Thursday, August 30, 2007

Response to a horrid forward

I received the following forward (at the bottom) from my Aunt, who was rightfully skeptical, after receiving it from another member of our family. Here is my response, and please make sure this information is spread to anyone trying to promote this deceptive anti-Obama conspiracy theory:

This e-mail forward is filled with lies. I hardly know where to begin. First of all, a quick google search can't find any association between the name William H. Shay and Yale University, ever. Except in this forward, which has been posted on a couple of "Christian" websites. That connection between a falsely attributed e-mail and its repetition by Christians reminds me of a Bible verse from Revelation 21:8:
"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

Moving on to the lies in the letter itself:
Fox News did a smear story where they asked the question about whether or not the school Obama attended when he was 6 was a madrassa, or Islamic religious school. CNN sent a reporter to the school to verify. Here was the finding:

"...He visited the Basuki school, which Obama attended from 1969 to 1971.

"This is a public school. We don't focus on religion," Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the Basuki school, told Vause. "In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."

Vause reported he saw boys and girls dressed in neat school uniforms playing outside the school, while teachers were dressed in Western-style clothes.

"I came here to Barack Obama's elementary school in Jakarta looking for what some are calling an Islamic madrassa ... like the ones that teach hate and violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Vause said on the "Situation Room" Monday. "I've been to those madrassas in Pakistan ... this school is nothing like that."

Vause also interviewed one of Obama's Basuki classmates, Bandug Winadijanto, who claims that not a lot has changed at the school since the two men were pupils. Insight reported that Obama's political opponents believed the school promoted Wahhabism, a fundamentalist form of Islam, "and are seeking to prove it."

"It's not (an) Islamic school. It's general," Winadijanto said. "There is a lot of Christians, Buddhists, also Confucian. ... So that's a mixed school."

The Obama aide described Fox News' broadcasting of the Insight story "appallingly irresponsible."

Fox News executive Bill Shine told CNN "Reliable Sources" anchor Howard Kurtz that some of the network's hosts were simply expressing their opinions and repeatedly cited Insight as the source of the allegations.

Obama has noted in his two books, "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope," that he spent two years in a Muslim school and another two years in a Catholic school while living in Indonesia from age 6 to 10."

As to the claim that Obama is a Muslim, that's patently false, also. Obama has openly discussed his Christianity frequently, including giving a speech described as follows: "(Obama's speech on faith) may be the most important pronouncement by a Democrat on faith and politics since John F. Kennedy's Houston speech in 1960 declaring his independence from the Vatican...Obama offers the first faith testimony I have heard from any politician that speaks honestly about the uncertainties of belief."
-E.J. Dionne, Op-Ed., Washington Post, June 30, 2006. To watch the speech, go here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/faith/

Is it possible that Obama is secretly a Muslim? Sure. But there is absolutely no evidence of that. It's also possible that Mitt Romney is a Scientologist (he did claim that one of L. Ron Hubbard's books is his favorite), but I believe him when he says he's a Mormon. It's also possible that Rudy Guliani is secretly a Buddhist, that Hillary Clinton is a Hindu, and that former Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee secretly worships the Hale-Bop Comet, but there is no evidence to back up those claims, either. With Christianity, as with any religion, we're known by our works. Only Obama worked with churches in the inner city in Chicago to help the poor. In fact, to my knowledge, he's the only candidate to convert to Christianity, rather than being born into a Christian (or Mormon, in Mitt Romney's case) family. And, unlike the conservatives who focus on who Christians should hate with their anti-gay, anti-abortion rhetoric, Obama is one of the only candidates who actually talks about Jesus' emphasis on serving the poor, the hungry, and the prisoner. In contrast, the Republican candidates (with the exception of John McCain, who knows what it feels like to be a prisoner), have all promised to hold more prisoners in Guantanimo Bay and continue torturing them, a stance that's hard to justify with Christianity.

