Who is Barack Obama?  My Debate with T-----

 

This page presents an email debate between myself and a pro-McCain correspondent.  I, the Obama supporter, am in my mid-forties.  My correspondent is a senior citizen.  The letters were exchanged during the last week of the 2008 presidential campaigns.  Their interest is mainly as a record of how different Americans perceived Obama on the eve of his election.  My correspondent, a lifelong Republican, had mentioned six weeks earlier that she was thinking of voting for Obama, which surprised me at the time.  As the election got closer, however, her take on Obama shifted radically.  I start with one of her letters to me.  --E.M.

 

Dear Eric:

 

Let me explain my feelings..... What I meant is that had Hillary won the nomination, I would have felt far more confident having her in the presidency. I do not like Obama at all. Obama makes Hillary look like a saint. I think he is dishonest; I'm suspicious of his connections and feel he is a Marxist and a Muslim. Even Rev. Wright is connected to the Muslim world. I think Americans are being hoodwinked by this charismatic Obama. I do not feel he has been vetted, as you said. I believe to be vetted also means that you accurately answer all troubling questions posed to you and willingly clear your name. If he has nothing to hide why doesn't he release his college records? Why hasn't he presented a valid birth certificate proving he is a natural born American? And..Why...on and on ! He has covered up far too much. Also, his refusal to wear the flag lapel pin is a strong indicator of his true allegiances. I know there is something mighty fishy about him; I just feel it deep within myself. I also can't understand how Americans can vote for a man who has so much to explain. It's absolutely insane! We have never had a presidential candidate with so many questionable things in his past as this guy.

 

I am going to get the book written by the strong arm in Black Liberation Theology. This is a very frightening program of beliefs. The authors name begins with a C. Obama is a Black Liberation Theologist. He is not a lover of white people. This is also why he wants to redistribute the wealth. Don't you think it's time for the black people to go out and work to earn a living? Slavery was over long ago! The excuse is getting ridiculous. Obama's way is to take money from hardworking people who have earned their money and give it to people who constantly gripe about their lot in life but don't care to earn their way by working. All they are is moaners.

 

I know there is a very slim chance that John McCain will win. This is a very dangerous time in America! I've prayed about this a lot and frankly it scares me.

 

What's more, I like Sarah Palin and I am not dumb and bigoted, so don't say something like that. The people of Alaska love her so she can't be the great loser you think she is. It seems today's world can't handle her long-standing American values. They resent that she opted to allow her baby to live. They resent all these old stand by values that she exudes. They also couldn't dredge up enough dirt about her so they have to attack the cost of her wardrobe paid for by the Republican Party. What about Obama's suits? I'm sure Michelle Obama doesn't shop for clothes at J. Crew like she said. What a joke!

 

The video I sent is actually a sermon by a black minister who finds Obama to be a frightening liar. It is not a racist white person delivering this sermon. This man sees Obama just as I do. I sent it because it shows another view point from a black American.

 

Off to my garden where, maybe, I can manage to escape the crooked nastiness of this world. At least there are still some of us who see the light. By the way...Christians don't refuse to give aid to aborted babies who weren't KILLED DURING THE ABORTION! What a sick bastard. He's definitely not a Christian...how dare he say he is!

 

T-----

 

 

Dear T-----:

 

I read your trenchant letter against Obama.  What I sincerely think?  You're not exercising your ability to find the truth: for whatever reason, you've turned off your ability to verify things, to detect B.S.  You've been duped by pre-election propaganda, and to judge by your letter you've swallowed nearly the whole banquet table of smears.  Perhaps some of the things you write about Obama are true, but most of them are obviously just that: groundless smears.

 

Now maybe I'm right, or maybe I'm wrong.  But give the question as to who is right or wrong here a chance.  Go through the following list of your accusations against Obama and at least reconsider whether they are likely true or not.

 

My letter is long, so give yourself some time to read it.

 

I will quote from your letter and address the accusations one by one.  I ask you to think about my answers, as I've taken the time to write them.  I believe that on some of these issues, if you look into them, you will see you were wrong.  On others you'll doubtless hold that I am wrong.  Since you've mentioned it several times, I'll start with your last, ALL-CAPS accusation:

 

1) "Christians don't refuse to give aid to aborted babies who weren't KILLED DURING THE ABORTION! What a sick bastard. He's definitely not a Christian...how dare he say he is!"

