One of the most frequent emails I have had sent to me since the primaries were over by worried Christians is the one which claims that Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, based on the fact that he had a Muslim father, and, it is claimed, he attended a Muslim school when young in Indonesia. This is rather like claiming that my wife is a closet Roman Catholic because she attended a Catholic school whilst young, because she had a devout Roman Catholic mother. A person’s faith should be assessed on their adult commitments, behavior and professions of faith, not on the basis of what their parents had them do when they were not making choices for themselves. Should we also conclude that Barack Obama is a closet Roman Catholic because his parents enrolled him in a Catholic school in Indonesia? Of course not.

It is hard for me to say what bothers me most about these fear and smear tactics by some Christians– whether its simply the untruth of the claim, or the fact that some Christians are prepared to use all sorts of unChristian tactics to prevent Obama from becoming President of the United States.

If one will bother to read Obama’s biography, or pay attention to various of his interviews and speeches when he has been asked about this subject, the truth of the matter is not hard to assess. One may not like the fact that Obama is a social action Christian much like Dr. King and others, but a Christian he is, and he is proud to say so.

So let’s be clear for a moment– whether one agrees with Obama’s politics or not, those views should be judged on their own merits, not on the basis of the false claim that Obama is a closet Muslim.

As for those who keep sending this email around— my grandmother has a word for you— SHAME ON YOU, GO WASH OUT YOUR MOUTH (and your emails) WITH SOAP. I would just add that you need to heed the words of Jesus, that if you have something against your brother then you go and ask him, or consult sources where he has spoken on the matter. You then should extend him the courtesy you would want to have extended to you— to take him at his word, unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise. This sort of email nonsense is an example of Christians behaving badly. Go read the sermon of James on the taming of the tongue.

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