Why I don’t care that Obama’s not secretly a Muslim
October 23, 2012, 12:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

PostLibertarian gives the best evidence that Obama is not secretly a Muslim. Not that I think Obama ‘is secretly a Muslim’, but the fact that his argument ultimately rests on the axiom that Muslims Just Don’t Kill Other Muslims should probably give one pause. Reality clearly violates this axiom. Face it: when it comes to killing Muslims, NOBODY takes a back seat to Muslims.

That said, when it comes to religion, Obama is presumably what he appears to be, a guy who had a mixed/transient/confused upbringing that (as it happens) involved a fair amount of Muslim influence, before settling as an adult into regular attendance at a slightly cuckoo black-nationalist Christian-affiliated church with an incoherent, illegible theology that does not seem to have affected his soul to any degree given that he was able to hastily drop the association when it became a political liability. As far as I can tell he’s not a Muslim, he’s not a Christian, religiously, he’s a ‘social-democrat’ politician. So yes I think the people ‘accusing’ him of being a Muslim are probably wrong. But where do we go from there, besides making ourselves feel superior by ranting and raving about stupid mouthbreathing rednecks?

In between said ranting it might be nice to at least acknowledge in passing that the ‘Obama’s a Muslim’ sentiment is a natural reaction to an absolutely true, non-crazy observation about Barack Obama, which is that his origin and upbringing are quite culturally different to that of the median American. It is neither racist nor prejudicial nor insensitive to make such an observation nor to wonder or discuss what it may harken for his leadership style.

This fact is reflected in many (perhaps seemingly trivial) things – the refusal to place his hand over his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance; the ostentatious bowing to non-Western autocrats; his wife’s implication that she had never approved of America prior to his election. But despite those examples its effect is not seen only through meaningless trivia or fashion statements; his after all was a campaign run almost entirely on a need/desire to ‘change’ or ‘transform’ America, with nary a tangible description let alone open discussion of what that was supposed to mean.

We now know two three things it means: one, to overhaul the U.S. health care system in a fascist way. Two, to wage war in the Middle East without Congressional approval, war that in some places ends up empowering radically-Muslim factions. Three, to ramp up spending to such an irresponsible degree, in a time of high unemployment and low economic growth, so that tax raises and inflation in a depressed economy are now the baseline assumption about our future. Sorry but those are not small changes or effects, yet I don’t believe these eventualities were given any serious discussion prior to his being elected.

Instead the discussion was: “It’s cool. First Black President.”

So the problem is that politically-correct rules of politeness prevented these things from being discussed in the mainstream media, in any open or honest way. Precisely how did American need to ‘change’? To what did it need to be ‘transformed’? Such a discussion was disallowed, because to bring these things up made you a racist, a mouthbreather fearing The Other. Political correctness instead required everyone to assume Obama’s cool because he reminds us of that cool professor, or whatever. It’ll be fine. Historic.

Amazingly this means that, in effect, everyone agreed and acknowledged that Barack Obama is an Other. What we weren’t allowed to talk about which Other, what specific form his Otherness might take, and what that would mean for the future of a country under his leadership. These entirely rational questions and concerns were basically all waved away as unimportant and/or uncouth things to worry about.

And that created the vacuum which inevitably got filled by notions like Obama being secretly a Muslim. When rational, understandable viewpoints are disallowed in polite circles, only the extreme forms of them get aired. Yet people act surprised?

No, I don’t think Barack Obama is a Muslim. But I don’t think it’s a big deal that some people do (or say that they do, when – perhaps – they’re really trying to say something else, and ‘he’s a Muslim’ is what comes out in frustration). What Religion People Think Barack Obama Is, when you get right down to it, just isn’t that big a deal. But maybe that’s because I think it’s a far bigger deal that Barack Obama’s views and beliefs – whatever they are, let alone his background – went largely unexamined due to political-correctness reasons prior to us making him a U.S. President.

But nobody cares what I think.

21 Comments so far
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I tend to agree with your perspective, but the perspective of the guy you link to is downright ignorant.