 

This accusation refers to the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) and Obama's voting record in relation to it.  The issues around this are very complicated, and it's hard to find a balanced argument that either defends Obama or condemns him on this.  There is a lot of reasoning on each side regarding BAIPA, some of it good, some of it shrill.

 

The main question one has to ask here is the following: At the time BAIPA was being put forward, Illinois law already had a statute protecting babies who survived abortion.  In other words, there was already a law on the books that took care of this issue.  So why was BAIPA even put forward? 

 

If there's already a state law saying the speed limit on highways is 65 mph, and legislators come forward with a new bill that mandates a 65 mph highway speed limit, it would obviously be redundant.  So the question one has to ask is: What else is in the bill?

 

I will say that although I've read into this debate over BAIPA, I am convinced by neither side.  I need more study of the issues, of how the bill was worded and what legal precedent it opened up.  I do know, however, that there were Republicans who voted against it, and so the question is: What was the real story of this bill and how did it relate to the law already on the books?

 

I'll look into it more, but say at this point that I don't think there's a simple answer in either case--namely as to whether Obama could have supported this particular bill while still protecting Roe vs. Wade.  Of course if one is against that Supreme Court decision, then one won't share the desire to protect it.  But pointing out that someone protects Roe vs. Wade and accusing them of not defending the rights of babies who survived an attempted abortion are two quite different things.

 

I myself have a very mixed take on the issue of abortion.  Though I'm generally pro-life, I'm disgusted with the degree to which the issue of abortion dominates the politics of American Christians.  These are Christians who don't seem to hear even a quarter of what Jesus himself says, but who obsessively return to two issues he never even addressed: abortion and homosexuality. There's not a word on these questions in the Gospels, and yet there are many many words, from Jesus himself, condemning materialism and the pursuit of wealth. 

 

2) "I'm suspicious of his connections and feel he is a Marxist and a Muslim.  Even Rev. Wright is connected to the Muslim world."

 

If Obama were a Marxist, he wouldn't have chosen the path of running for senate.  If you think a Marxist would run for the U.S. senate, hoping to reform the capitalist system in that way, it shows you don't know what a Marxist is.  Marxists are strict about arguing that this kind of path--namely reform from within--is ineffectual, always already defeated.  In any case Marxism is a mostly defunct movement even among the left.

    

As for the connection of American blacks to Islam, that's obvious and can be studied by looking into black politics starting in the 1960s.  So, yes, there's a connection between many of the more radical black activists and Islam.  But that long predates the Al Qaeda kind of Islam: it is more a matter of blacks trying to reunite with a literate African religious tradition.  I find the whole attempt understandable, but unfortunate and usually misguided. 

 

Obama has certainly brushed against some of these people, but I don't think he's one of them.  Again: long ago he would have come out of the closet in this direction.

 

3) "I do not feel he has been vetted, as you said. I believe to be vetted also means that you accurately answer all troubling questions posed to you and willingly clear your name. If he has nothing to hide why doesn't he release his college records?"

 

Obama has not presented his college records and his college-period papers: his thesis, etc.  I think he is wise not to.  Why? 

 

Let me give you an example: In Madison I took courses in which I studied Marxism, post-colonial critics--many of whom vigorously criticize the U.S.--all kinds of "radical" things.  Most people who do serious studies in humanities study these subjects.  But do you think most Americans understand this?  Many do not.  They think to study Marxism, to read and write about Karl Marx, means you're a Marxist.  Obama perhaps has some such things on his transcripts. I can only imagine what a pie-face like Sean Hannity (who never graduated from university) would do with Obama's or indeed my own university transcript: Marx, Freud, feminism, all manner of radical subjects.  Merely based on his name and family background they're having an easy enough time of it making Obama look un-American.  With his transcripts and papers they'd have a field day.

 

Now you know I'm a Christian, but, again, with my transcripts in hand, Fox News could easily convince you I'm not.  They could convince you I'm a closet Marxist, that my Christian belief was just a cover. 

