Andy and Byron, you make excellent points about the Luttwak piece on the possibilities that a former Muslim president will create more ill-will than good among the Islamic nations. But I was struck by the most basic point of all. The New York Times — yes, the Times — which has heretofore called anyone and everyone who even raised the possibility of a Muslim childhood for Barak Hussein Obama a scummy, racist, McCarthyite fearmonger (and readers have written far worse to me,) implicitly accepts that he was born and early-on raised a Muslim, by allowing the argument over the meaning of that fact.
Is this one of those sleights of hand that occurs when someone has lied, and wishes to soften up the audience for the new version of events? The bloggers at Little Green Footballs noted, this morning, that, “The Obama campaign, by the way, blatantly lied about Obama’s Muslim origins in a statement on January 23, 2007:
Debunked Insight Magazine and Fox News Smear Campaign.
All of the claims about Senator Obama’s faith and education raised in the Insight Magazine story and repeated on Fox News are false. Senator Obama was raised in a secular household in Indonesia by his stepfather and mother. Obama’s stepfather worked for a U.S. oil company, and sent his stepson to two years of Catholic school, as well as two years of public school. As Obama described it, “Without the money to go to the international school that most expatriate children attended, I went to local Indonesian schools and ran the streets with the children of farmers, servants, tailors, and clerks.” [The Audacity of Hope, p. 274]
To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago.
In fact, Luttwak’s piece, with its ostentatious concern over the safety of a President Obama, seemed fairly farfetched if taken at face value. For all the dismay at apostasy, I think the average Muslim would be more likely to sense empathy.