We seem to have hit a nerve last week. So let's take another shot:
In 1960 John Kennedy was judged unworthy of being President of the United States by the Christian Right. Kennedy, as we all know, was a Democrat, but the Christian Right just had to go after him because he was a Catholic, and therefore not to be trusted. He was good enough to have worn the nation's uniform and to have served in the Pacific, suffering injuries that plagued him the rest of his life. He was a Catholic, however, and therefore not good enough to serve as president.
Today we have the Christian Right alleging that Barack H. Obama is a Muslim. They have no proof of this, other than a few billion chain emails they are circulating, citing so-called "facts" they believe make their case. The Christian Right collectively forms our most rabid flag-wavers. They are the ones claiming to stand for America's values. Because - they claim - Obama is a "Muslim", he is unfit to serve as president. They play on the emotions stemming from 9/11 to justify this position. Apparently you must be a "Christian" as a qualifier for the presidency, contrary to common sense and the Constitution.
Let me pose these questions of the Christian Right: What of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, Corporal, US Army, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, killed in Iraq in 2007, while living up to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States? He is buried in Arlington. Shall we dig him up and move him somewhere less hallowed? What of Ayman Abdelrahman Taha, Staff Sergeant, US Army, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, killed in action in Iraq in 2005, buried in Arlington. Shall we dig him up too? How about Captain Humayun S. M. Khan, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, killed in action, Iraq, 2004? They are but three examples. You will find Muslims buried in national cemeteries all across the nation. Shall we dig up all of them and move them to some place where their presence is less offensive to the Christian Right?
Did you know that nearly 15,000 Muslims serve in the armed forces, protecting and defending you and yours? What should we tell them? That because they are Muslims they and their children have lost their chance to serve as president? Kennedy touched on this in 1960:
"But if this election is decided on the basis that 40 million Americans lost their chance of being President on the day they were baptized, then it is the whole nation that will be the loser, in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history, and in the eyes of our own people."
If the Christian Right would oppose Obama because of his politics and policies, then let them have at it. But when they, claiming to be all-American patriots, would deny the man the office of president because of his alleged religion – no matter what that religion is - they insult all who have bled and died, who have served the nation. Their ignorance of American values - and Christian values - is as profound as their arrogance. Shame on them.