 

Regarding his thesis: I remember reading that Obama wrote his thesis on the politics of the U.S.-Soviet nuclear standoff.  I might be wrong about this.  But if indeed he did, as a 20-something-year-old university student, write on this subject, can you imagine how that paper would be picked over during a presidential election?  Every paragraph would be cited as a likely pointer as to how he'd deal with international conflicts.  And let's say he no longer agrees with his stance at that time, that his position has matured and changed.  His opponents would claim he's lying, that the paper represents his real thinking and that he's just modified it to get elected. 

 

And so it is very likely simply a matter of strategy to keep all his college writings under wraps. Had Obama studied business or biology or something else, there'd be no problem.  But as a humanities student, there's too much at stake throwing all this old stuff, which he most likely considers immature, to the press.

 

4) "Why hasn't he presented a valid birth certificate proving he is a natural born American?"

 

This is a non-issue, entirely a red herring.  People who think Obama hasn't presented a birth certificate are about as convincing as people who might argue that he's an alien from the planet Xunu.  Consider the following two debunkings, the first from Snopes, which is a non-partisan site, and the second from the Obama page:

 

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthcertificate.asp

 

http://fightthesmears.com/articles/5/birthcertificate

 

5) "Also, his refusal to wear the flag lapel pin is a strong indicator of his true allegiances."

 

Since when did it become mandatory for good Americans to wear a flag pin?  And if some politicians started insisting they were better leaders because they wore a flag cap, or a flag sticker on their forehead?  Does that mean that everyone has to do likewise or they're not patriotic?  I think all this is indicative of the shallow politics of recent years.  Go through a photo gallery of our past leaders and see how many have flag pins on their lapels.  None?  I guess they were all Marxists. 

 

Obama connects the flag pin to a false patriotism: "The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin," he said.  "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, [the flag pin] became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security."

 

It think this hits it right on the head.  The Iraq war was precisely not important to our national security: it was foisted on the American people by liars with ulterior motives--liars with plans to remake the region in the interests of big oil.  You still doubt this?  Even as prominent a Republican as Alan Greenspan said it loud and clear: "Everyone knows . . . the Iraq war is largely about oil," is how he put it.

 

Obama shows appropriate respect to our national flag.  One doesn't have to follow the flag pin fashion.

 

My personal attitude?  Anything introduced during the Bush years, anything that became popular or supposedly more "patriotic" during these years, I'd be more than content to reject.  That's how much I think Bush and the politcs of his fellow neocons have damaged America.

 

Another example that comes to mind is "freedom fries."  I'd be more than happy to avoid eating at restaurants who changed their menus in this way.  (And who introduced the "freedom fries" idea in America?  A Republican member of the House from Ohio, Robert Ney.  In 2006, Ney was forced to resign from the House because of corruption.  This, to me, is all too characteristic.  I think you'll find that it is the pushiest of these flag wavers that are usually the first to be discovered robbing you.)

 

6) "I know there is something mighty fishy about him; I just feel it deep within myself."

 

I think you are too easily put in this state.  It is a result of being subjected to too many unfounded email rumors and too much carefully crafted propaganda made by people who want you to feel exactly this way.

 

7) "I also can't understand how Americans can vote for a man who has so much to explain. It's absolutely insane!"

 

What hasn't he explained?  Aside from providing his university thesis, he has explained everything.  A week ago you were writing me about how his tuition funding and his purchase of a Chicago home weren't explained.  It had all been explained long ago, thoroughly documented, but the email loonies keep repeating the same accusations that he "refuses to explain." It's simply a baldfaced lie.

 

8) "I am going to get the book written by the strong arm in Black Liberation Theology. This is a very frightening program of beliefs. The authors name begins with a C."

 

In liberation theology, whether black or otherwise, there is a wide spectrum of positions.  Some of these positions are quite extreme and even violent.  One of the founding figures of black liberation theology is James Cone, and this is probably who you mean. 

 

Obama does not echo the radical side of the movement in any respect, although his former pastor Wright did at times lean in that direction.  If Obama believed in the radical path, why isn't it reflected in his earlier books?

 

But again, there's a wide spectrum when one refers to liberation theology.  There are the nut cases who end up arguing things that Jesus would certainly have rejected, and there are those who simply recognize (and I think they are right) that Jesus sides with the outcasts, the downtrodden, etc., and that Jesus is the path to dignity and liberation.

