Who is Barack Obama?


Senator Barack ObamaA relative unknown, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has emerged as an early leader in the race to be named the 2008 Democratic candidate for President of the United States.

Many were surprised at his strong showing in Iowa, probably none more so than New York Senator and opponent Hillary Clinton, who came in third behind Obama and Senator John Edwards.

As this was being written, Barack Obama was leading in New Hampshire by 10 percentage points over Senator Clinton, prompting her to revert to personal mud-slinging.

Updated below.

So, we thought we'd investigate some claims that we've received by e-mail (several times), and we bet you have, too. Our point is that you need to be informed before making your voting decision. And anonymous e-mail is often not the most reliable source.

The only problem is, whom can you trust? We don't know, either.

So we will present to you what we found, and let you make your own decisions.

Muslim?

The first e-mail, which began circulating even before Barack Obama declared last February his intent to run for President, "accuses" him of being Muslim. The last time we checked, that wasn't a crime.

But it could be a VERY effective smear tactic that could help an opponent. Or it could backfire. The early indications are that it may be backfiring, given the size of Barack Obama's lead over Hillary Clinton, whose camp is accused of circulating the rumors.

Here's the gist of the first e-mail:


"This is the "dude" that some people want to be the next President of the United States. Scary isn't it???????

Speaking bluntly, in a real presidential election, no one in their right mind would vote for Barack Obama. That would be like voting for the guy who just moved in down the street from you, that you wave to from time to time but don't know a thing about.

That's Obama. He's been a US Senator for about 100 days, give or take a week. [In reality, he was a senator for 143 days when he decided he was qualified to be President.]

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim, mitigating that damning information by saying that, for two years, he also attended a Catholic school. Barack Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. was a radical Muslim who migrated from Kenya to Jakarta, Indonesia. [This writer obviously had Senator Barack Obama's father and stepfather confused. Barack Obama, Sr., was from Kenya. Lolo Soetoro, Obama's stepfather, was from Indonesia.]

He met Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita, Kansas at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Obama, Sr. and Dunham divorced when Barack, Jr. was two. [Ann Dunham met Barack Obama, Sr., during her first semester of college. She found herself pregnant, and at age 18, dropped out of college after just one semester.

Baby Barack Obama Jr. was born in August of 1961. Before he was a year old, Barack Sr. left his family behind to live with Ann Dunham's parents while he pursued a degree at Harvard -- you see, his scholarship didn't include funds to support his young family, and he felt he shouldn't deny himself the best education. Ann declined to return to Kenya with him, where he already had a wife, and filed for divorce.]

Obama's spinmeisters are now attempting to make it appear that Barack Obama's introduction to Islam came from his father and that influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya immediately following the divorce and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Dunham married another Muslim, Lolo Soetoro, who educated his stepson as a good Muslim by enrolling him in one of Jakarta's Wahabbi schools. Wahabbism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad on the industrialized world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when you are seeking political office in the United States, Barack Obama joined the United Church of Christ to help purge any notion that he is still a Muslim, which, ideologically, he remains today."



Or, the e-mail you received may have looked like this:


"Subject: Be careful, be very careful.

Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama Sr. (black muslim) of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Siaya District, Kenya, and Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas (white atheist).

When Barack Obama was two years old, his parents divorced and his father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro -- a Muslim -- moving to Jakarta with Obama when he was six years old. Within six months he had learned to speak the Indonesian language.

Barack Obama spent "two years in a Muslim school, then two more in a Catholic school" in Jakarta. Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim, mitigating that damning information by saying that, for two years, he also attended a Catholic school.

Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. was a radical Muslim who migrated from Kenya to Jakarta, Indonesia. He met Obama's mother, Ann Dunham - a white atheist from Wichita, Kansas - at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Barack Obama, Sr. and Dunham divorced when Barack, Jr. was two. [See corrections above.]

