Idiots have spoken: Obama is a Muslim

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By Rick Howell

    In the movie “Forrest Gump,” one of many immortal lines stands out: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    Surely there’s been nothing more stupid in political news recently than the poll that shows there’s been an increase in the number of people who believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim. “Stupid is as stupid does” has never been more demographically demonstrated.
    The poll, from the highly respected Pew Research Center, shows that about one in five people now believe the president to be Muslim. He’s not. He never has been. There is no evidence for such a notion whatsoever. But stupidity has a life of its own.
    Personally, I’m embarrassed to even have to address this topic in a column I like to use for the discussion of serious issues. But those of us who still respect facts and intellect have a duty to fight stupidity and ignorance whenever and wherever it manifests itself. Now is obviously such a time.
    How could any intelligent person believe that the President of the United States secretly adheres to a religion other than that which he professes? How, you might wonder, could such a ridiculous idea arise?
    First, those who believe such a thing are either not intelligent or are willing to suspend their intelligence in order to listen to the demands of the people and institutions in their lives who tell them what to think.
    As President Jimmy Carter said, much of the opposition to Barack Obama is racist. He is the first African-American president, and given the long and relentless racist history of this country, it is only natural that a racist reaction to him and his presidency would exist.
    Secondly, the fear of terrorism (Muslim terrorism, that is) has now replaced the fear of communism, which previously replaced the fear of anarchists and the fear of immigrants. Fear is a potent political force and conservatives have always known how to exploit it. There’s a reason that FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
    Since the 9/11 attacks, there’s been a deliberate attempt by many to associate Islam in general with the phenomenon of radical Muslim “jihad,” an association that not even George W. Bush accepted. Bush always rightfully distinguished traditional Islam from those who sought to practice terrorism in the name of that religion.
    Yet, for many of those who virulently oppose Barack Obama and his agenda, they cannot resist tying that opposition to the darkest fears many Americans have about terrorism. Thus, Obama is not just a “socialist,” he, by definition, has to be a “Muslim,” as well.
    It’s interesting, too, isn’t it, that many of the same people who now see the president as “Muslim” didn’t mind castigating him in 2008 for the remarks of his Christian pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He’s “Christian” when it suits them, “Muslim” when it suits them another time.
    What we know as “the religious right” is also to blame for this nonsense. Many “fundamentalist Christian” pastors have stood before their congregations and derided Obama as either a “Muslim” or possibly “the Anti-Christ.” Shame on them for pandering to the worst instincts in their congregations.
    President Barack Obama was born in this country. He is a Christian, not a Muslim. He is a man and not a demon. If you believe otherwise, then you have been judged by the simple-minded but good-hearted wisdom of Forrest Gump: Stupid is as stupid does.

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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.