Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Things That Really Shouldn't Matter...

More often than not, what I read in the news appalls me. Sure, our world is in a precarious place right now; Mother Nature keeps wrecking havoc with floods, mudslides, earthquakes and storms, the economy is still shaky, and the general mood of our country is angry and pessimistic.

But it's not that news that gets me. This morning I was amazed by a story on Yahoo! which reported that Americans are increasingly convinced that President Obama is a Muslim, and a growing number are thoroughly confused about his religion. In fact, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and its affiliated Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, and Time magazine/ABT SRBI both recently conducted polls to gauge public awareness of Obama's religion.

While I realize that recent conversations about whether to allow a mosque to be built on land near the World Trade Center brings general fear and prejudice against Muslims into stronger light, I fail to understand why people really need to be focused on the President's religion, especially when he is not Muslim.

Why is this news? Why does it matter? It's one thing if he was bending over backwards for one particular ethnic or racial group, but he isn't. And all of the progress he has tried to push this country toward has no Muslim overtones.

I can't help but feel this is yet another move by those who oppose the President's policies and the Democrats to obfuscate the issues that are truly important. Clearly there is nothing else wrong with our society these days, so we need to focus on things like the President's religion and gay marriage. I guess if there is any silver lining in these polls, it's that 52 percent of people said churches should stay out of politics. Not that that will happen any time soon.

I wish we could learn to accept that just because people don't agree with our views, it doesn't make them inferior. But that may be too much news for many.

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