Obama's spinmeisters are now attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came from his father and that influence was temporary at best.

In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya immediately following the divorce and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.

Dunham married another Muslim, Lolo Soetoro, who educated his stepson as a good Muslim by enrolling him in one of Jakarta's Wahabbi schools. Wahabbism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad on the industrialized world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when you are seeking political office in the United States, Barack Obama joined the United Church of Christ to help purge any notion that he is still a Muslim.

Handsome . . . Charming . . . Winsome . . . Dangerous . . . Deceptive . . . Determined"

Well, that created a firestorm of attention, as you might imagine. Both Snopes.com and Urban Legends concluded that the majority of the claims are false, specifically the ones that claim Barack Obama is a Muslim. Snopes has a claim-by-claim discussion of the allegations in the e-mail.

CNN went so far as to send a reporter to Jakarta to check out the claim of Barack Obama being educated in a radical Muslim school known as a "madrassa." The reporter, after visiting the school and talking with its deputy headmaster and one of young Barack Obama's classmates, concluded those claims were also false.

In November 2007, the Washington Post also published a story discussing the various claims.

Christian?

Just when that controversy died down, we received another e-mail:


"I don't like forwarding articles until I've checked them for myself. I looked at the Urban Legend site and read the article about Obama's background (http://snopes.com/ then click on the sidebar to get the article.)

Although it refutes most of what has been written about Barack Obama's Muslim background and the influence his father had on him, it very clearly stated that he has been a member of the United Church of Christ in Chicago for 16 years.

There might be another United Church of Christ in Chicago besides this Trinity United Church of Christ, but if not and he belongs to this one, watch out America!! [This is in fact the church Barack Obama has attended for roughly 20 years, home of the controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright.]

Maybe Barack Obama "found religion" before he went into office purely because he wanted to follow the Christian path, but that's highly doubtful, especially considering the practices of the UCC and the fact that politicians don't get into politics overnight.

The UCC is an extremely liberal church originating from the East Coast and has been heavily involved in political and gay rights activities. Each individual church is allowed to "do their own thing" for the most part, so some congregations are not as politically active as others, but they still tithe to the Mother Church, which says it all.

Barack Obama mentioned his church during his appearance with Oprah. It's the Trinity Church of Christ. I found this interesting: Obama's church: www.tucc.org/about.htm.

Please go to this church's website and read what is written there. It is very alarming.

Barack Obama is a member of this church and is running for President of the U.S. If you look at the first page of their website, you will learn that this congregation has a non-negotiable commitment to Africa. Nowhere is AMERICA even mentioned. Notice too, what color you will need to be if you should want to join Obama's church... B-L-A-C-K!!!

Are you aware that Barack Obama's middle name is Mohammed? [No, actually, it's Hussein.] Strip away his nice looks, the big smile and smooth talk and what do you get? Certainly a racist, as plainly defined by the stated position of his church! And possibly a covert worshiper of the Muslim faith, even today. This guy desires to rule over America while his loyalty is totally vested in a Black Africa!

I cannot believe this has not been all over the TV and newspapers. This is why it is so important to pass this message along to all of our family & friends. To think that Barack Obama has even the slightest chance in the run for the presidency, is really scary. Click on the link below: "

Unfortunately, the link was missing, so we have no idea what it led to.

Let us first correct a factual error. Senator Obama's middle name is not Mohammed. It is Hussein.

Racist?

But Barack Obama is indeed a member of Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side of Chicago, home of the fiery racist pastor Jeremiah Wright, and here's the church's "about" page, copied from the link embedded in the e-mail:

"We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent.

We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism.

It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.

The Pastor as well as the membership of Trinity United Church of Christ is committed to a 10-point Vision:

1. A congregation committed to ADORATION.
2. A congregation preaching SALVATION.
3. A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
4. A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
5. A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
6. A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
7. A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA [the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland].
8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY."

So there is at least SOME truth in the allegations contained in the e-mail.

