OBAMA OWES US AN EXPLANATION
Barack Obama needs to address a couple of issues.
Specifically, he should tell us what he thinks about God and country.
He needs to tell us who God is and what he believes about him, and he needs to tell us what he thinks this country is and what his duty to it is.
We need to make sure he's on the same sheet of music we are.
These are not politically correct questions. They are questions the news media has unmovingly avoided. But they are fair questions, and they are questions at the very center of Barack Obama's suitability to be a candidate for president of the United States.
Getting right to the point, Barak Obama was raised a Muslim overseas and attended a madrassa, and he won't wear an American flag pin on his lapel or commit to putting his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is played. In short, we want to know where he stands and what his attitudes and priorities are.
If Mitt Romneys' peaceful American religion can be the non-stop focus of media attention, then surely there can be no harm in making inquiries about the influence of Barack Obama's childhood religion, particularly given that several tens of millions of its adherents around the world have called for the destruction of the United States and the slaughter of Americans.
And, no, jokes about not being in a sleeper cell are not good enough.
What harm can there be in the man telling us what's in his heart?
Not just as to religion, but as to patriotism. Is Barack Obama an American patriot? Or does he, like some of his supporters, consider American patriotism an archaic and simplistic remnant of a simpler and less tolerant day? He clearly chooses not to wear a flag pin and he clearly chooses to not put his hand over his heart.
There's nothing wrong with asking why.
In fact, if we are electing someone whose ultimate responsibility is the no-holds-barred defense of American interests and the American homeland, we've got every right to know if his heart is in the fight. It may actually be the most important qualifying characteristic in a presidential race.
Here's the background.
Barack Hussein Obama was born to an American mother and a Muslim African father. The father left early. The mom later married a Muslim Indonesian who took her and a young Barak to Jakarta. In the fifth-grade he moved to Hawaii to live with his mom's parents.
Granted, that doesn't make him the king of the Muslims, but it gives him a whole lot more Islamic background than more than 99 percent of Americans. And given that most people form their ideas and views about God and worship in their youngest years, it is natural to ask to what extent Barack Obama's view of the divine is shaped by his Muslim upbringing. Does he, for example, remember how to pray in Arabic? Does he ever do so? Does he have or read a Koran? Is the God in his mind the Allah of Islam or some other?
In the framework of sacred stories, does he think of Noah and the Ark and the Garden of Eden, or are there other tales? In his mind, did Abraham bless Isaac or Ishmael? What does he think of Mohammed? And was Jesus a prophet or the Son of God? Does Jesus teach or save?
He is, of course, free to believe whatever he wishes. But if the electorate can with justification ask for Mitt Romney to clarify his view of the eternities, so too can voters ask Barack Obama for such clarification.
Particularly given the fact that the world is now wrought with division -- from Iraq to Darfour -- that is essentially driven by the conflict of values between Islam and the non-Islamic world.
Barack Obama has spoken about accepting baptism at a Christian church. That, however, does not answer these questions. Further, given the nature of his church and its civil-rights orientation, it's not necessarily clear his actual views on Jesus Christ and Christianity.
Again, there is no litmus test, no right or wrong answers, but people have a legitimate interest in knowing.
Then there's the issue of patriotism.
Most people by now have seen the photograph from Iowa in which various other Democratic president candidates -- along with Senator and Mrs. Harkin -- stand with their hands over their hearts during the Nation Anthem, as required by the U.S. Flag Code. Alongside those people is Barack Obama, whose hands are folded in front of him. At a rally where almost everyone had their hand over their heart, this Harvard Law School graduate is smart enough to know that by not doing so he was sending a message.
And apparently it is a message he wants to send.
Because he likewise will not wear a flag lapel pin. Not that a piece of jewelry is the bellweather of patriotism. But at a time when most candidates will wear a flag pin most of the time, when many Americans gladly and often wear the image of the American flag, for the man who would be president to pointedly and proudly not do so is odd.
And oddities demand explanation.
Barack Obama seems to be sending a signal to someone by his conduct. He seems to be purposely disrespecting the country and those who love it. His comments about flag lapel pins to a reporter seem to claim that people who do wear flag pins are not truly patriotic.
Which sets a precedent.
If Barack Obama can opine on the patriotism of others, then they can speculate on the patriotism of him.
When you ask for someone's vote, you owe them something. First off, you owe them an explanation.
Barack Obama's history and behavior are different from most Americans. Inasmuch as those differences relate directly to one's attitude about the country, its institutions and people, they should be explained.
Barack Obama needs to talk to the nation.
He needs to explain what he thinks about God and country.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2007