Comment by Pastorius


Comment by Sonic Charmer

Good stuff, I’ll need to think about this some more. I do not believe that Muslims Just Don’t Kill Other Muslims, although I suppose I may have oversimplified that in the post. I suppose what I mean is that a significant number of conservatives not only believe that Obama is a Muslim, but that this is also a bad thing because it means (at least from what I gather) he wants to Generally Hurt non-Muslim American citizens while Generally Helping the Muslims in the Middle East, or that he’s generally “anti-American” and “pro-Muslim.” (For example, crap like “Will Obama succeed in creating a United States of Islam?“). I simply do not see how such a worldview is at all compatible with a reality where the President is personally directing assassinations of Muslim terrorists (which “helps” Americans by reducing the chance of a terror strike) while simultaneously accepting the collateral damage of killing and/or terrorizing lots of Muslim civilians (which does not help them).

When you brush aside the trivia, I’m just not convinced that Obama’s foreign policy is anything different or that it reflects that mysterious Other upbringing (though I agree that the media shamefully ignored it). Obama’s drone strike / kill list stuff is a straight continuation and embellishment of the “neocon” Bush stuff. Sure, Bush didn’t start a war without Congressional approval, but compared to all the other ways his administration disregarded the Constitution, that’s fairly irrelevant. Besides, hasn’t the US been “empowering radically-Muslim factions” since at least the Soviet-Afghan thing decades ago? Didn’t Romney talk just last night about arming the Syrian rebels, which could easily lead to the same thing? I strongly disagree with Obama’s foreign policy; I just don’t see how it looks at all “pro-Muslim,” or for that matter, that it looks markedly different from anybody else’s…

Comment by joshua

Clearly the issue is that there are different factions of ‘Muslims’, as their infighting indicates. In other words the argument that Obama isn’t secretly Muslim because of how many he’s killing actually commits the non-PC sin of Lumping All Muslims Together: “How can he be Muslim if he kills Al Qaeda people?” Doesn’t really compute when you think about it ;-)

If we still (?) take ‘Al Qaeda’ to be, more or less, that faction of radical Muslims that’s against the heathen/illegitimate Saudi royal family’s rule over the Muslim holy places, for example, it could just be that in carrying out these drone wars, Obama-the-Muslim is doing the Saudis’ bidding. (Not saying, just saying.)

Similarly (but I guess paradoxically) his killing-of-Muslims in Libya has helped empower (a different kind of) Muslim in Libya. One that is, if anything, less friendly to the U.S. as far as I can tell.

So the problem is that I could see how, when looking at his drone-based foreign policy, a serious recognition and taking into account of the factioned nature of ‘Muslims’ could actually *bolster* a conspiracy case for him being a Secret Muslim (IMHO). Which, again, I don’t think he is.

Basically agree w/your 2nd paragraph. Overall I don’t think his ‘Otherness’ is hugely manifesting itself in ways that couldn’t/wouldn’t equally be done by (as I think he is) a Generically Bad (D) President In A Time Like This. It’s just that it wasn’t allowed to be discussed in the first place, and so I see ‘secret Muslim’ talk as symptomatic of that fact. And as a result I guess I’m a little sympathetic to it – at least, if ‘not especially bothered by it’ counts as sympathy.

Comment by Sonic Charmer

Fair enough. I suppose the real world of Islam is complex enough that you could fit all of the types of Muslims that are currently being hurt by Obama’s foreign policy into a subset that is completely exclusive of another subset of Muslims to which Obama might theoretically belong. I suppose I’m assuming (perhaps uncharitably) that most of the 17% answering these polls have not reached such a nuanced conclusion. Mainly, I just think Obama is wrong on so many things that it frustrates me that so many conservatives make it so easy for the press/liberals to dismiss their opposition on such irrelevant details. Ultimately we both think the press/liberals are going to be guilty of this no matter what, but perhaps I feel more than you that many conservatives are somewhat responsible for this also.

Comment by joshua

Here is why I say he is downright ignorant.

First the idea that Muslims don’t kill Muslims is patently absurd, but you have already stated that.

I have to add, the phenomenon of Muslims killing Muslims is not all about different sects of Muslims. it’s not necessarily about Shia vs. Sunni, or this tribe vs. that tribe. It is about any one of a myriad of things. The issue is that Islam prescribes death to apostates and those who “stir mischief in the land.” The definition of both apostate and stirring mischief is obviously vague, and the mantle can be taken up by anyone at any time. Hence many Muslims murder many Muslims.

Now, to my point:

Comment by Pastorius

I think he already explained for himself in comment above why his view is more nuanced than my snarky version ‘Muslims don’t kill Muslims’.

That said, your posts below develop the issue in a deeper way than I think I was even contemplating, and there are things there that I hadn’t known. Thanks!