We find these comments in the e-mail also interesting, given the recent disclosure that Barack Obama has been openly aiming for the White House since kindergarten:

"Maybe Obama "found religion" before he went into office purely because he wanted to follow the Christian path, but that's highly doubtful, especially considering . . . the fact that politicians don't get into politics overnight."

And "Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when you are seeking political office in the United States, Barack Obama joined the United Church of Christ to help purge any notion that he is still a Muslim."

The Race Card

This information certainly makes the recent flap between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama over the "race card" more interesting.

Given that Senator Barack Obama is a member of this church and adheres to its beliefs, and its web site indicates it is "Unashamedly Black," wouldn't it be safe to assume he agrees with its racist position, as loudly proclaimed from the pulpit by Jeremiah Wright?

I'm not a fan of Senator Clinton, but it appears to me that, at least with Barack Obama's claims of racism on her part, "the pot is calling the kettle black."

It would appear, from this information at least, that Senator Obama may be the more racist of the two, if, in fact, he agrees with the church's beliefs as stated on its web site and from its pulpit.

Snopes has an interesting discussion of these claims here, most recently updated January 11, 2008, where it states the claim as "Illinois senator Barack Obama's church has a racist, "non-negotiable commitment to Africa" that excludes non-blacks." It then states the claim is false.

In the discussion, however, everything it lists to support the notion that the claim is false, would support it as true, IF the words "that excludes non-blacks" were removed from its statement of the claim. Personally, I didn't find anything in the e-mail I received and quoted above, or in the e-mail quoted at Snopes, that claims in any way that Trinity "excludes non-blacks."

Snopes' pro-Obama bias clearly shows in its pieces about him. We've noticed it, and it's been brought to our attention by readers. We believe this language was added by the Snopes editor so she could find one piece to grasp onto in order to brand the entire claim false. Since this page was originally written, Snopes has also added the language "which is covertly Muslim."

Snopes cites as proof of the claim's falseness some comments published by Martin E. Marty, a professor of religious history for 35 years at the University of Chicago, and clearly white, as shown by his photo. He is the "Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus" at the University of Chicago, and founder of the Martin Marty Center, Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion there. Marty was ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1952, and joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1963.

The page cited is clearly stated to be "not about Senator Obama." It is a defense of Trinity United Church of Christ, the largest congregation in the entire United Church of Christ, with some 8600 members. Marty challenges that the church's position as "Africentric" does not make it "cultic" or "sectarian."

And he says, "More important, for Trinity, being 'unashamedly Black' does not mean being 'anti-White.' My wife and I on occasion attend, and, like all other non-blacks, are enthusiastically welcomed."

Oops. This man just lost his credibility with me, by adding those three tiny letters that spell "all." They are a clear indication of exaggeration to make his point. While he may be in a position to see how some non-blacks are welcomed (he and his wife, for example), it is a physical impossibility for him to know how "all" non-blacks are treated by Trinity. After all, he said he attended "on occasion."

And frankly, Snopes just lost some credibility with me, too, with its analysis on this one.

Snopes goes on to cite a Chicago Sun-Times piece by journalist Monroe Anderson in March 2007:

"If it was the Holy Trinity Polish Church on Chicago's North Side, proclaiming its Polishness, who'd care? This is how African Americans find ourselves in a trick bag. We're defined racially even when we're acting like any other of this nation's ethnic groups. Issues knee-jerkily become black and white when in reality they may be African American and Irish American. Or Serbian American and African American. Remove black and substitute another American ethnic group so that Trinity's Concept No. 6 reads, "Adherence to the Mexican Work Ethic." Does that still sound separatist? Or racist? Of course not. But, if you're insincerely espousing color blindness, while holding the race card up your sleeve, you know you can easily trump African-American ethnic pride every time."

Is this guy serious? The problem is that African-Americans and Mexican-Americans DON'T act like other "American ethnic groups." Ethnic pride can be maintained and nurtured without promoting racism.

