To the Editor:
There has been a lot of disturbing news this election year: obstructed and compromised health care reform; increasingly vocal talk of privatization of social security benefits; talk of even eliminating social security; or at least adding two more years to the start up of the benefits – from 65 to 67; the funneling of billions of dollars from corporate funds into political campaigns; youth suicides and gay bullying. It goes on and on….
The most corrosive and deeply disturbing news, in my view, is the deliberate undermining of our president through insinuation, suspicion, and fear-mongering.
Obama’s ancestry is, in part, Muslim. His Kenyan father was Muslim. Obama is a Muslim name. Muslim are linked with terrorists. It is suggested that Mr. Obama is linked to terrorism. So, Mr. Obama’s citizenship has been called into question. This is a heinous example of guilt by association. We’ve been here before. We could see other examples of this kind of damage and destruction to people caught in the McCarthy scourge of the 1950s.
This narrow, perverse, fascist attitude strikes at the core of our Constitutional thoughts and values. It is evident in newspaper editorials across the country-from the LA Times to the New York Times to the Lincoln County News, right in our own back yard.
Whatever happened to our Ellis Island, open, affirming, welcoming attitude to others in the world? Have we become reduced to marginalizing, disavowing, distrusting others-the poor, the displaced, the homeless, the immigrants? We are all immigrants. Each one of us is the other-in one way or another, one time or another.
Even worse: It is more than one Muslim-American’s citizenship that is being called into question: It is the entire Islamic faith that is wrongly implicated. It would behoove us all to read the Qur’an (Koran), and read ourselves out of our fear, and to discover that the Koran is, in fact, one of the most peaceful, most consistently open and democratic of all our “Bibles.” The Koran teaches kindness and love, not terrorism.
Having said that, it is also important to remember that a simplistic, narrow and fundamentalist-extremist element is present in every faith. So, we must be vigilant- and not see the partial truth for the whole truth.
In all three monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) God (or Allah or Yahwey) is understood as an inclusive God-God of Love of all peoples – believers and unbelievers, saints and sinners and everyone in between. A God of people of all places of origin. God of all places of worship. God of all ages and all sexual orientations. This is a God whom we know finds truth in our honest grappling with this question: Who really is the other?
It is a sorry business, this nationalistic, reactionary response to an increasingly rich, diverse, multi-cultural world we do, in fact, live in. We must honor that world, hold onto it, and sing it’s praises.
Rev. Bobsy Dudley-Thompson, Edgecomb