Comment by Sonic Charmer

The guys says, “I think they say Obama’s father was a Muslim and he went to a Muslim school in Indonesia or something. As every evangelical Christian parent knows, children never abandon their parent’s religion, right?”

I respond: But that is not the point. The reason people point out that Obama’s father is a Muslim is because according to Sharia law, Obama is a Muslim if his father was a Muslim. Barack Obama Sr. was a Muslim. Lolo Soetero was a Muslim and raised Obama as a Muslim. Hence Obama is a Muslim according to Sharia law.

According to America and it’s Constitution, Obama is whatever he says he is. In America we have the right to define ourselves religiously. It is our right. Obama says he is a Christian, so as far as America is concerned he is a Christian, not a Muslim.

But that does not mean that he is not a Muslim according to Sharia law.

In fact, to say that he is not would be the same as saying the citizen of another country is not a citizen because he has gotten American citizenship. If the other country still counts him as a citizen, then he is a citizen.

And you can bet that if he is an average human being, he will use that dual citizenship to his advantage if he feels it necessary to do so.

Comment by Pastorius

That guys says, “Then there was that whole Jeremiah Wright thing. As everyone knows, secret Muslims like to spend twenty years sitting in Christian churches, right? ”

I reply: (after a very heavy sigh) that the guy apparently does not remember, or does not think it significant that Jeremiah Wright’s church features Farrakhan in services, talks about Farrakhan in services and has awarded Farrakhan The Trumpet Award through their publication.

Additionally, there is this article about how the Church accepts Muslims as MEMBERS of the Church:

On a tip from a pastor, which I wrote about here I called the Trinity United Church back in February, 2010 to ask about the requirements of membership. The church receptionist transferred my call to the Director of Membership, who told me that baptism is optional and that Muslims who believe in the prophet Mohammed can be full members. In fact, she reassured me cheerfully, they have plenty of Muslim members.

Comment by Pastorius

Additionally, Jeremiah Wright was recently interviewed and the question was posed, Did you convert Obama to Christianity:

Author of The Amateur Ed Klein discussed his interview with controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright tonight on Hannity. Klein told Sean Hannity that Wright said, “It’s hard to tell,” if he converted Barack Obama from his Muslim faith to Christianity.

Klein also said Wright told him he made it easy for Barack Obama to not feel guilty for learning about Christianity.

Comment by Pastorius

And finally that guy says, The reason I don’t think Obama secretly loves Muslims more than the rest of us is because he’s killing lots of Muslims!
Obama was directly involved in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. “OK,” the Muslimer may say, “but he pretty much had to do that. When the Seals say they have our number one enemy, he couldn’t just say No. He had to.”
OK, let’s continue. Obama’s foreign policy has not just killed bin Laden. We’ve killed lots of al-Qaeda under his leadership, from multiple versions of “number two” all the way down to the low-level militants. If Obama is a secret Muslim, he definitely doesn’t seem like the pro-terrorist type.
But it gets even better worse. The drone strikes that are targeting terrorists across the globe are also taking out hundreds of civilians, who also usually happen to be Muslims.

I respond: This is the guy’s best point, and he is not ignorant in making it, as he is clearly ignorant in his other points.

However, I have an explanation for even this point. My explanation is not something I necessarily believe. Instead, it is an plausible scenario I have come to believe could explain things that I find I can not explain otherwise.

That guy (the guy you think is not ignorant) says that Obama is targeting Al Qaeda militants. Indeed he is. He also used Al Qaeda militants in Libya to overthrow Ghadaffi. So, Obama is willing to use Al Qaeda as well as kill Al Qaeda. (So was Bush).

But if Obama has something against Al Qaeda (and I believe he does) why would he at the same time, unseat our ally Moubarak in Egypt, and help the people replace that ally with a government made up of the Muslim Brotherhood. Anyone who knew anything about Egypt knew this was inevitable. If you want to argue that it was not, then I will take you up on it. And I will provide you with links to show that I am right.

Now, what is the difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. I think the answer Al Qaeda has proven itself to only be capable of organizing towards destructive ends. The Muslim Brotherhood on the other hand is organized towards the end of establishing Sharia law as the official government of the whole world.

Ultimately that is also the goal of Al Qaeda.

But the Muslim Brotherhood believe in establishing Sharia along with organized government. Whereas the Taliban is happy to piggy back on an organized government so that they can have bases (Al Qaeda means “the base) from which they can attack governments, unseat them, and then have SOMEONE ELSE come in an establish an organized government.

So, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, same goal, different means.

Now, IPT came out with a report the other day on Obama’s meetings with members of CAIR and ISNA in the days leading up to important meetings and events in the ME. CAIR and the ISNA are both Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the US, and both were implicated as “unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation Terrorism Financing’ trial.

So, we see, Obama works with Muslim Brotherhood front groups on the US to help him work through policy in the leadup to events which end in the Muslim Brotherhood now being in power in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria.

Four countries in four years.

And we’re working on Syria.

Comment by Pastorius

Algeria; The Algerian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood warned on Monday that a popular revolution was imminent if the ruling elites did not introduce real reform in the country.

Referring to the ‘Arab Spring’ protests that have rocked the region since January 2011, Bouguerra Soltani, president of Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) – the Brotherhood’s branch in the north African country – said there was still a threat of an uprising.

“The sooner change comes the better in order to save people from danger. The government can still benefit and learn from what happened in the region and find positives in it,” he said.

“Algeria has postponed its spring, but it hasn’t cancelled it,” he added.

Soltani’s party belongs to the Islamist Green Algeria alliance which comprises parties from across the political spectrum but won just 60 seats in the last parliamentary elections after widespread accusations of fraud.

Comment by Pastorius

Tunisia: Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood Condemns Tunis Attacks
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U.S. media is reporting that Ennahda, the ruling party of Tunisia, has condemned the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis and the neighboring American school. According to an AP report:

Associated Press TUNIS, Tunisia September 15, 2012 (AP) Tunisia’s governing moderate Islamist party condemned the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis and the neighboring American school, saying Saturday that such violence threatens the country’s progress toward democracy after decades of dictatorship.

Comment by Pastorius

Libya: Libya elections: Muslim Brotherhood set to lead government
Libya’s top politicians have hatched a deal that would see the Muslim Brotherhood lead the government after the country’s first free elections in almost five decades takes place on Saturday.

Comment by Pastorius

So, we see that Obama’s actions serve the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are willing to use Al qaeda to do so.

The Muslim Brotherhood, also, is willing to use Al Qaeda to serve it’s agenda of unseating “dictators” to “establish democracy”.

Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood have the same agenda, and that is that it is better for the Muslim Brotherhood to be in power than any other organization in the Muslim world at this time.

Whether Obama has the same reason for supporting that policy as the Muslim Brotherhood has for supporting itself, is open for debate.

But, while your friend has debated the points, he has not provided sufficient answers to explain the phenomenon.

Comment by Pastorius

By the way, let me explain why I used the word ignorant. I used it because he is ignorant of the facts of the subject on which he is writing. Simple as that.

Apparently, Joshua (I just figured out that the commenter Joshua is the author of the post in question) did not know that

1) Obama’s church accepts Muslims as members,

2) does not know, or accept as a reasonable distinction the difference between how Muslims might define Obama vs. how we as Americans would define Obama (if he does not accept it as a reasonable distinction, I would argue that he is being illogical as he is not adhering to the definition of the words in the sentence I wrote above – the distinction exists, and it is believed in whole-heartedly by the two cultures; Islamic and American)

3) Apparently, Joshua has not taken into account the facts on the ground about Al Qaeda and the similarity of goals it shares with the Muslim Brotherhood, and how that dovetails with exactly the policy that the Obama Administration has followed. NOw, once again, I am not saying that I am right on this point. Instead, I am merely saying that my explanation explains events, while others don’t fully explain events. Of course, we could say Obama is merely an ignorant appeaser, and that would, also, be a reasonable explanation for his ridiculous policy vis a vis the Muslim Brotherhood taking over the reins of four nations on his watch.

Comment by Pastorius

Thanks for your thoughts. A few responses…

1) I don’t think it’s relevant whether or not Obama is a Muslim “according to Sharia law,” which is a made up thing that neither you or I follow. I usually assume (perhaps wrongly), when people say that Obama is a Muslim, that they mean they think he thinks he is a Muslim, not that Sharia law people think he is a Muslim. If he doesn’t think he is a Muslim, it doesn’t matter what Sharia law people think, any more than it matters if someone makes up a Teletubby law and declares that Obama is a teletubby under their Teletubby law. (And if Obama does think he is a Muslim, well it doesn’t matter what Sharia law says either, because the people that think he is a Muslim are right anyway.)

