Yes, that Barack Obama. The one who’s the President now and whom no-one in their right mind believes is a Muslim.
It wasn’t as deranged of me as it might sound. It’s just this very fuzzy memory I have of when I first heard about this Obama guy who was running for President, and from whatever news source I was half paying attention to I somehow got the impression that he was a Muslim. It wasn’t an agenda being pushed nearly as strongly as it is now, but the notion found its way into my head somehow.
I didn’t think much of it at the time. “Huh, okay. Non-Christian guy running for President. Could be interesting.” That was the extent of it, as far as I can recall.
In retrospect, even that sounds painfully naive. The idea that a non-Christian would have any chance of not being torn to shreds from all sides in a US Presidential race seems ludicrous, especially given how much shit real Christians get for not being Christian.
Like I say, I really didn’t think about it much.
When I did think about it, having heard some more about this increasingly pertinent news story and acquired some actual facts, I realised quickly that I’d got the wrong idea. He says he’s a Christian – which ought to be enough to settle things on its own, really – he goes to church, it all seems quite straight-forward. Simple enough to change my mind. Sorted.
Apparently some people haven’t found it quite so simple.
The thing is, I had absolutely nothing invested in the idea that Barack Obama was a Muslim. I’d made a mistake on a subject I didn’t really care much about. But some people really seem committed to the idea, beyond anything that can be called rational. It’s become really important to their mental well-being to continue seeing him that way; the cognitive dissonance involved in admitting a mistake, and having to accept him as a Christian – just like them – is far too great.
(If there are any significant non-Christian factions convinced that Obama’s lying about his religion, I’m yet to encounter them.)
It just seems like a pernicious, dishonest, and largely self-deluding way of distancing and depersonalising the guy – he’s not one of us, he’s one of them. He’s not saying the things I want him to say, he doesn’t stand up for all of my beliefs against what I perceive as threats, he doesn’t stop the others encroaching on my country who I want stopped. And he looks a bit different from me and the people I know.
So he must be one of “them”, an outsider, a foreigner, an enemy of “real” America, a communist, a socialist, a fascist, a Nazi, a Muslim, a terrorist from Durkadurkastan – or any other such term which seems to get used more or less interchangeably by the kind of people who think like this.
He professes his Christian faith, has been going to a Christian church for decades, and doesn’t actually appear to be a Muslim in any way whatever. But if you start thinking like that, then you might have to acknowledge that you have something in common with him.
I don’t know where I was going with this. I think it’s just another bitter rant.