Another lie: Barack Obama did not take his oath on the Koran. Perhaps William H. Shay (who can't even spell "Koran" correctly) confused him with Keith Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota. Oh wait. I forgot. William H. Shay, at least the one who works at Yale, doesn't exist! Or maybe mythological Mr. Shay is confusing Barack Obama with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida who took her oath on the Tanakh, the Hebrew scriptures. Or maybe he's confusing Obama with President John Quincy Adams, who took his oath to be president on a law volume instead of the Bible to illustrate that this was a country built on laws, not any single religion. (Regardless, Keith Ellison eventually decided not to take his real oath on the Koran, because the swearing in ceremony is just a photo op, and the real Congressional oath is taken on the floor of the Congress in one big group, with no books at all.)
What about this Wahabi conspiracy? Well, Wahabi Islam is an extreme sect, but Obama was never involved with it. Who was, in our government? After George H.W. Bush left the presidency, he took a job with the Carlisle group, a lobbying group that tried to procure weapons for Saudi Arabia, a nation whose government is clearly infiltrated by Wahabists. George the Senior even started calling one of the Saudi princes, named Bandar, "Bandar Bush". Bandar's adoptive brother, George W., just gave the largest weapons deal ever to Saudi Arabia. So, why would the Wahabiist need to get a mole into the White House when they can buy a Connecticut-born Cowboy through his father? I am far less concerned about Obama, who is criticized for being overly forceful when condemning the government of Pakistan for not helping get Osama Bin Laden (Obama threatened to go into Pakistan and get Bin Laden with or without Pakistan's permission), than I am about our current president giving Wahabiists huge supplies of weapons.

Normally I don't take deceptive e-mails like this too seriously. Anyone can spew a bunch of lies. But in this case, they are defaming the character of the person I think would be one of the best presidents in U.S. history, and using bigotry against Islam and ignorance as their means. Luckily, no one in our family is enough of a bigot or an ignoramus to fall for this, of course, but please forward this on to anyone who might have received this e-mail, so no one gets away with this deception.

-Ben Gorman
a real person
not an employee of Yale University



>Begin forwarded message:>
>
>Subject: FW: Important - Who is Barack Obama
>
>
>Subject: Important - Who is Barack Obama
>
>You'vegot to read this written by William H. Shay at Yale University
> > >
>Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in
> > Honolulu , Hawaii , to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from
>Nyangoma-Kogel , Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHIEST from Wichita , >
>Kansas .
> > >
>Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii . When Obama was two
>years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya . His
>mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia .
> > >
>When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia . Obama
>attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta . He also spent Catholic school.
> >>
>Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is
>quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also
>attended Catholic school."
> > >
>Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that
>Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this
>influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned
>to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct
>influence over his son's education.
> > >
>Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, AnnDunham,
>introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school
>in Jakarta .
> > >
>Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim
>terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the Western world.
> > >
>Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN, when seeking Major
>public office in the United States , Barack Hussein Obama joined the
>United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim
>background.
> > >
>Let us all remain alert concerning Obama'sexpected presidential
>candidacy.
>The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside
>out. What better way to start than at the highest level - through the
>President of the United States !
> > >
>ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office - he DID NOT use
>the Holy Bible, but instead the Kuran (Their equivalent to our Bible, but
> very different beliefs.)
>Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man leading
>ourcountry?......NOT ME!!!
>William H. Shay
>Yale University - Procurement
>(203) 432-4656

2 comments:

@bdul muHib said...

Well written. I always like to say, that certainly, Obama was enrolled in a madrasa when he was younger. That's the Arabic word for "school". Obama was in a madrasa just like what I taught in for the last three years in Morocco.

Benjamin Gorman said...

I worry that too many people in this country might actually prefer a president who hasn't attended any school. I thought abut including a reference to an anecdote I once heard regarding W's only A at Yale, which was given out to all the students in the class because the professor didn't show due to a scheduling error. I'm not sure if it's true, but I find it entirely believable. I honestly think there are people who would rather vote for a guy who never got an A, because it makes him more familiar, than a stellar student who will make decisions regarding their welfare. Personally, I don;t want a president who is just like me. He or she better be a whole lot better. Otherwise I'd be president, and no one wants that.