 

I think there is zero evidence Obama hates white people.  Zero.  I think he was shaped through a struggle with issues of race in American society, but that he worked through them.  In any case the man shows far too much intelligence and learning to be a racist.

 

9) You echo the McCain charge the Obama wants to "redistribute" wealth.  You write: "Don't you think it's time for the black people to go out and work to earn a living? Slavery was over long ago! The excuse is getting ridiculous. Obama's way is to take money from hardworking people who have earned their money and give it to people who constantly gripe about their lot in life but don't care to earn their way by working. All they are is moaners."

 

I don't even know where you get this, because no one these days advocates the kind of large-scale, permanent handouts characteristic of welfare projects of thirty years ago.  The McCain charge doesn't even have to do with welfare in any case and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with race.  I don't think average working Americans, namely the (mainly white) middle class, gripe about their lot and don't care to earn their way. 

 

You should recognize by now that the economic policies of the last eight years, which McCain basically wants to continue, haven't helped America and haven't helped you either.  In this sad game you are included in the "middle class."  In a dumb but revealing moment, McCain himself defined middle-class as "someone who makes less than $5,000,000 a year."  That should tell you something about how these guys think regarding the management of our economy.  The fact is that Bush's policies have helped billionnaires, the top of the top one percent.

 

America needs to return to a more balanced and responsible kind of economic policy.  I think Obama's vision is more flexible, less beholden, and less Bushy than McCain's.  I think, and this is crucial, that it will help strengthen the middle class.

 

To sum up: If John McCain were running against a loudmouth like Al Sharpton or a nut case like Louis Farrakhan, I'd be more responsive to some of your criticisms.  But I don't see anything of this in Obama.  Consider his demeanor during the campaign.  In Obama we have a man who respects due process, who respects the values of careful debate, who is not fuming and screaming for some particular interest group.  This is a man capable of balancing many considerations and finding a common ground.  This is what I think we badly need.

 

Perhaps we see two different things in Obama.  I see an extraordinary American who happens to be black; you seem to see a black man who wants to be president.

 

Best,

 

Eric 

 

 

Dear Eric:

 

There is something apparent here that you aren't seeing. You cast total negation at everything said on Fox News. To you they are all lies. It seems, in your mind, you are so pro-Obama that you can't imagine a things could be amiss in all that has been spoken. I don't see it that way. I can never remember a candidate for the presidency having so many negative connections....Ayers, Wright, Farrakhan, Rezzko, Jarret and Khalidi. Isn't this at all odd? Isn't it odd that Muslims have been such a prominent part of his associates? Doesn't this make you wonder? I, for one, could not spend 20 years in a church listening to the hateful sermons of Wright who is also connected to Farrakhan. I cannot imagine how, if Oprah couldn't stand that church and left immediately, how Obama lasted 20 years and hailed Wright as his great mentor and religious educator. Come on Eric....no excuse fits here! Couple that with Michelle Obama's comment, "For once I'm proud to be an American." I've always been proud to be an American.

 

Rezzko:... How could a new young lawyer, with only a few years in practice, make the purchase of such an expensive house as the one he managed to get in Hyde Park? It's quite obvious Rezzko helped him get it.

 

After all the years with John, we could never manage to buy something like that until late in life and then it would have been a stretch.

 

Ayers...He lied about his associations with Ayers. Ayers wasn't just someone in his neighborhood. Ayers was even in attendance with him at the dinner in which Khalidi made all the Anti-Semetic remarks. Obama launched his campaign in Ayer's home. Ayers, it's now found, dedicated a book to Sirhan Sirhan, the killer of Robert Kennedy. Then at this anti-semetic dinner, the L. A. Times won't release the facts from, Obama spoke highly of Khalidi. We aren't allowed to see this video either. Example of more and more cover-ups by our vetted senator.

 

I can understand your position on papers written in college. I can't understand how he paid for his Harvard education. He lied about this too as no loans were apparent for this debt to be met. Did a Saudi really pay for this and, if so, why? Another unanswered question.

 

So, how can you say that he's vetted? There are too many unanswered questions to call this man vetted. Plus, he hasn't had even enough senatorial experience to be the leader of the most powerful country in the free world.

