By Brigitte L.Nacos
Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” whether he believes President Obama is a Christian, Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, said the other day, “You have to ask that of President Obama. You can ask me do I believe you’re a Christian. I think people have to ask Barack Obama. He's come out saying he's a Christian. So I think the question is, what is a Christian?” He was not finished yet. “Under Islamic law, under Sharia law, Islam sees him as a son of Islam, because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, his great-grandfather was a Muslim,” Graham stated. “So under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees President Obama as a Muslim, as a son of Islam. That's just the way it works. That's the way they see him.”
When asked whether he believes Obama is “categorically not a Muslim,” Graham said, “I can't say categorically because Islam has gotten a free a pass under Obama.” He then attacked the president’s policies which, according to Graham, favor Muslims over Christians.
Graham also said that he asked the president how he became a Christian and was told that Obama joined a church in Chicago after he became a community organizer which had Graham wonder about Obama’s motives.
All of this sounded just like the crazy arguments of the right-wing hate sites of the militia and patriot and birther variety that have bemoaned the end of America as we know it from the day Barack Obama won the 2008 election. Warning that "Obama is the Antichrist," one of those sites’ posts stated, “He claims to have discovered Christianity in his adult life but I would ask you to check that claim. He is a phony Christian and is in fact an aggressive supporter of murdering unborn children. Obama speaks of Christianity while openly rejecting the teachings of the Christ and the Bible.”
Pretty much along the lines of what Franklin Graham tells us.
The greater problem is that such paranoia has become part and parcel of the current Republican primary campaign and of mainstream Republicanism.
Just as the right-wing hate sites, Rick Santorum paints a grim picture of an apocalyptic future—if Obama remains in office. Last weekend, the former U.S. Senator told reporters that the situation today is pretty much the same as around 1940 and 1941, when Americans hesitated to fight Adolf Hitler because they thought he was “a nice guy.” So, what was the lesson of this comparison? Obama is as great a threat today as Hitler was then.
While Santorum’s rhetoric is now a tact more fanatical than in the past, it is far from unusual. He has chastised Obama for “absolutely un-American activities” and warned that “this is the most important election of my life. This is where America’s freedom is at stake.”
And his competitors, too, are blowing in the same horn.
Mitt Romney has told us that “the president said he wants to fundamentally transform America, I kind of like America. I’m not looking for it to be fundamentally transformed into something else. I don’t want it to become like Europe.”
Yesterday, Newt Gingrich told students at Oral Roberts University that Obama is “the most dangerous president in modern American history.” Claiming that Obama is particularly weak when it comes to fight radical Islamic terrorists, Gingrich said furthermore that "defeating Barack Obama becomes, in fact, a duty of national security. Because the fact is, he is incapable of defending the United States." Ah, well, this was more than a senior moment for Gingrich, he simply does not want to recognize that Obama has been far more successful in fighting this kind of terrorism than George W. Bush and any other president.
I think that the real threat to America are fanatics and right-wing ideologues whether of the Christian or secular libertarian kind.And of course opportunists like Gingrich.