A recent LA times/ Bloomberg Poll shows that 7% of registered voters in Ohio and Florida believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Another 44% in Florida did not know what religion Barack Obama is (that seems like a lot to me). I must admit that a part of me feels like I should not bring it up because it would bring some sort of sense of accomplishment or validity to those who began this smear.
However, I think the reaction to this smear shows a harsh and overlooked reality: throughout this election, Muslims have been demeaned by both Republicans and Democrats in a way that is disgraceful in a country this great. As Colin Powell put it on Meet the Press a few weeks ago: "it doesn't make any difference who you are or what you are, if you're an American, you're an American." What if Barack Obama were a Muslim? (he's not) Should it matter? (no) What if there's a Muslim-American child doing his civics homework who decides that someday he wants to be president? Is someone to tell him: no you can't have your shot at your American Dream because you're a Muslim? (of course not!)
Anytime Obama has been confronted with the question "are you a Muslim?," he has responded with the answer "no I am a christian." In doing so, he has implied that being a Muslim would disqualify him as a candidate. The correct answer to this question (in my oh so very humble opinion) is: "Not that it is any of your business, but I happen to be a Christian. However, if I were a Muslim, there would be nothing wrong with that because we live in a great country where we don't discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs" (or lack thereof for that matter).
So, next time a pollster calls you and asks: "What religion is Barack Obama/John McCain/any other candidate for public office?" you say: "I don't care."
Read more about the poll here
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