Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fear of "the Other." The Religious Right Wraps Bigotry in the Guise of Christianity

CULTURAL DIVERSITY: Keith Olbermann and Michael Eric Dyson from Georgetown University call the religious right to the carpet for their bigoted, un-Christian and un-charitable attitudes toward President Obama, who is a Christian.

The pair discussed the recent CNN appearance by Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham who was uninvited from the National Prayer Breakfast for his less-than-charitable attitudes towards people of other faiths, specifically Muslims.

Graham was speaking on speculation about the President's faith, specifically if Mr. Obama was secretly Muslim. Mr. Grahams observations were exceedingly troubling, filled with nonsensical, repugnant references to the "seed" of the President's father, who was an atheist.

Shades of Rosemary's Baby and the "Demon Seed." Franklin's father Billy was exposed as virulently anti-Semitic. Does that say something about inherited "seed?"

Some of the more poignant thoughts from Dyson:

The racial subtext here can't be ignored. We're trying to "otherize" him....The jumble of epitaphs that are being hurled with lethal intensity against Mr. Obama are nothing but the made-over bigotry of people trying to find new-fangled ways to dress up old-fangled bigotry.

More from Dyson:

Mr. Graham is on horrible ground here. If we're looking at people's Christianity the Bible tells us to "judge them by their fruit.' We don't want to get into slinging accusations about who is Christian and who is not.

And later:

The President is fighting an uphill battle. He's got racial issues, he's got religious issues, he's got issues of American citizenship.

Finally, what probably amounts to the most profound statement regarding who is or is not Christian, at least for me:

Another way [to fight the bigotry] is for members of religious communities, of Christian communities, to step out on their faith and say look, let's top haranguing this man,' let's stop berating him...Jesus said a lot of people who call my name will not ultimately be in the kingdom with me. So it's not what you say out of your mouth it's what you perform in your heart....I can't discern any credible connection between the God I worship, who is about justice and mercy and truth and love, and the judgmental, harshly indifferent to the plight of the poor God that Mr. Graham seems to worship. I'd rather be with those who perform the realities of the faith, than who simply claim it out of their mouths.

Featured Newsclip. August 20: Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham spews his anti-christian venom on CNN.

Visit for a direct link to this segment, other world news, and provocative discussion about today's toxic political environment

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