ThePoliticalCat

A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

2008 Elections: Is Barack Obama Muslim?


Good grief. The endless wailings and hysteria of the right wingnuts on the issue of Obama's religion is really starting to make us ill.

La Casa de Los Gatos has always held that religion makes you crazy. A spiritual life is essential to good health and happiness, just as essential as a good sex life, good food, good friends, and a good education. But a spiritual life should not be equated with organized religion.

Here at La Casa de Los Gatos, los gatos firmly believe in Ceiling Cat. Insofar as gatos have any concept of a deity, Ceiling Cat maketh the sun to shine and birds and mice and other small life to behave foolishly when being stalked and hunted.

From I Can Has Cheezburgr

The concept of a deity had to originate with humans. Animals live in the here and now. While they have the capacity for memory and learning, they lack the &mdash let's call it conviction &mdash of predictive capacity. It's up to humans to decide that there is a deity, or many deities, who will punish the wrongdoer and reward the good. Animals know that life is what it is. Sometimes you're the crocodile chewing on a gazelle. Sometimes you're the gazelle being chewed on by an crocodile.

Thus animals lack the capacity, the intent, for "evil" acts. They do what they do because instinct and the desire for pleasure move them. They do not desire pain. They do not see it as wrong to kill a small fellow-creature for food, nor do they rail against creatures that kill them for food or competition for living space. They would escape if they could, and they hope to. But they do not judge.

Humans, because they can form intent, and place their own interests above reality, can decide that their need for living space should outweigh their fellow-creatures' need to survive. Thus, Americans by and large feel fine about the fact that, at five per cent of the entire planet's population, they consume 25 per cent of the world's energy and disproportionate quantities of the world's other resources. Assuming, of course, that they ever think about it.

With that in mind, we observe that lately the loons among us have begun to bay and howl that Obama is a Muslim. What? First off, what difference does it make whether he believes in Imaginary Creature A, B, C, or D?

But! they cry. It DOES make a difference! Because we're fighting Moose-lumps in Iraq!

Well, Iraq happens to have many adherents of many different religions within its borders &mdash Christians, Jews, Yazidi (mostly Kurds), and, until we jackbooted it there and screwed up everybody's lives, a healthy number of atheists and secularists who didn't really concern themselves with religion. Of course, thanks to us, many of those people are either dead or fled, so that the one religious demographic remaining behind are the hardline fundamentalist Moose-lumps, whether Shi'a or Sunni.

Yazidi symbol

Yay, America. We sure know how to fuck up our own best interest. We do this mostly because many of our own people are so abysmally ignorant that they actually believe the lies a few powerful people tell them. These powerful people lie to us about who our real enemies are so that we will get all excited and start running about with our undies in great big knots, paying no attention to them as they systematically loot our treasury of our hard-earned tax dollars.

So, get this straight, peeps. We're not fighting Moose-lumps in Iraq. Obviously not. Because our best buds in Iraq are Nouri al-Maliki and his rotten cohorts. Guess their religion. No, really, guess. We'll give you a hint. They're not Christians. Here's another: they're not Jews, either. Here's a third: they're not even Yazidi.

Also, if we were enemies with all Muslims, we would already be dead. Because there are approximately one billion Muslims in the world. So what's the deal with Iraq and the Moose-lumps and fighting them, you ask.

Here's the deal. Some Muslims (just like some Christians, some Socialists, some rightwingers, some Communists, some Hindus, or any group, religious, political, or social) are committed to violent political activism. See IRA for an example of Catholic political activism; LTTE for an example of Tamil Hindu political activism. Others abound.

Some of these Muslim activists formed an organization calling itself al-Qaeda under the leadership of a charismatic recipient of American military assistance and training, one Osama (or Usama) bin Laden. The bin Laden family are Yemeni Arabs of the Sunni Islamic tradition and have strong ties to Saudi Arabia.

Remember this guy?

Some years ago, bin Laden decided that, in retaliation for the American military presence in the Holy Land (Saudi Arabia), al-Qaeda would carry out a terrorist attack on the U.S. which would destroy its economy. U.S. Intelligence discovered this, and, in 2001, briefed G.W. Bush and other top officials. The report was titled "bin Laden determined to attack in the U.S."

For reasons known only to themselves, the officials took no action. On September 11, a little over a month later, several jetliners were hijacked and flown into buildings in New York and Virginia. Osama bin Laden has never been found. The Saudis' ties to the attackers are well-established but have not been thoroughly investigated.

Two years went by before anything at all was done to respond to the attack on the nation. Then, the same officials who refused to act on that fateful warning and have yet to implement any of the security measures recommended by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission decided to attack Iraq. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a largely secular nation with no ties to any religious fundamentalist groups or to the hijackers who attacked the U.S.

Iraq's only claims to fame: oil; strategic location; extreme poverty following many years of international sanctions. Thus, we are now mired in Iraq, where our bestest friends are various fundamentalist Islamic loonies who really really hate us and wish we would all FOAD. Makes sense, don't it?

And our own fundamentalist loonies have their knickers in a knot because Barack Obama might could be possibly a Moose-lump.

Well, if you didn't believe education was important before, believe it now. Because if these fundie loonies had one, they could go read USA Toady (no typo), which is as far from a leftist source as to almost be the Official Organ of Attila the Hun. Here's what the article has to say on Obama's religion and his family's religion:
Obama's grandfather had converted to Islam from Roman Catholicism and taken the name Hussein, Sarah Obama said, but his children had inherited only the name, not the religion. Each person should be able to choose how they worshipped, she said.

"In the world of today, children have different religions from their parents," she said. She, too, is a Christian.

Barack Obama has visited his Kenyan relatives three times in Kogelo, and his grandmother has gone to the U.S. twice. She says they are close, although they have to speak through an interpreter.
So, do we have that clear? Barack Hussein Obama's grandfather was born and raised a Roman Catholic. He later converted to Islam. However, because Islam recognizes Christians and Jews as "people of the book," he married a Christian woman, Barack Obama's grandmother, Sarah, who still adheres to the Roman Catholic faith of her forebears.

According to various accounts, Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, was born to parents who were Methodist and Baptist but neither of them emphasized religion. Obama's mother later declared herself an atheist, although her daughter, Maya Soetoro Ng, describes her as an agnostic. She made religious instruction available to her children, but seems to have had more of an anthropological approach to it, giving them access to the Upanishads along with the Bible.

Barack Obama himself became involved with Trinity United Church of Christ during his days as a labour organizer in Chicago. He has been a practising Christian for over two decades. There is absolutely no indication whatsoever that he has ever practised any other religious faith.

And another thing, for all the wingnuts out there: there is no evidence that Senator Barack Obama is the cousin of Kenyan politician Raila Odinga. This is another piece of gossip that has been perpetuated by dubious sources. While Odinga is happy to claim the relationship, it would appear that there is good reason to doubt its existence. As the link points out, Odinga is an Anglican. Obama's grandfather, to whom he claims to be related, was a Roman Catholic who converted to Islam. It's possible but unlikely that close relatives will belong to many different religious groups.

La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your attention and returns to the unabashed worship of Ceiling Cat, who disdains any adherence to ritual except the eating of good food, the drinking of good drink, and the maximum amount of lolling about.

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4 Comments:

At 10:21 AM, Blogger zoe said...

Thank you, thank you. This should be disseminated to all the idiots who actually believe Obama = Muslim bs.

 
At 11:42 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

I've had a ton of hits on this, which is good.

 
At 11:42 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

I've had a ton of hits on this, which is good.

 
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