By: Sarah M
Twenty-four percent of Americans believe that our current President, Barack Obama, is Muslim. There are many reasons for the average citizen to say this. Of the 42% who say Barack Obama is Christian, most say that the idea that he is a Muslim was invented to shine a derogatory light on him. After all, he does openly try to support “moderate Muslims,” but he has stated, several times, that he is a man of the Christian faith. The main reason for this mistaken idea sounds harsh, but is true-he is black. So, he should be Muslim, right?
The idea that he is Muslim may be strongly believed by some, while others believe it as to try to degrade his political and social standings. The reasons for this are many – his decisions in Afghanistan/Iraq, his decisions and plans about the economy, etc. Several people were interviewed for this story, both teachers and students. One interviewee, when asked if they thought Obama was Muslim, said simply “Barack Obama has said he is not Muslim-I believe him.”
The majority of people interviewed at Jefferson claimed to have no knowledge of the subject, or they didn’t really care. One person said, “I really don’t know…I have no idea.” And would say no more. Others claimed to care about the subject, and just didn’t know. But almost no one could give any legitimate reason for his or her answer. Except for one. The first sentence was not promising. “I don’t really care.” But then, “I don’t think it matters what religion our leader is. He is probably Christian, because, with the country getting all huffy about it, I don’t think he would be Muslim.”
The most interesting thing about this is the second part. This was the only interviewee
who truly didn’t care. Not out of lack of compassion, but because they did not think it was an important factor. How many people really do care, truly, whether their president is Muslim or Christian or Islamic? Who does care?
A series of polls launched by Newsweek ask many questions concerning Barack Obama’s values and the country’s reaction to his political decisions. Many of the questions took into consideration his religion- “What is Obama’s religion? What is your opinion of Muslim Americans?” were some examples.
It seems that quite a few people do care, whether they know or not. But the question is-should they care? Is it really that important? Does it influence the political decisions of the president? There are many answers to this, ranging from “Definitely” to “It depends on the religion.” A central idea of our democracy is that there will be no mixing of Church and State. How many people understand and appreciate this anymore? If their religion were the one being vilified, how would they feel?