 

There is one thing I have to admit. I called him a Marxist. I need further education as regards this. Wasn't it Carl Marx who promoted Socialism? Is a Marxist exactly the same as a socialist? This I'm uncertain of. I thought they were both in the same school of thought as regards re-distribution of wealth. I do believe that Obama is a socialist. What gives him the right to decide to remove money from richer people; they have earned the right to keep their money. It is the choice and right of those people to give their money to poorer people, but it's not his right to turn this into a welfare situation in which Obama makes this choice for them. This is socialism! It's also questionable whether these handouts really inspire people to work harder on their own. I honestly doubt it's helpful. It seems to me that hard working people are generally too proud to be given money. I definitely am not anti-black, but I do hate all the lamenting black people, having tons of babies, sitting on their butts and yelling, "Help me...Help me!" It's like Bill Cosby said...."It's time you stop blaming others and do something for yourselves." My father came from a low income family. He held two jobs to put himself through Northwestern Medical School. Obama wants to give people college educations. Why can't they work for them like my father?

 

Then, finally, on abortion. Obama said, and I heard him say it, that life does not begin at conception. You claim to be of the Catholic faith. Catholics believe life is so precious that you cannot practice birth control. How then can it be a Christian act to remove a fetus from the womb? Even worse, how can one support abortion and remove a near full term baby from a womb by crushing it's skull? Then, when an aborted baby survives, how can you not give it aid after you've attempted to kill it? Obama did vote for this. I saw an entire program on television about it. Also present on this program was the nurse that took this struggling infant out of the trash can and held it until it died. God was crying when he saw this. How can a human being stoop so low as to kill infants. Babies should have the right to be PRO-LIFE...AND BABIES SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO THE CHOICE TO LIVE because God gives them that right. Obama is not a true Christian. Life is sacred and killing infa

nts is a sin.

 

What is truly sad is that so many people aren't at all troubled by the above unanswered issues. They seem to be too dumb to demand the right to fully qualified answers before they hand a man the highest job in the world. This to me is insanity. It is also obvious that the other major news sources are so pro-Obama that they refuse to fully address or even whisper about these issues.

 

I hope Mc Cain wins. I think Obama is going to win.....If this mystery man, with little experience wins and no vetting wins, I hope he will do justice to the position he's been given. I would hate to see our country totally drift away from the American Way. There are many people living with this fear, not just me.

 

Though I appreciate the time you took to type all your thoughts, I guess I remain unconvinced. I am extremely Conservative, deeply Christian and Anti- Muslim. That's me.

 

Sincerely,

 

T-----

 

 

Dear T-----:

 

Alright, alright.  You are convinced by the portrayal of Obama.  But it's mostly fluff and nonsense.  You don't have to read the following if you don't want to--you say you're not really interested in further discussion--but I think you'll find it interesting even so.

 

Just consider the way you establish your arguments:

 

"Rezzko:... How could a new young lawyer, with only a few years in practice, make the purchase of such an expensive house as the one he managed to get in Hyde Park? It's quite obvious Rezzko helped him get it.  After all the years with John, we could never manage to buy something like that until late in life and then it would have been a stretch."

 

Why not just look at the record? 

 

The Obamas bought their house in 2005 for $1.65 million.  That's a lot of money, certainly, but there's no reason to believe the deal was greased or there was a contribution from Tony Rezko.  And why not?  Because there didn't need to be any such help.  Far from it.  Tax returns for the period show that Michelle and Barack between them were making more than $500,000 a year, all of it legitimate income: his salary as senator and his book royalties, her salary from the University of Chicago Hospitals.  Just consult the tax returns, which they've made public. 

 

For a couple with their combined salaries (in 2006 they earned over $900,000), a house of that price is actually pretty modest.  The Obamas didn't need any help, so why keep implying they did?  If they were making less than $100,000 a year, there'd be reason to wonder--but it's simply an utterly boring, well-established fact that they weren't. 

 

You tell me I should have some respect for Fox News, but if that network is still making this Rezko insinuation--implying that Rezko somehow funded the Obamas' home purchase--it's all just B.S.  Then why is Fox doing it (if indeed they are)? 

 

And here, in this letter, you again mention Rashid Khalidi, and again you put this halo of danger around him. 

 

Where did this halo come from?  Do you even know who Khalidi is?  In any case, it's obvious you don't realize how easy it is to get accused of being anti-Semitic when one begins to discuss Israeli policies. 

