Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Religion and Ethnicity and Politics

I found a kindred spirit in Campbell Brown who wrote the following article. Here's a sample of what she had to say:

So what if Obama was Arab or Muslim? So what if John McCain was Arab or Muslim? Would it matter?

When did that become a disqualifier for higher office in our country? When did Arab and Muslim become dirty words? The equivalent of dishonorable or radical?

Whenever this gets raised, the implication is that there is something wrong with being an Arab-American or a Muslim. And the media is complicit here, too.
Religion and ethnicity in politics is an important issue, in that it should be a non-issue. Vote for the candidate that you think will do the best job for your country. Look at what they've done. Examine their voting records. Be naturally cynical of any information about a candidate coming from the opposite party, because I guarantee it WILL have been taken out of context and spun in a blender before being fed to the public. Remember that this is true for both sides, not just the "other" side.

I suppose it's natural to pick the candidate who you feel you have the most connection with. And that might mean being naturally drawn to someone of the same race or religion. But, stop and think. Before being a member of a specific ethnicity, or a religion, each individual is a human being, with all the same wants and needs as any other.

Over and over, I hear Barak Obama being "accused" of being an Arab, or a Muslim - on the news, on Youtube, at rallies. Not that it should matter, but he's neither. His mother was an American from Kansas originally. She was white. His father was from Kenya, in the U.S. to study. And yes, he was black. Senator Obama was born in Hawaii, and lived in Hawaii for most of his childhood. He is by all the rules that count, an American. Just as John McCain is. And Obama was raised a Christian, just as McCain was.

But surely that doesn't matter. Both are good men. Either would probably make a good president (of course, no one knows for sure how they would do until they are actually in office). Neither is planning to bomb us, and both believe they have our best interests at heart. I know that many people hold Muslims at fault for the 9-11-01 attack, but that's not fair. Do we hold all Christians at fault for Timothy's McVey's actions in Oklahoma City? Or what about David Koresh in Waco or the ATF agents who might or might not have mishandled it? Since Hitler was a devout Catholic, should we hold Catholics at fault for the Holocaust? Going back even farther, should we consider all Christians as being violent and untrustworthy, because they - as foreign invaders - sought to "liberate" the Holy Land 1000 years ago? The answer is NO, of course not. All of the examples above claimed to be Christian. Just as the perpetrators of 9-11 claimed to be Muslim.

Christians, Jews, and Muslims have ALL done a lot of good in this world. They pray to the same God. They share many of the same prophets, (Abraham, and Jesus are two, though they vary in importance from religion to religion) and finally, the religions have remarkably similar rules and morals.

On the same token, all three religions have examples of bad people, as well. Prisons here and in the middle east are full of Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

Each person should be judged on his or her own merits, on his or her own actions and history. On election day, go and vote for the best person for the job, but don't you think it should be in a color-blind manner?

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