Monday, April 6, 2009
While President Obama is in Turkey: Right Wing Critics at Home Try to Cook His Goose
President Obama has enraged right wing talking heads once again. His crime: telling the truth. In President Obama’s address to the Turkish Parliament, he acknowledged that America is a “majority Christian” nation but not a “Christian nation.” The right wing spin machine is in full gear in an attempt to rally the remnant of the White Southern evangelical base that remains loyal to the Republican brand. By feeding their bigotry and engaging in revisionist history, the right-wing Klu Klux Klan-servatives are playing the “I told you he (Obama) was an unpatriotic socialist Muslim” card.
Is America a Christian Nation? What kind of Christian Nation? The right wing talking heads are guilty of slander of the President by omission and commission - especially when it comes to the context of American history. For example, they often fail to acknowledge that the Puritans, who sailed to the new world on the Mayflower, did so to escape persecution of other Christians. You see, the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas as the so-called “mainstream” Christians of today and yesterday did. In fact, the tradition of placing a lit candle in the window during Christmas was to signify that one was not a Puritan, thereby sparing them religious persecution in England. The truth is that the Puritans were just as thankful to get away from mainstream Christians as they were for landing in this land-o-plenty. Oops! I guess I will be accused of attacking the Thanksgiving narrative.
The Jefferson Davis wing of “the Party of Lincoln” also argues incorrectly that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America were Christians who followed the Bible without questioning one word of its text. On January 24, 1814, Thomas Jefferson wrote a private letter to John Adams. In it, he wrote the following:
“The whole history of these books (the Gospels) is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from the cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are the fabric of very inferior minds. It is easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.”
Mind you, this is what one Founding Father wrote privately to his fellow Founding Father. Jefferson later wrote a book that attempted to expunge what he considered to be additions to the Gospels from the words of Jesus. This book was kept in his family and published after his death as the Jefferson Bible.
Remember, Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence, a President, a Christian, and a slave-owner. He had serious doubts about the Gospels, does that mean he was anti-Christian? He declared ‘all men to be created equal,’ yet held slaves; does he not deserve his place in human history? Jefferson, a Mason, was a Christian who had a Holy Qur’an in his book collection; does that mean he was unpatriotic? (Congressmen Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim, was sworn in on Jefferson’s Holy Qur’an in 2007) My objective is not to attack Christianity, but to put a spot light on the hypocrisy of the right wing attack machine.
Why can everybody else speak the truth and question conventional wisdom, (other than President Obama) and have their reverenced place in history? Why can’t the Cotton-Curtain conservatives give the President a chance to try to bridge the gap between the United States and the 1.5 billion Muslims across the globe that right-wing bigotry and revisionist history has exacerbated after September 11, 2001? Time dictates Obama’s agenda – not right or left wing politics. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan admonishes us all to “consider the time.”
For more information on Thomas Jefferson read – Fawn M. Brodie (1974) Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History and Lester J. Cappon, editor (1959) The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and John and Abigail Adams.