bama is Christian. Yet in late June, one independent survey found 12 percent of voters believed he is Muslim.
In other words, thousands of voters believe a lie – one corrected repeatedly in the news media. The lie made news last week at a John McCain event in Lakeville, Minn. Gayle Quinnell, 75, said she didn't trust Obama because he was an “Arab.” McCain had to tell her, “No, no.”
This may seem ridiculous to people who pay attention to facts. But plenty of voters don't. A June survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found 12 percent of voters said Obama is Muslim. It found nearly one in five white, evangelical Protestant voters believe Obama is Muslim. In other words, fervent Christians are more likely than others to believe a fellow Christian is not a Christian – despite his years of attending Christian churches. No word on how many “Christians” have, like Fort Mill's mayor, spread e-mails saying Obama is the antichrist. How un-Christian is that?
Facts first: Obama is a Christian raised by Protestant grandparents and an atheist mother. His Kenyan father, whom he barely knew, was a nonbelieving Muslim; his stepfather a nonpracticing Muslim.
Note: Calling someone Muslim is not an insult. But it's clear some people intend to raise doubts among voters who ignorantly think “Muslim” means “terrorist.”
Thanks to the New York Times, we now know the whole thing probably started with a nutty and anti-Semitic fellow in Illinois named Andy Martin. Martin was blocked from the Illinois state bar after a psychiatric finding of “moderate-to-severe character defect … with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”
He habitually files lawsuits and runs for office. Records show many appallingly anti-Semitic statements. Here's one: In a 1983 legal motion he wrote, “I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did.”
His 2004 press release saying Obama was a Muslim was posted on a Web site, then picked up by others and referred to as if it were credible. Thousands of gullible people are now treating Martin as if he is, well, sane. Fox News Channel last week, in a documentary-style program seen by 3 million people, let him say without challenge that Obama had trained to overthrow the government.
Clearly, McCain and Obama differ on many issues. They bring different resumes, and voters are expected to disagree about which candidate they favor. But please, apply some common sense. To believe something because you read it in an e-mail or see it online is dumb. It may well have been launched by someone as nutty – and anti-Semitic – as Andy Martin.