2) Fair points about Jeremiah Wright’s church. I may have been ignorant with my sarcasm on that point. However, I’m still not convinced that Obama’s foreign policy reveals any connection to that….

3) I suppose it’s possible that Obama is pro-Muslim-Brotherhood, although I am skeptical. In general it seems that the arguments required to make that case are such that you could also make the case that Bush was pro-Muslim-Brotherhood, or that Romney is now – since, for instance, Obama merely expanded Bush’s drone program, and Romney has only praised it also, or, for instance, since Obama may have supported Egyptian rebels (but did he also support the foreign aid to Mubarak?) which led to the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power there, but it looks like Romney wants to do the same thing in Syria – couldn’t it all just simply be part of America’s decades-long foreign policy of trying to influence governments in the Middle East? Maybe Obama “knew” the Muslim Brotherhood would come to power in Egypt. Shouldn’t Romney “know” they would come to power in Syria? Shouldn’t Bush have “known” that al-Qaeda would infiltrate Iraq? Heck, shouldn’t Carter(?) have “known” that the Iranian Revolution wouldn’t have turned out the way we wanted? So, in general, I’m not convinced that Obama’s policies look any more “pro-Muslim-Brotherhood” than other recent relevant candidates and presidents, but I do confess that I don’t know enough about the various situations to form a confident opinion about the matter, and I do think that if there was a strong case, it would be a good argument against my Best Evidence. But I think there’s a good chance there’s evidence that goes against the pro-Muslim-Brotherhood theory (example, if we really were “working on Syria,” would that be good evidence for it? Maybe you have evidence that US foreign policy towards Syria right now is pro-Muslim-Brotherhood. But when Romney criticizes Obama for not working enough on Syria, and the Syrian rebels say they will remember that the US did not support them, I think that’s just as likely evidence that US foreign policy towards Syria is not pro-Muslim-Brotherhood, but again, I don’t have enough facts to be strongly confident of that, just enough to be skeptical.)

Comment by joshua

1) It does matter, and many of the people who make the point that Obama is a Muslim are making that exact point, and then they get tarnished by people who do not listen to the subtlety of their point. And, that is why I said you are ignorant. The media has been doing nothing but bashing those who want to discuss Obama’s connection to Islam. It is a serious issue. Even the Church he goes to is pro-Islam. And that brings me to

2) Yes, this was the point that got me worked up. Your snarkiness on the subject of Jeremiah Wright and the Trinity United Church. It is a radical church, it is racist, and it is completely outside the bounds of the American Tradition, and if it’s ideas were to grow, it would be the end of the American Constitution. And, it is pro-Islam to boot.

3) I agree with your point that if Obama is pro-Muslim Brotherhood, the same argument could be made against Bush. However, Bush never negotiated with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, during his term, it was proposed by someone in the State Dept. that maybe it was time to negotiate with Iran and with the Taliban in organizing an exit strategy from Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush was a tremendous disappointment in his second term. And Romney’s debate performance of the other night was un-nerving as it made me think he would be Bush/Obama all over again, when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood.

I don’t have evidence that we are working with the Muslim brotherhood in Syria, but I would be willing to bet you that in two years when this Syria thing is all played out, the Muslim Brotherhood will be in control of Syria too.

Comment by Pastorius

By the way, you are a Libertarian. Libertarians believe we are defined by our Ideas.

The Ideas of Trinity United Church, and of Barack Obama, are both pro-Islam.

If you believe ideas matter, then surely you would understand that the ideas of Trinity United are not mainstream Christianity.

In America, we get to define our religion. So, for instance, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other cults get to claim, and be accepted as Christian.

But, if you believe in ideas, then you have to admit that they are a subset of Christianity. They are not mainstream Christianity.

I believe people are far too squishy about religion, and I think that arises out of fear of criticizing people on what is deemed to be a highly personal issue.

However, ideas matter, and they ought to matter to Libertarians even more than they matter to others, because Libertarianism is a purely rational Philosophy, not built upon “faith.”

As a Philosopher of a sort (because I think all Libertarians are Philosophers) I would suggest you think through the basic ideas of various faith groups. They are all bodies (or even, systems) of ideas. They are not all the same, they are not all “built on the Golden Rule”, and they are not all helpful, nor are they all hurtful.

They are all different.

Just as Kant is different from Sartre, and Aristotle is different from Spinoza.

Comment by Pastorius

[…] UPDATE: A response, followed by more thinking and responses, here. […]

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