Washington Times Calls Obama a Covert Muslim
In a sneeringly reasoned editorial, Washington Times guest commentator Frank J. Gaffney Jr. makes explicit what right-wing conspiracy theorists have been fulminating about for more than a year now: the accusation that President Obama is secretly a member of a sort of Islamic 5th column. After a bizarre rhetorical contortion that takes the tongue-in-cheek description of Bill Clinton as “the first black President” seriously and then asks that we apply the same standard to Obama, Gaffney goes straight in for the Godwinizing gutter talk:
After his five months in office, and most especially after his just-concluded visit to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, however, a stunning conclusion seems increasingly plausible: The man now happy to have his Islamic-rooted middle name featured prominently has engaged in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich.
It’s not worth picking apart every misleading tidbit that follows: the fact that Gaffney seriously cites Obama’s “father” as a Muslim, without further elaboration, to make his case is enough to establish the commentary piece as unreliable. Obama Sr. was indeed a Roman Catholic convert to Islam in his youth, but there is no evidence that he was ever a particularly fervent believer to begin with, and by the time he completed his Westernized education and met Obama’s mother, he was regarded by most people as an atheist/agnostic. He had virtually no contact with his son past the age of two and struggled with alcoholism for most of his adult life: hardly the sign of a fanatical devotee to Sharia. Obama’s otherwise unmentioned stepfather, an Indonesian geologist, would be a much more plausible influence, except that most people who knew him described him as a freethinker. Obama’s mother, on the other hand, the one constant and beloved figure in his life was an agnostic with an “anthropological” attitude towards all religion. In short, you could make a far more plausible case that Obama is a secret atheist than any sort of instinctively Islamic agent.
But this passage was what ultimately made me throw up my hands:
Then the president made a statement no believing Christian — certainly not one versed, as he professes to be, in the ways of Islam — would ever make. In the context of what he euphemistically called the “situation between Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs,” Mr. Obama said he looked forward to the day “. . . when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.”
Now, the term “peace be upon them” is invoked by Muslims as a way of blessing deceased holy men. According to Islam, that is what all three were – dead prophets. Of course, for Christians, Jesus is the living and immortal Son of God.
Isn’t a far more likely explanation that Obama (or rather, Obama’s bastion of speechwriters, who by and large tend to be press people who are far more likely to have a background in beer pong than in the Koran) is not, in fact, well-versed in that particular theological minutia, and was simply using a common phrase of respect to appeal to a Muslim audience? Even more disturbing than the contortions necessary to both affirm that Obama is a well-versed Christian and Islamic agent all at once, I sense in Gafferty’s choice to use the entire quote a marked hostility to the idea that there could or even should be peaceful co-existence a faiths in Jerusalem.
That suspect sneering is borne out later on in the piece, where Gafferty scoffs at the idea that settlement outposts should ever be restricted (as Obama favors), let alone conceded in peace deals. The excuse given is that the Palestinians’ party leaders have sometimes spoken of pushing Israelis “into the sea.” I’ve never quite understood how that’s a useful retort: yes Muslim radicals want to destroy Israel: and this is supposed to make us MORE sympathetic to the idea that the two groups should territorially wedded together forever by encroaching settlement outposts? Gafferty also doesn’t mention the fact that radical Israeli settlers, the very people who stand defiantly in the way of any plausible two-state solution, want to push Palestinians “into Saudi Arabia” (who will be left in the middle once everyone has been pushed out, I wonder?) None of this contributes a lick of insight on how to actually resolve the crisis. You seriously have to wonder if people like Gafferty really want it resolved, or if instead they’re simply eager armageddonists.
It’s worth noting, for context, that Gaffney is a favorite amongst “birthers” people who believe that Obama’s parents conspired to fake his birth records and American citizenship. And that Saddam Hussien was involved in the Oklahoma City bombings. And so on. Gafferty is a true conspiracy-theory polemicist, in the ugliest sense.
And the irony of it all is that his latest high-profile platform, the Times, happens to be owned by a conservative cult leader who’s equally hostile to conventional Christianity: the Reverend Moon, who’s major theological principle is that Jesus failed and that Moon himself is the true messiah (crowned, no less, in a bizarre Washington ceremony attended by bemused Congressmen), come to bring peace to the world.
Not with friends like these, he won’t.