That is why I've been so baffled at the way his son Franklin has veered from that course. But I was downright disturbed by what he had to say on Greta Vansusteren's show last night.
Some people have focused on the initial part of the interview where he basically invites ISIS members to convert to Christianity. While probably pointless, it doesn't bother me. It was what he said at the end that was so disturbing.
The President, his entire life, his whole influence has been Islam. His mother was married to a Muslim. His father's a Muslim. Then she married a man from Indonesia. He was raised in Indonesia, went to Islamic schools. I assume she was a Muslim. So his whole life - his experiences - have been surrounded by Islam. He only knows Islam.In trying to understand why Graham would say all that, we only have two options: (1) he is completely ignorant of what Barack Obama has written and said about his life (as well as the historical record) or, (2) he's blatantly lying for propaganda purposes.
Long before he entered politics, Barack Obama wrote Dreams From My Father that went into a lot of detail about his family's religious beliefs as well as his own. And he's talked about it openly ever since. As a summary, here's what then-State Senator Obama told Cathleen Falsani when she interviewed him about his faith in 2004.
I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. ..Of course he goes on in that interview to talk about his own "born again" experience while working with church groups as a community organizer in Chicago. But none of that is a new story. It's been told over and over again. So it's hard to imagine how Graham could be completely ignorant of it all.
I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian...
My grandparents who were from small towns in Kansas. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. This was at a time when I think the Methodists felt slightly superior to the Baptists. And by the time I was born, they were, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church.
So, my mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve. We’d go to church for Easter. She wasn’t a church lady.
As I said, we moved to Indonesia. She remarried an Indonesian who wasn’t particularly, he wasn’t a practicing Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you’d hear the prayer call.
So I don’t think as a child we were, or I had a structured religious education. But my mother was deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world’s religions, and talk to me about them.
If Mr. Graham wants to suggest that Barack Obama (and various biographers) are lying about his faith and family background, that would at least be more honest than to simply assert that "he only knows Islam."
In the end, what Graham said is outrageous. It has nothing to do with expressing disagreement with President Obama over how to respond to ISIS. I'd also assert that it has nothing to do with Christianity or Islam. It's an ugly attempt to smear President Obama as sympathetic to terrorists.
This is no different than the racist lies that spawned the whole birth certificate nonsense. Most of us thought we'd gotten beyond all that. At least partially due to his father's legacy, a lot of evangelical/fundamentalist Christians will buy in to Franklin's lies.
While I continue to try to maintain my optimism that this country can heal these racist divides, today is one of those days that I begin to wonder what it's going to take for that to happen.