 

The accusations of bigotry against Khalidi are a result of the work of Campus Watch, the group founded by Daniel Pipes to hound academics who dare to criticize Israel.  Here are a few quotes (from Wikipedia) about Pipes:

 

Pipes [is] an "anti-Arab propagandist" who has built a career out of "distortions...twist[ing] words, quot[ing] people out of context and stretch[ing] the truth to suit his purpose." . . . Christopher Hitchens, a fellow supporter of the Iraq War and critic of political Islam, has also criticized Pipes, arguing that Pipes pursues an intolerant agenda, "confuses scholarship with propaganda", and "pursues petty vendettas with scant regard for objectivity", making him a "poor if not useless ally".

 

In addition, Pipes has sparked local controversies as an invited speaker at college campuses. When Pipes was invited to speak at the University of Toronto in March 2005, a letter from professors, staff and students asserted that Pipes had a "long record of xenophobic, racist and sexist [speeches] that goes back to 1990." University officials said they would not interfere with Pipes' visit.

 

So this is the guy who managed to make Prof. Khalidi worthy of getting the attention of the likes of Fox News.  To be fair, there are Muslims who praise Daniel Pipes for being such a dogged critic of Muslim radicals.  But my point regarding the "anti-Semitic" line is simple: All you have to do is criticize the government of Israel--and there are many nasty things committed by that government--and the Jewish lobby's attack dogs will be out to imply you are Hitler or Ahmadinejad.  This practice is longstanding and totally unfair, and it blinds Americans to reasonable consideration of a government that gets more funding from us, from our tax dollars, than any other on the planet. If we had been more even-handed long ago--if we'd somehow managed to keep the Israelis, say, from continually coming in and starting new settlements on the little land the Palestinians have left--the world might well be a different place.

 

Besides, since you're a conservative Christian, have you considered that a large percentage of Palestinians are also Christian?

 

Rashid Khalidi is a highly respected historian and critic of the Israeli government.  He now holds the Edward Said Chair at Columbia.  I haven't read Khalidi, only read about him, but I have a lot of respect for Edward Said, have read some of his books, and attended a lecture by him when I was in Madison.  These men are legitimate critics who don't deserve to be demonized.

 

Here is Khalidi himself interviewed about Campus Watch:

 

Q: What are your initial feelings about the project?

 

Rashid Khalidi: It is a McCarthyite attempt to silence the very few voices that speak out about the Middle East, and to impose by fear a uniformity of view on the campus debate. This monitoring of the classroom is reminiscent of the tactics used by police-state dictatorships. It intends further to delegitimize and marginalize the field of Middle East studies.

 

Q: Have you noticed any monitoring on your campus? Have other faculty reported any such monitoring?

 

Rashid Khalidi: Such monitoring on our campus on a "volunteer" basis has been going on for a while, and has resulted in some outrageous and false accusations of anti- Semitism and bias against Israel being made against the University and some of its faculty, including myself, over the past few months.

 

Q: Do you feel this will affect academic freedom on campus? How?

 

Rashid Khalidi: I do not think that it will ultimately succeed, but it may have the intended poisonous effect for a time.

 

As for Islam, I agree with you that it has more potential for violence than Christianity.  Note, however, that I use the phrase potential for violence.  I don't agree with those who say Islam necessarily will express itself this way.  The best way of dealing with the Muslim world, in my view, is: 1) develop a more even-handed policy on the Israel-Palestine question; 2) treat moderate Muslims with respect and encourage development of more openness; 3) keep a vigilant eye on al Qaeda-style radicalism and use military means when necessary to fight it.

 

Another point regarding historical Islam, one which you probably won't like, is as follows: Although, because of passages in the Koran, I'd agree Islam has more potential for militant violence than Christianity, paradoxically it is the case that in most periods of history Christian Europe was more intolerant and violent than the Muslim world.  Up until modern times, in fact, Jews suffered far more persecution under Christian rulers than under Muslim ones.  There's no debating this: scholars from either or any side acknowledge it is true.

 

If we look at the fanatical idiocy of bin Laden and friends and say, "See, Muslims are inherently violent," educated Muslims around the world, in the same kind of gesture, will look at the Holocaust or the Spanish Inquisition and say, "See, Christians are fanatical murderers with a sick penchant for torturing and burning anyone who doesn't join them."

