some of the klan groups involved were clearly just a bunch of bigoted losers who may have never done anything more than be @ssholes in sheets without the FBI provocation.

And you, Lorrie are a twit.

//bb

lorrie said...

awwwww name calling.....right on cue.

Lorrie

Tom said...

This is a very succinct statement of what I've been trying to tell many of my friends. These are people that are Evangelical Christians that don't see the problems with passing on fear-mongering emails about Muslims and Barack Obama. They see it as being patriotic and defending their Christianity. I appreciate you writing this statement in such a clear manner, as well as many of the other viewpoints.

Especially the statement about the Osteens. He smiles too much.