What rock has he been hiding under while thousands of Mexican-Americans (many of whom are in this country illegally) demand that we provide welfare and Social Security benefits to them, teach their children in Spanish, fly the Mexican flag alongside Old Glory, and provide Spanish labeling on commercial goods. How many times, in this country, have you had to "Press 1 for English?" Perhaps this reporter should visit Southern California or Arizona or Texas, and ask his question about the "Mexican Work Ethic." Maybe he's missed the news reports about schools in Southern California being shut down as "Mexican-American" students protested that the Mexican flag should be flown at their schools.

He's right, if it were the "Holy Trinity Polish Church on Chicago's North Side, proclaiming its Polishness," most likely no one would care. But that's because we haven't seen Polish Americans demanding that we teach their children in Polish, or adopt Polish customs, or display the Polish flag in public places. They've assimilated themselves into the melting pot culture that is America, and have become Americans.

Those who distinguish themselves as "African-Americans" or "Mexican-Americans" or any other separate types of hyphenated Americans are the ones who are perpetuating the division between ethnic groups in America.

This country was founded by immigrants. It adopted English as its official language, and for more than 200 years, immigrants who wanted to live in this country have become Americans, and learned to speak English, because that's the language spoken in America. That's the way it should be. That doesn't mean they've lost their ethnic identities, and there is no requirement for them to do so.

The United States of America should be just that -- UNITED. We shouldn't be flying more than one national emblem, we shouldn't be labeling goods in more than one language (as they do in Switzerland, where there are four official languages!), and we shouldn't be fostering a distinction of any type of hyphenated-Americans.

We are, as the founding fathers clearly stated, "One Nation, Under God." If that's not what or where you want to be, there are several hundred other countries on the planet for you to choose from. The borders are just as easy to exit as they are to enter.

Back to the race issue.

I grew up in Mississippi, where some pretty significant events of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's took place. I was in elementary school at the time. But I can still remember seeing two entrance doors at the local hospital, and inside, two water fountains. The signs over them read "White" and "Colored." My parents taught me that was wrong, and that all people are equal in the eyes of God.

I didn't see anything in Trinity's statements that even left room for anything other than "Black." It seems ludicrous to me that Blacks in this country can claim that the signs in the Deep South that said "White" meant "No Blacks" (which they did), but at the same time can claim at that their statement that their church in Chicago is "unashamedly Black" means that non-Blacks are also welcome.

If that's the case, how difficult would it be to add a line on their web site's home page that says something like, "Although our religious practices are Africentric, and the vast majority of our congregation is African-American (or Black), we also enthusiastically welcome non-blacks who would like to join us." If they wanted to do so, it would take less than five minutes, and would take the wind out of the sails of those who are attacking them now.

As I said, I grew up in Mississippi in the 1960's. Yes, I'm white. And I have friends from junior high and high school who are black (I was in junior high when our schools were desegregated). If you asked them, they would tell you that I was one of only a handful of "white kids" who would even talk to them at school, much less openly be friends with them. I recently drove 50 miles (across town) to have dinner with one of those friends and his family when they were visiting the city where I live now.

It's been more than 40 years since the Civil Rights movement.

It's time for Senator Barack Obama to address this issue in more definitive terms and either acknowledge that he shares Jeremiah Wright's views, or explain why he's listened to this kind of "divisive" proselytizing for more than 20 years, and why he wants this brand of bigotry taught to his young daughters.

[Since this page was originally written, Barack Obama has publicly stated his disagreement with Wright, and claims that in the 20 years he spent sitting in church pews listening to Wright, he never heard these types of views expressed. Is there anyone who believes that? . . . Nah, didn't think so.]

It's time for the double-talk and the racial double standard in America to go away.

Personally, I'm ready for some Straight Talk!

What do YOU think? Join the discussion!





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