 

The Koran is full of injunctions to fight and full of denunciations of those outside Islam.  The Christian New Testament is far less aggressive.  So it's odd indeed that Christians throughout history have taken it upon themselves to make their faith into an excuse for torture and massacre.  As Christians we must always work to make sure our faith never leans toward these things again.

 

Obama and McCain, now at the end of their contest, are both telling lies about the other.  On the issue of taxes, Obama has nowhere proposed the kind of things McCain accuses him of.  Following is a kind of roundup of each campaign's lies:

 

http://www.newsweek.com/id/166692?GT1=43002

 

It's going to be an interesting Tuesday.

 

Best,

 

Eric

 

 

The following two letters are post-election:

 

 

Dear T-----:

 

After all the raving about Obama's secret Muslim faith and all his anti-Semitic friends I thought it was hilarious to see his first major appointment: Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff!

 

Here are some quotes in Wikipedia on why Emanuel isn't exactly what one would expect from a covert radical Muslim:

 

Palestinians were angry over Obama's appointment of Emanuel as Chief of Staff, especially after his father Benjamin Emanuel was interviewed by the Hebrew daily Maariv in an article entitled "Our Man in the White House." He stated: "Obviously, he will influence the President to be pro-Israel. Why shouldn't he do it? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floor of the White House." Subhi Abu Ishira on the Palestinian NGO network responded "With the appointment of this Zionist, Barack Obama is proving that he is more Zionist than the Zionists." The Window into Palestine blog referred to Emanuel as "the son of a terrorist, a real living terrorist." He referred to Benjamin Emanuel's participation in the Irgun, which the Anglo–American Committee of Inquiry and the New York Times labeled a terrorist group for its bombings of Arab and British civilian and government targets.   According to the New York Times Benjamin Emanuel "passed secret codes" for Irgun leader Menachem Begin.

 

Palestinian American Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada speaking on Democracy Now! criticized Obama's appointment of Emanuel, who he called "one of the most hard-line supporters of Israel in the Congress," and "far to the right of President Bush when it comes to supporting Israel." He said Obama is sending the signal he would not be taking "more balanced, more objective, more realistic advice that could change the course from the disastrous Palestine-Israel policies of the Bush and Clinton administrations."

 

John V. Whitbeck, an international lawyer who has advised Palestinian negotiators in talks with Israel, wrote that Obama's appointment of Emanuel sends a "contemptuous message to the Muslim world." He writes Muslims have a "profound loathing and hatred" of the the United States because of America's unconditional support for injustices inflicted on Palestinians, "the core" of American foreign policy and "national security" problems.

 

Whoever added these paragraphs to Emanuel's Wikipedia entry seems to be overdoing it a bit.  But nonetheless I think my point should be clear.

 

Secret Muslim Obama goes into action.  Yeah, ULTRA-secret.

 

Best,

 

Eric

 

 

Dear Eric:

 

I do so hope you are right on this and that your laugh is a deep belly laugh!  I guess I am one to believe that in a ton of information at least some of it is correct. I also hope that Obama turns out to be one of our greatest presidents as we sorely need things to improve.  If all the rumors and suspicions are incorrect that is good, but I still do not like so many of his liberal positions.

 

He seems to lack respect for the unborn.  He has already announced his switch in Bush's position on stem cell research.  His positions on abortion are very troubling.  A true Christian cannot hold the positions he holds in these areas.  Sure, stem cell research will possibly solve many ills, but at the cost of innocent lives.  This is not success!

 

I also do not like his socialistic stances.  I never cared for Robin Hood.

 

Other than his liberal views, I hope he is a great president.  It was said that Michelle and Barrack with their children could bring another "Camelot" as in Jack and Jacqueline.  I don't think so.  Judging from Michelle's red and black dress at the victory speech in Chicago, she has a long way to go to equal Jacqueline Kennedy.  That dress was a snipers dream come true.  The big red dots looked like targets.

 

I am very happy that a black man could be elected president in America.  This I feel is wonderful!  We've come so far in this country as regards racial issues.  Now maybe Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson will quit their endless laments on inequality toward blacks.  Now maybe all blacks will realize if they have a gripe that perhaps they alone should get off their lazy butts and fix it.

 

T-----

 

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